Posts Tagged Green And Eco Friendly

How To Build A Tiny House That Is Eco-Friendly and Sustainable

How To Build A Tiny House That Is Eco-Friendly and Sustainable

How To Build An Eco-Friendly Tiny House

NAVIGATION

One thing that’s great about tiny homes is that because of their small size, they are poised to be very green and eco-friendly from the start. A small house means using fewer resources overall, which means your impact is greatly reduced. Building an eco-friendly tiny home is an important aspect of learning what it means to live small, shrinking your carbon footprint, and adopting a waste-free life.

ryans tiny house

Hi, I’m Ryan

Overtime, I’ve integrated tons of eco-friendly systems into the tiny home I built myself including solar panels, a greywater catchment system, and sustainable flooring. Living sustainably in a tiny house is pretty easy, but I’ve also found it to be very practical.

ryan mitchell simple living expert

What Makes A Tiny House Eco-Friendly?

What Makes A Tiny House Eco-Friendly

The size of a tiny house makes it more eco-friendly right off the bat. When people start talking about making a house eco-friendly, there is often a focus on elaborate and expensive additions to achieve that status. But there are plenty of other elements that go into building a tiny house that make it even more earth-friendly.

Tiny Homes Use Less Waste

Tiny Homes Use Less Waste

Not only do tiny houses take up less space, they also produce less waste. Tiny houses produce less waste than traditional homes both in the actual building process and in daily life afterward.

The average American home generates about four tons of trash just during the building process alone. My tiny house only generated a couple hundred pounds of off cuts and other waste during the building process — way less waste than a traditional home.

Additionally, the minimalist community is pretty intertwined with the tiny living community. Reducing clutter or material items in a tiny house is pretty much a requirement, since space is limited.

average American home generates about four tons of trash

Tiny Homes Use Less Energy

Tiny Homes Use Less Energy

Tiny homes are also more earth-friendly than a traditional house because their size allows them to use less energy. They use far fewer resources than a traditionally sized house for daily needs like heating, cooling, and lighting.

When building a tiny house DIY style, it’s easier for the house to be optimized for solar power, minimal water usage, and more sustainable electric options. Unlike a pre-built house, tiny homes give the buyer full control over what eco-friendly systems to put in place in a tiny home.

It’s Easier To Afford Sustainable Materials

Its Easier To Afford Sustainable Materials

The size of a tiny home is definitely in the buyer’s favor when it comes to material affordability. In today’s market, tiny home buyers can actually afford some of the higher quality, eco-friendly materials. It’s easier to invest in more expensive materials in a tiny home that would be cost prohibitive in a traditionally sized house.

most dimensional lumber is sustainably sourcedIn a tiny house, only about 400 square feet of material is needed. In a traditional house, over 4,000 square feet of material is typically needed to build the home. This makes a major difference in the total cost of a home and grants the ability to make some more eco-friendly decisions when buying materials.

In this day and age, most of the dimensional lumber in America is sustainably sourced. The industry has progressed pretty far with not destroying the earth and keeping things incredibly sustainable.

When I was building my tiny home, it was important to me to go a step further and seek out a local saw mill near me to source my lumber from. This is just an additional way to support local businesses while building an eco-friendly tiny home.

Sustainable Building Materials To Use In A Tiny House

  • Cork
  • Bamboo
  • Straw
  • Rammed Earth
  • Brick
  • Adobe
  • Reclaimed Wood
  • Recycled Glass Tile
Sustainable Building Materials To Use In A Tiny House

How Can I Make My Tiny House Eco-Friendly?

How Can I Make My Tiny House Eco-Friendly

Personally, I spent a lot of time and energy working through what systems to use in my tiny home to make it as eco-friendly as possible while still meeting my basic needs. When I was planning out my needs in my tiny home, it was extremely important to me to figure out ways to reduce my carbon footprint in an effort to live small!

Use Solar Power In A Tiny House

Use Solar Power In A Tiny House

Using solar power is one of the most vital elements that I use to make my tiny house as eco-friendly as possible. I have many friends who commonly ask me about putting solar panels on a tiny house because I’m one of the few out there who is totally off the grid in my tiny house.

As I’ve navigated living in my tiny home, I’ve had to figure things out like how to run my air conditioning off solarhow to cook with solar in a solar oven, and how I use solar generators as backup power in a pinch.

