Make a Styrofoam worm farm using an empty Styrofoam box. Make a hole in the side for drainage, add coconut coir or garden soil and then add your worms. Cover the worms with cardboard or newspaper for a free worm blanket and you will have a great Styrofoam worm farm.
Here are my steps to a small worm farm for your backyard.
Step by step guide to make a Styrofoam worm farm – 7 Steps
Here is my simple guide to making a single level Styrofoam worm farm for free. The Styrofoam box is free, the only cost is for the compost worms and optional coconut coir. If you don’t want to buy coconut coir you can also use garden soil or compost from your garden. I have used a worm blanket but a free option is to use cardboard or a few layers of newspaper.
What you will need.
- Styrofoam box
- Worms (start with 500 worms)
- Cardboard box or newspaper
- Compost or garden soil
- Coconut coir
- Worm blanket
Step 1: Put the coconut coir in a bucket of water and let it absorb and expand.
Step 2: Place a hole in the side of your Styrofoam box, use a screwdriver to easily make the hole. Make sure it is 1/3 of an inch or 1cm wide.
Step 3: Place your worm farm in a spot in the shade and place rocks or brick underneath. This will give you space to add a small bowl or container if you want to catch the worm tea that comes from your worm farm.
Step 4: Add the coconut coir to the bottom of your Styrofoam box and flatten it out. If you are using garden soil or compost add this to the bottom.
Step 5: Add the worms. Make sure you add the whole packet including the soil around the worms as this will contain worm eggs which will hatch.
Step 6: Cover your worms with newspaper or cardboard. I used a worm blanket but this is optional.
Step 7: Let your worms rest for a few days, then you can start adding food scraps. Start with small amounts to see how much your worms like to eat. This will avoid attracting insects to the uneaten food.
What to use as a worm blanket on a Styrofoam worm farm
If you don’t want to buy a worm blanket, just use cardboard or newspaper. Overtime the newspaper will breakdown but you should to find some old newspaper for free from neighbors if you don’t get newspapers yourself.
How many worms to add to a Styrofoam worm farm
You will need 500 worms to start your worm farm in a Styrofoam box. This is the minimum number it will take to start your healthy worm colony. You may find that this is all you ever need to buy as they will grow and breed in your worm farm.
If you are going to add another layer to your worm farm, or make a bigger version of this Styrofoam farm, you can always add more. The worms you buy will be surrounded by soil which will also contain worm eggs which will hatch over time.
How to stop ants from getting in a Styrofoam worm farm
To stop ants from being attracted to my Styrofoam worm farm, I sprinkle sugar cane mulch on top of my vegetable scraps. I then gently dig the scraps into the worm farm which covers them lightly in worm castings and ants are no longer attracted. I will put a worm blanket on top and rarely get ants.
Best bedding for a Styrofoam worm farm
The best bedding to start a worm farm in Styrofoam is coconut coir. These are cheap, compressed blocks of coconut husks which are perfect for worm farm bedding. You simply re-hydrate them in a bucket of water and they will expand at least 6 times the size of the block.
Coconut coir is perfect bedding for worm farms as it holds water and the worms love to dig through it. Coconut coir makes a good base for worms to live and lay their eggs. They will dig up to the surface to eat the food scraps and bacteria that grows on food scraps as you add them. Worms will then dig back down to the coconut coir throughout the day.
How deep to make a Styrofoam worm farm
The Styrofoam box that I have used for my worm farm is 11 inches deep. I filled it with 5 inches of coconut coir and then the worms and castings on top. This left lots of room for food scraps and for worm castings to build up over time.
My worm farm is around 6 weeks old and it has already filled to around half way up. As the food scraps and sugar cane mulch break down, this will reduce back down in size and make room for more. Once the level is close to the top, I will remove some worm castings and put them in my garden beds.
Where to get a Styrofoam boxes for a worm farm
Get Styrofoam boxes from your local greengrocer. They are usually used to transport broccoli or other green vegetables. I was lucky enough to find one in our bin that we share with neighbors. I feel glad that I was able to save this Styrofoam box from landfill and make a free worm farm out of it.
Happy worm farming.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.