Where to Put a Worm Farm
Worm bins are a fantastic way to compost organic waste into nutrient-rich soil.
Where to put your worm compost bin is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when entering the wonderful world of vermicomposting.
In this article, we guide you through choosing the perfect spot for your worm farm, whether indoors or outdoors, factors to consider, and how to avoid common mistakes!
Where to Put a Worm Farm: Indoor vs Outdoor Worm Bins
Indoor Worm Bins
Indoor worm bins are compact and are designed to fit in small spaces, making them great for use in apartments and homes.
Most indoor worm bins are made of hard plastic, have holes for ventilation, and trays that allow you to vermicompost vertically (i.e., the trays sit on 1 another).
Maze Worm Farm - Compact, indoor worm bin
Although some people keep indoor worm bins outside, these bins are made to be kept inside or at least on a covered porch. Most of these bins have openings that allow water to come though, so red wigglers can literally drown if they are left outside.
Another issue with placing indoor bins outside is that they are not made to withstand the elements, so over the course of a year or 2 the bins may degrade and breakdown.
One final important thing to keep in mind is that when indoor worm bins are managed correctly, they do not emit any odors and worms are not crawling all over your house!
Outdoor Worm Bins
Outdoor bins are typically larger and can handle more waste than their indoor counterparts.
Outdoor worm bins come in 2 types:
- Standalone, above ground worm bins like the Hungry Bin. These worm bins can be moved around and are generally easier to clean and extract worm castings than in-ground outdoor worm farms.
Hungry Bin - Sturdy, outdoor worm bin
- In-ground worm bins like the subpod are placed in the ground, usually in a yard or garden area.
The main difference between above ground and in ground outdoor bins is this - above ground bins are still susceptible to weather issues that can harm worms.
If temps get below 35 degrees or above 90 degrees, the bins will need to be placed in an area where temperatures are more moderate (and this can be tough as even garages can heat up or cool off too much for worms).
In ground bins, on the other hand, help protect worms from weather because worms can use their natural ability to crawl deeper into the soil if surface conditions are not conducive to their survival.
This is their main survival skill at work!
Factors Influencing Where to Put a Worm Compost Bin
Space & How Much Material You Want to Compost
The amount of material you want to compost and available space for a worm bin are the 2 biggest factors in where to put your worm bin and also which worm bin to purchase.
If you are a family of 5 wanting to compost most of your kitchen waste, and you have a large yard or outdoor area, an outdoor worm bin is your best option.
If outdoor space is an issue and the bin needs to be inside in a confined space, a smaller indoor worm bin is likely going to be your best option. These bins hold fewer worms and will be able to compost less material, but they are also easier to manage and less time-consuming.
Temperature & Weather
Temperature and weather in your area are 2 other important factors to consider when deciding where to place your worm farm! If temperatures are extreme in the summer or winter months, we recommend keeping your worms inside or in an outside, in-ground worm bin.
Worms thrive in temperatures between 50°F and 80°F (13°C to 25°C) and require a moist environment. Extreme temps higher than 90 degrees F or lower than 35 degrees can slow composting or, worse, harm or kill worms.
It’s important to plan for this and give your worms and worm composting efforts the best chance at survival!
Accessibility for Feeding & Maintenance
It’s also important to place your bin where it’s convenient to add food scraps and perform maintenance like watering the bin a few times per week.
Worms don’t need a lot of care but they do require routine feeding and watering for survival.
Where to Put a Worm Farm Indoors
Indoor worm farm placement should factor in convenience, temperature, and aesthetics.
Many people choose to keep their worm bin in 1 of these locations:
- Pantry: A cool, dark place that’s out of sight.
- Under Cabinets: Utilizes unused space while keeping the bin accessible.
- Basements & Garages: Cooler, larger areas perfect for bigger bins, but ensure they stay within the safe temperature range.
- Under a table or in a closet
- Out and about in their home
Remember - when managed correctly indoor worm farms do not smell and worms stay in the bin!
Where to Put a Worm Farm Outside
Covered areas and shady spots under a tree or near a fence or structure are usually good starting locations for where to put a worm farm outside. For those living in apartments or with limited outdoor space, patios and covered porches will also work for an outdoor bin. However, if temperatures are extreme during the winter or summer the bins need to be moved inside if at all possible. Worms simply can not survive for long outside in a confined bin when temps are freezing or very hot!
So when choosing an outdoor location and whether you want an above ground or in-ground bin, consider temperatures, sunlight, rain, and wind.
And if possible, choose a spot that avoids direct sunlight and maintains a reasonable temperature. Heat from the sun can heat up plastic worm bins, which can harm worms or cause them to leave the bin.
For an in-depth look at outdoor worm composting, check out our How to guide on outdoor worm composting with worm bin options, set-up tips, and what to avoid.
Where to Place a Worm Bin: Common Mistakes to Avoid
The most common issue with standalone outdoor bins is temperature and weather. As mentioned above bins need to be protected from direct sunlight and extreme hot or cold temps.
To protect bins, place them in the shade of trees, structures like house or fences, or even erect a small shade cloth structure to protect the bin from the elements.
Another factor to consider is pests and local wildlife - worms’ natural predators are birds, smaller 4 legged creatures (armadillos, possums, racoons, etc). So it’s important to ensure the lid of your bin is secure and can not be easily opened by a hungry critter.
Where is the Best Place to Put a Worm Farm: Summary
The best place to put a worm farm depends on your available space, weather in your area and composting goals. Outdoor worm bins are larger than indoor worm bins so they can hold more worms and process more waste, but they may be prone to issues when temps are too hot or cold. If you have the space, outdoor in-ground worms bins are great options for waste processing and worm survival, but indoor worm bins are generally the best option for long-term survival of your worms.