I think it’s easy when trying to adopt things like this to get in the mindset that you are just one person and you aren’t really making all that much of a difference. In the last decade of being totally off grid, I’ve really seen the ways that the exact opposite is true.

Since going off grid, I have figured out that the local coal plant near my houses actually burns five tons less of coal on my behalf alone. Overtime, that makes a gigantic impact!

solar power for tiny houses

Add A Composting Toilet

Add A Composting Toilet

Installing a composting toilet in my tiny house was another valuable way to make my home more sustainable. As someone who’s lived with a tiny house composting toilet for many years, I love sharing the true details about the ins and outs with others looking to be more eco-friendly.

tiny house composting toilet optionsI’ll be honest, when I first decided to venture out and start using a composting toilet, I was pretty skeptical that it would be gross. I typically describe myself as a neat freak, so the idea of a smelly toilet in my tiny home just for the sake of helping out Mother Earth was not something I wanted to subject myself to!

However, I can honestly say that I have been pleasantly surprised by how easy it’s been to make a composting toilet work for me in the last few years. The smell factor is really only an issue if I forget to separate liquid and solid waste with my urine diverter, which is rare.

Otherwise, the smell isn’t an issue at all. I also keep my composting toilet in a separate bathroom structure outside the home, so it’s well ventilated and low maintenance. There’s a lot to consider when setting it up and using it, but when done right, it’s a super easy and eco-friendly option.

Install A Greywater System

Install A Greywater System

I have also become an avid greywater recycler throughout my journey with sustainable living. In a nutshell, using a greywater system basically means recycling water that has already been used in places like laundry, shower, or sink, and repurposing that water for uses like irrigation and watering gardens and crops.

Greywater is different from blackwater or sewage because it isn’t toxic and can be repurposed without contaminants. There are many different methods that greywater users adopt to make the process happen like installing pipes or using a rainwater catchment system.

simple greywater systems

Use LED Lighting

Use LED Lighting

I also integrate sustainability into the lighting of my home. The simple decision to use LED lighting as opposed to incandescent lighting uses 75% less energy in my tiny house. Additionally, LED lights last up to 25 times longer than incandescent lights, and they aren’t that much more expensive.

I also decided to install a motion sensor in my tiny house that goes off when I leave the room. Doing this in my own tiny home actually ended up being a pretty huge energy saver.

tiny house lighting

Buy Low Flow Water Fixtures

Buy Low Flow Water Fixtures

The best way to save when it comes to water is to invest in low-flow, eco-friendly fixtures. These days, there are plenty of low-flow shower and sink options out there that can help make any tiny house more eco-friendly.

Of course, we’ve probably all experienced a low-flow shower head where you feel like you’re barely getting wet and rinsing out shampoo is nearly impossible. What I’ve found is that if you shop around, you can find the right balance of efficiency and practicality — read reviews and do your research. Often, though, it’s more about being intentional with your water usage than reducing it to as little as possible.

tiny house water

Integrate Eco-Friendly Insulation In Your Tiny House

Integrate Eco-Friendly Insulation In Your Tiny House

Keeping my insulation material sustainable was also important to me when building. There are several types of insulation out there, and most are pretty good, but a few really stand out when it comes to making the most eco-friendly choice.

When building a sustainable tiny home, two good insulation options are denim cotton or natural wool batt. Denim cotton is a fantastic option when trying to stay green because it is made out of recycled cloth. I can easily find denim cotton insulation at my local big box hardware store.

Natural wool batt is also a pretty high-quality option when it comes to sustainability. To create natural wool batts, sheep are sheared and the wool processed, cleaned, combed and washed several times, then molded into batts. It’s a fairly environmentally friendly option for tiny house insulation.

tiny house insulation

Pay Attention To Your HVAC System In Your Tiny House

Pay Attention To Your HVAC System In Your Tiny House

When building my tiny house, I realized that my HVAC system was a huge energy sucker. In a tiny home, your HVAC system will likely be a mini-split system. In my own tiny home, I was able to buy a mini split that had a SEER rating, or Seasonal Energy Efficient Ratio, that was more than double that of a traditional home.

The SEER ratings of traditional HVAC system is about 13, and my system ended up at about 27. This means my house uses a lot less power to heat and cool than a traditional house does.

how to run ac on solar power

Is Building An Eco-Friendly Tiny House Affordable?

