How to Compost: Build a Coffee Can Worm Composter

Flow-through Coffee Can Worm Composter
Flow-through Coffee Can Worm Composter

Make a simple, inexpensive flow-through indoor worm composter using coffee cans. Purchase red wiggler compost worms online.

Harvesting the worm castings is easy. Place the worm container in a large bucket and pour rainwater through it. Do this until it runs pretty clear. Not crystal clear but do try to get all the poo you can!

Run that liquid through a sieve to collect any worms or eggs that passed through.

This makes a great start to perfect worm tea. And you didn't have to pick worms out!

In this tiny coffee can, my worms made more than enough castings to mix up over 15 gallons of tea!


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DIY Worm Composter Supply List
DIY Worm Composter Supply List
DIY Worm Composter Supply List
DIY Worm Composter Supply List
DIY Worm Composter Supply List
DIY Worm Composter Supply List


You Will Need:


3 Plastic coffee cans with lids

Drill

Small (not tiny) Drill bit

8, one-inch long wooden dowel pieces

Stones (to weight lechate collector)

Nontoxic moss

Cardboard

Worm food

Red Wrigglers

----------------------------------

Drill holes in one coffee can lid.

Drill several holes in two of the coffee cans. Leave the third can intact. This can collects the lechate.

Add wooden dowels to the outer ring.Push the dowels snugly into the holes so they catch the sides of the can they are stacked on.

The dowels keep the cans from sliding off each other. I am using plastic screw anchors because I didn't have dowels handy.

Layer one drilled coffee can with worm bedding.


A suggestion is moist,


Brown leaves

Moss

Soil

Cardboard pieces



The addition of a sprinkle of healthy soil gives the worms food and helps to jump start the composting process.

Set the filled coffee can in the center of the three cans. This is where the worms go.

When the center can has been composted start adding bedding and food to the top can. The worms will go through the holes in the bottom of the can and into the fresh bedding /food.

Remove the moss balls from the finished compost. They contain lots of eggs. Place them in the new compost.

Sift the finished can to remove leftover worms and stray egg casings. Use the castings to make worm tea or add them directly to the garden or flowerpots.

These moss balls will be the preferred habitat for egg laying. Mine were literally speckled with eggs less than a week after I placed the worms in the container. They love moss and can be found in the balls every time I turn the bin.

The moss balls retain a good amount of moisture without getting sodden. If you're afraid of disease and pests, try boiling the moss for several minutes before adding it to the container.

Note the eggs in the moss ball. There are several eggs attached to the moss. They cling firmly and the entire moss ball can be removed and placed in fresh litter. My worms lay most of their eggs in the moss, not throughout the bedding and food.

Happy worms make lots of poop. These castings are just right for houseplants, aquarium plants and garden vegetables and fruits.

DIY Worm Composter Drainage
DIY Worm Composter Drainage
DIY Worm Composter Supply List
DIY Worm Composter Supply List
DIY Worm Composter Bins
DIY Worm Composter Bins
Moss Ball for Worms
Moss Ball for Worms
Red Wiggler Worm Eggs in Moss Ball
Red Wiggler Worm Eggs in Moss Ball
Worm Castings!
Worm Castings!
Red Wriggler Lechate. Lechate collected from flow through composter. I use this on my houseplants.
Red Wriggler Lechate. Lechate collected from flow through composter. I use this on my houseplants.

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Comments 14 comments

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 5 years ago from USA

This is a great idea. I might try it this year.


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

Halo, statue? Reckon a feller could take 3 55 gallon plastic drums for large scale operation and how you might figur the amount of moss etc for the barrels? I don't need a lot of "Red Wriggler Lechate", cuz' I just have one house plant, it's an annual, called a "tater butt" it appears when the weather hit 106 degrees out side. during those months it's not good for much but it does keep the weeds at bay.....lol.

Serious about the barrels and size and would you go by using 3 or just two. I have the blue and a few white, food grade barrels (If that makes a difference? probably to the worms?) and how much light gets in. A bag of the house plant soil and a container of jigglers from the bait store in a 5 gallon bucket and a deer head buried to the antlers, in 3-4 months the head is cleaned spotless inside and out, then the bucket holdings get added to tater mountain and mixed in, everyone tells me I'll have worms in my taters and I just say "wish you'd a told me that a ton or two of taters ago!"

great DYI, sorry it took so long to get here, peace, 50


IsadoraPandora profile image

IsadoraPandora 5 years ago from Florida, PCB Author

Thanks!

Yes, large scale needs bigger containers. Those drums are really useful! I've got mine as a rain barrel. You could totally take this design and make it using the drums.

I would build a frame if you're planning on stacking them. The would work really well standing alone though. There are YouTube videos showing how to build 55-gallon drum flow-through composters.

This is a really fun thing to do!!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Thanks for the useful information. Building a coffee can composter sounds like an interesting project and the instructions don't look very difficult. I might try this soon!


IsadoraPandora profile image

IsadoraPandora 5 years ago from Florida, PCB Author

Thanks for the comment. Its fun-I just harvested some great castings from mine yesterday. I have them bubbling away making a tea for my garden.


IsadoraPandora profile image

IsadoraPandora 5 years ago from Florida, PCB Author

Updated this at the Introduction for an easy way to harvest your castings!


juanforall profile image

juanforall 5 years ago from Q.C. MNL

Nice hub, lots of helpful pics and the article is very helpful. I'll follow your profile ^_^


Ann C. 5 years ago

I am totally using this design in my "how to compost with coffee grounds" speech. I will properly cite your article and ensure you get all the credit for the ingenious design.


IsadoraPandora profile image

IsadoraPandora 5 years ago from Florida, PCB Author

Thank you so much Ann!


lapchickenlady 3 years ago

always looking for ways to go green within my little world. will try this soon.


IsadoraPandora profile image

IsadoraPandora 3 years ago from Florida, PCB Author

How many of you lovely ladies and gentlemen have tried out the coffee can composter? This was one of my favorite projects!


Seafarer Mama profile image

Seafarer Mama 2 years ago from New England

Gtrat idea, Jay. Enjoyed your hub.


Jenny 4 months ago

Great hub indeed! I just received my 55 gallon plastic barrel yesterday at http://theplasticbarrels.com and it's already useful for me (I use it as a rain barrel).


Deana Rogers 3 weeks ago

Definitely need to try this idea out.

Just perfect for just me and my husband.

Then see how it goes and build from there.

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