Is Building An Eco-Friendly Tiny House Affordable

It’s pretty common to think about sustainability as an extremely expensive endeavor, but again, the size of tiny houses is going to be your friend here. It may surprise you to know that it only requires about a 10% increase in cost to go from building a traditional, non-sustainable tiny house to an entirely eco-friendly tiny home.

save money on your power billThe only exception to this number is in the installation of solar power, which can get pretty costly. Running an entire tiny house on solar is probably going to end up costing $20,000 to $25,000 to run all of the necessary systems before your tax credits.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that these added costs are only on the front end of the process. The installation of solar systems in a tiny home can end up saving thousands on utility bills down the line.

I’ve lived off the grid for so long that I don’t even remember what it’s like to pay a power bill. At the time of writing this, I estimate I have saved $18,000 in power bills so far, which is more than my after-tax solar panel system cost.

At the end of the day, there are many little things that can make a tiny house more eco-friendly. By taking small steps like choosing the right materials and using the right equipment, a tiny house can make an eco-friendly impact without leaving a huge footprint.

how much does a tiny house cost

Your Turn!

  • How can you design your tiny home to be sustainable?
  • What categories will be the easiest to make eco-friendly in your home?

Living In An Earthship To Go Totally Off Grid

Living In An Earthship To Go Totally Off Grid

Living In An Earthship Home

NAVIGATION

Earthship homes are the epitome of an entirely self-sustaining household and are a great way to go green as a homeowner!

Earthships are strategically built to be as least destructive to the earth as possible. They have the ability to create their own electricity, fully regulate their own temperature, and provide water and food to the resident inside the earthship house — helping mother nature and your wallet.

ryans tiny house

Hi, I’m Ryan

I love living a sustainable lifestyle that gives me freedom and helps the earth. When I learned earthship homes create their own heat, energy, water, and food, I knew I couldn’t pass up the chance to learn more!

ryan mitchell simple living expert

What Is An Earthship Home?

What Is An Earthship Home

Earthship houses are very eclectic structures; there aren’t two layouts that are exactly the same. However, earthship structures do share many similarities in their design and function that define them as earthship homes.

using recycled bottle to build earthship homeIn a nutshell, earthship houses have been intelligently designed to produce their own electricity, heat, water, food, and treat their own sewage. They are built from recycled materials, like old tires, cans, and glass bottles. One side of the structure is bermed into the earth while the opposing wall is lined with glass.

In an earthship, the materials work together to create an insulated thermal mass that naturally regulates the internal temperature of the house. This is ideal for homeowners who want to live off grid, save on their electricity bill, and live a waste-free life.

An earthship house does not need to rely on AC or conventional heating and cooling methods to maintain its temperature. Due to the fact that 30 percent of all energy produced in the world is used for heating and cooling buildings, this approach is awesome for environmentally conscious homeowners.

Reasons You May Want To Live In An Earthship Home

  • You care about the earth.
  • You want to save money on AC.
  • You want to save money on water and electric bills.
  • You want to build your house to be self sustainable.
  • You want to grow your own food indoors.
  • You want to try a unique form of alternative housing.
  • You want to collect rainwater to aid in water shortages.
  • You want to build a home that will improve your life.
growing food indoors

Where Do Earthship Houses Come From?

Where Do Earthship Houses Come From

The concept of an earthship house is actually centuries old! They originate from the Taos Pueblo indigenous people. The Taos used deep red adobe brick to build naturally insulated earthen homes. Since then, this sustainable form of architecture has become more popularized in the United States and around the world.

The modern earthship was initially conceived by Michael Reynolds, an American architect based in New Mexico. Reynolds came to Taos, New Mexico in 1969 with a dream to aid in the affordable housing crisis.

classic adobe house design

He was inspired by abundant media coverage on the litter issue in Taos and decided to use the streetside waste to create a “can brick” home out of discarded steel and tin cans.

The idea took off after that, and Michael Reynolds started Earthship Global. Throughout the next decade, the original earthship design began to incorporate thermal mass, passive solar, and natural ventilation as well as mud mounted tires in the design’s walls. Experienced architects also began to incorporate solar glazing into their models.

How Do Earthship Homes Work?

How Do Earthship Homes Work

The defining feature of earthship houses is how the structure allows the home to heat and cool itself without needing any kind of electricity or burning fossil fuels, similar to Mike Oehler’s original underground house design.

stacks of tires create thermal massThe basic idea of an earthship structure is that all sides of the building are surrounded by a large thermal mass. The walls are made out of hundreds of pounds of tires that are connected by clay and cobb mud.

These tires surround the earthship house on three sides of the structure, then, on the south side, the earthship is lined with windows. Sunlight enters into the house through the south facing windows and warms the floors and walls of the earthship house.

As the heat enters into the structure, it passes through the dirt caked walls through a funneled passage. As the air moves laterally, it begins to cool, and the cool air fills the structure. Hot air is then released through an opening at the very top of the earthship, creating a natural heat exchange.

heat exchange in an earthship home

At night, when the air temperature outside of the earthship house is colder, all of the heat that was received from the sun during the day and stored in the walls and floors of the earthship is accessed. The stored heat naturally radiates outward and fills the structure with warmth to combat the cold.

heat exchange in an earthship house at night

How Earthship Homes Work In The Summer

How Earthship Homes Work In The Summer

Earthship homes are intentionally designed to work with the changing seasons. In the summertime, when the sun is much higher in the sky, the angle of the window panels allows the sunlight to enter the structure at a less direct angle. When this happens, less heat is contained inside the earthship house to combat hot summer temps.

heat exchange in an earthship house during summer

How Earthship Homes Work In The Winter

How Earthship Homes Work In The Winter

In contrast, in the wintertime, the sun is much lower in the sky. In winter, the sunlight enters the earthship structure at a lower and more direct angle, allowing more heat to become concentrated inside the earthship house, keeping it warm.

heat exchange in an earthship house during winter

Electricity In An Earthship House

Electricity In An Earthship House

Earthship houses are fully off grid. Experts advise designing the electrical system in your earthship house to be as simplistic as possible while still meeting your needs.

Every household will be different when it comes to what you need power for and how much power you’ll need to use. At the end of the day, it’s up to you and your family which methods you want to adopt to power your earthship home.

pangea builders

“I honestly think everyone is ready to live off grid, it just comes down to whether they want to or not. Earthships are buildings that take care of you, who wouldn’t want that?”

– Jonah Reynolds, Pangea Builders

Be strategic with what apparatuses you use in your earthship. You can reduce the amount of power you use by investing in sustainably designed lighting, pumps, and refrigeration.

It’s also worth making sure you aren’t using extra energy from phantom loads and making the most of the natural lightning from your window panels. If you take these steps, its likely your earthship’s power requirements will only be about 25 percent that of a conventional home.

tiny house electrical

How Earthship Homes Treat Sewage

How Earthship Homes Treat Sewage

Sewage systems are another way that earthship houses are self-sufficient. Earthships homes self-contain, clean, and reuse all household sewage located in tanks on the inside and outside of the building itself.

sewage systemsThe sewage water is sent to rubber-lined outdoor plant containers to water plants and produce. This allows for food production and landscaping to be treated on its own, without any pollution from aquifers.

Toilets in an earthship house are flushed with treated greywater that is completely odorless. The water that you use to do laundry, bathe, wash dishes, cook, and brush your teeth with is collected and piped through a greywater tube.

The water from the greywater tube is used to water the planters in the earthship greenhouse. The water is filtered through the roots of the plants and sent to a small well located within the structure. The greywater is then pumped from the well to the toilets when flushing.

Since earthship homes are not connected to the city sewer line, your black water, or water that has come in contact with excrement, is not treated externally. Earthships use their own individual septic tanks surrounded by rubber lined drains to break down blackwater on its own.

septic system install

Earthship Houses Supply Their Own Water

Earthship Houses Supply Their Own Water

Earthship structures are designed with water needs in mind. To start, a water catchment system collects water from rain and snowmelt. Then, this water supply is stored in barrel cisterns that are built into the earthship house.

pangea builders

“Living off grid challenges you to be more aware of the weather. You’ll have to adjust things like how much laundry you do or how many baths you take based on weather patterns.”

– Jonah Reynolds, Pangea Builders

The water stored in those cisterns then travels through a pump that contains a filter. The filter cleans the water and passes it on to a solar powered water heater as well as a large pressure tank. When this process is complete, you’ll have water that is clean enough to shower with and wash your dishes in.

how to set up a rainwater catchment

Earthship Homes Are Able To Produce Organic Food

Earthship Homes Are Able To Produce Organic Food

Similar to a sunken greenhouse, the self-sustaining earthship home has the ability to produce its own food supply. Earthships are designed to incorporate mini-hydroponic planters into the homes that can grow delicious vegetables, herbs, and fruits.

These planters are made up of suspended buckets in a vertical growing space. It’s best to put the growing space near the window paned wall of your earthship to give your vegetables adequate access to the sunlight they need to grow.

Many earthships also incorporate horizontal garden beds along the front facing windows. You can lay out the greenhouse section of your earthship in whichever manner works best for you and your garden.

Best Crops To Grow In An Earthship House

  • Basil
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Kale
  • Mint
  • Rosemary
  • Beets
  • Cucumbers
  • Zucchini
  • Dill
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro

easiest crops to grow for beginners

How To Build An Earthship Home

How To Build An Earthship Home

When it comes to building your own earthship house, it’s important to remember that no two earthship houses are built exactly alike. There are many ways to design your structure.

Building Materials For Earthship Construction

Building Materials For Earthship Construction

The way you construct your earthship is really going to come down to what aspirations you have for the design, layout, and functions of your house, and what materials you have access to.

I’ve included a list of the building materials used by the Permaculture Institute, but these are just suggestions, as there are many ways to go about build your earthship.

Earthship House Building Materials List

  • Automobile Tires
  • Glass Bottles
  • Aluminum Cans
  • Cobb Mud
  • Cement
  • Straw
  • Sand
  • Gravel
  • Dirt
  • Peat Moss
  • Concrete Slab
  • Caulk
  • Plastic or Foil Sheets
  • Thermal Wrap
  • Waterproofing Paper
  • PVC Pipe
  • Lath Tabs
  • Rebar Rods
  • Water Cistern
  • Grey Water Pipe
    • Door Frame
    • Wooden Trusses
    • Wooden Beams
    • Window Boxes
    • Horticultural Float
    • Glass Panels
    • Plywood Panels
    • Wood Furring Strips
    • Metal Roof Flashing
    • Solar Panels

earthship house materials

50 Steps To Build An Earthship Home

50 Steps To Build An Earthship Home

Building An Earthship Home Step-By-Step

  1. Scrape away grass.
  2. Level your building site.
  3. Lay out the first course of tires.
  4. Pound dirt into tires.
  5. Level pounded tires.
  6. Install vapor barrier.
  7. Install thermal wrap.
  8. Back bury your tire wall.
  9. Back bury your thermal wrap.
  10. Measure battering of walls (1.5 inches).
  11. Pour cement and concrete between tires.
  12. Begin installing cisterns.
  13. Link cisterns with valves.
  14. Connect plumbing outlet valve to cisterns.
  15. Install cooling tubes.
  16. Surround cooling tube in thermal wrap.
  17. Dig front wall footing.
  18. Add vapor barrier.
  19. Add rebar and prepare for front face pour.
  20. Make buttresses with cans and concrete.
  21. Pour cement for footing.
  22. Add porcupine wood to wet footer.
  23. Pour concrete in window boxes.
  24. Install wooden buttresses along wall.
  25. Build power wall.
  1. Install window boxes and door frames.
  2. Create bond beam using cans and cement.
  3. Add anchor bolts to bond beam.
  4. Add wood plating to bond beam.
  5. Surround house in wooden trusses.
  6. Install plywood decking.
  7. Mud pack all vent tubes.
  8. Install greywater pipes.
  9. Line greywater cell with rubber.
  10. Install corbel for living room beam.
  11. Surround water pump with rock bulbs.
  12. Start using bottles to build interior walls.
  13. Fill in greywater cell with peat moss.
  14. Use wooden beams to make X between trusses.
  15. Box the sides & backs of your trusses with plywood.
  16. Add waterproof paper to top of building.
  17. Add lath tabs to tire walls.
  18. Lay rocks in cement footing with rebar.
  19. Build out interior walls with bottles and cement.
  20. Install rock veneer.
  21. Install glass windows.
  22. Add installation.
  23. Install solar hot water panels.
  24. Install solar electric panel.
  25. Add details and landscaping.

Where To Buy An Earthship Home: Earthship Builders

Where To Buy An Earthship Home

If building your own earthship house seems incredibly complex, you are not alone in thinking this way! This is an extremely intricate process with installation of many complex systems required to create an earthship house that self sustains.

If you want to forgo the process of being a DIYer, check out these earthship house builders to partner with to design an earthship home you love. If there isn’t an earthship building company that can build for you in your state, you can always book a consultation to get expert advice on your own project.

Earthship House Build And Design Companies:

Earthship Home Floorplans

Earthship Home Floorplans

When it comes to building your own earthship house, you want to choose a floorplan that makes the most sense for your lifestyle. There are lots of different ways you can go when laying out your earthship home.

One-Bedroom Earthship Home Floorplan

Surrounded by landscaping, water cisterns, and, of course, cemented tires, this one-bedroom earthship design is ideal for one person or a couple. This layout incorporates a bedroom with a queen bed, a hybrid kitchen and living room, a bathroom, and a laundry room that doubles as a hallway.

One-Bedroom Earthship Home Floorplan

Two-Bedroom Earthship Home Floorplan

Perfect for two couples who want to take an off-grid adventure together or a small family, this two-bedroom earthship house floorplan incorporates two bedrooms and one shared bathroom. The design also includes a luxuriously spacious kitchen and small laundry room.

Two-Bedroom Earthship Home Floorplan

Two-Bedroom Earthship House With Garage

If you’re looking for an earthship home with a place to park your car, try this two-bedroom floorplan with an attached garage. The design includes two bedrooms with queen beds, two bathrooms, and an attached kitchen and living room.

Two-Bedroom Earthship House With Garage

Three-Bedroom Earthship Home Floorplan

Earthships can also be lifechanging for a family of four. This three-bedroom floorplan is idyllic for families with two children. The layout has two bedrooms that each fit a twin bed and one that fits a queen. The design also incorporates an open living room and kitchen, two bathrooms, and a laundry nook.

Three-Bedroom Earthship Home Floorplan

Four-Bedroom Earthship Home Floorplan

For even bigger families, this four-bedroom floorplan is the way to go. All three kids’ rooms open into one another, with a shared bathroom for all three bedrooms. The primary bedroom is located on the other side of the house and has room for a queen bed. The kitchen and living are situated right in the middle of the home.

Four-Bedroom Earthship Home Floorplan

Exterior Earthship Home Designs

Exterior Earthship Home Designs

Every earthship house is designed in its own unique way. There are many materials you can use to create the exterior of your earthship house like concrete, adobe, or stone. You may even want to mix and match different materials throughout different sides of your earthship house.

Use Adobe Or Clay To Build Your Earthship

Use Adobe Or Clay To Build Your Earthship

If you’re hoping to preserve the integrity of the original earthship design from the Taos Pueblo indigenous people, you may choose to construct the thermal back walls of your earthship house with adobe or clay.

Going with adobe can look aesthetically pleasing, but it can be harder to deal with excess water and leaks when going this route. Too much rain can seep into the cracks of the structure and damage your earthship house overtime.

However, if you buy adobe bricks made with asphalt emulsion, it’s likely to be made with waterproofing properties that can more easily protect your home. That way, you can enjoy the bohemian look of clay or adobe without the setbacks and future risk.

adobe style earthship construction
earthship built with adobe style
earthship built with clay
clay designed earthship

Build Your Earthship House With Stone

Build Your Earthship House With Stone

Stone is probably the most common material used on the side and back walls of an earthship. There are several types of stone you can use to fill in the walls of your earthship house, like granite, limestone, sandstone, or marble. You can stack individual bricks or fill out the whole wall with stone and cement.

earthship built with stone
earthship built out of stone
earthship made with stone
earthship stone structure
stone built earthship
stone designed earthship

Surround Your Earthship Home With Glass

Surround Your Earthship Home With Glass

Some earthship homes use a lot more glass than others. Some designs merely cover the front side to allow sunlight into the greenhouse section of the home.

However, some earthship designs use glass to cover two or three whole walls, or even to line the ceiling of the home. It may be more difficult to manage the temperature of your earthship in an entirely glass house, but covering your earthship in glass will look gorgeous and keep your home filled with natural light. Plus, your plants will love it!

earthship constructed with glass walls
earthship home constructed with glass
earthship home design with glass
earthship home with glass and steel
earthship made of glass
modern earthship home
using glass in earthship house
earthship built with glass walls

Interior Earthship Home Designs

Interior Earthship Home Designs

Even more important than the outside of your earthship home is what fills the inside. The earthship design may be unconventional, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be alluring and inviting. There are many elements worth incorporating inside your earthship house to turn it into a home!

Get Creative With Your Earthship House Design

Get Creative With Your Earthship House Design

There are so many design features you can include in your earthship to give it that extra aesthetic appeal. One of the coolest elements of an earthship home is the way that old bottles and cans are incorporated into the actual building structure.

Many people who live in earthship houses fill the walls with multicolored glass bottles and pack them in place with cement. This creates a breathtaking mosaic of colors that illuminates your home when it catches the light.

creative earthship design options
creative earthship design
earthship creative design ideas
earthship unique design ideas
creative earthship design features
creative earthship design ideas

Create A Cozy Earthship Bedroom

Create A Cozy Earthship Bedroom

Your bedroom is one of the most important rooms in your house because this is the room where you start and end your day. An earthship bedroom may be on the smaller side, so be smart with your design. Maximize the corners of the bedroom, hang shelves along horizontal wall space, and take advantage of vertical space and leveling in your earthship bedroom.

cozy earthship bedroom ideas
cozy earthship bedroom
earthship bedroom cozy design
earthship home bedroom cozy design ideas

You’ll also want to make sure you incorporate design elements that allow your bedroom to feel like a cozy, inviting haven. Maybe you want to design your bedroom so it opens directly into your garden, add a salt lamp or two by your bedside, throw down a comfy rug, or hang some plants or lanterns throughout your room.

earthship bedroom design details
earthship bedroom interior design style
earthship bedroom interior design
earthship home bedroom design
earthship home bedroom style
earthship house bedroom design ideas

If funky décor isn’t your thing, take a more minimalist approach to your bedroom. You can fill your bedroom with white colors and natural light to achieve a similar sense of cozy and calm.

earthship home bedroom minimalist style
earthship home minimalist bedroom
earthship minimalist bedroom design
earthship minimalist bedroom style

Make Your Earthship Bathroom Feel Serene

Make Your Earthship Bathroom Feel Serene

When designing your earthship bathrooms, incorporate elements that you know will allow you to feel relaxed and at peace. Organizing a small bathroom isn’t always easy, but certain features can make a smaller space go further.

A popular way to design an earthship bathroom is to build the tub and sink area with the same type and shade of clay or stone as the exterior walls. This gives your bathroom a sleek and cohesive look throughout the structure.

earthship home bathroom design
earthship home bathroom style

Another element designers like to incorporate in earthship houses is to surround your bathroom in windows or have a door attached to the bathroom that leads directly outside. This helps fill your bathroom with natural light.

creative earthship bathroom designs
earthship bathroom natural light
earthship home bathroom ideas
modern earthship bathroom designs

Create An Earthship Kitchen That’s Welcoming

Create An Earthship Kitchen Thats Welcoming

The kitchen is one of the main spaces in a home where friends and family gather to spend time with one another. In an earthship house where you’re growing your own food, you want to organize your kitchen in such a way that has enough room for you to turn your produce into delicious dinner.

No matter what color scheme or design elements you choose for your earthship kitchen, it’s important to make sure it’s right next to your greenhouse in the floorplan. The last thing you want to do is to have to walk through the entire house to get your produce and start cooking. Some homeowners even like to have their greenhouse inside of their kitchen space.

earthship kitchen design
earthship kitchen floorplan design
earthship kitchen interior design
earthship kitchen layout
earthship kitchen modern style
earthship kitchen open design floorplan

You also want to ensure that you design your earthship kitchen with enough space to cook. Especially if you are frequently adding lots of new ingredients to the mix, you’ll want ample space to cook the dishes you love for your family.

earthship home kitchen countertop
kitchen design earthship house
kitchen style earthship house
rustic kitchen earthship home

Your Earthship Living Room Can Feel Like Home

Your Earthship Living Room Can Feel Like Home

Your living room is the space where you want to relax and let your worries from the day fade away. Take the time to design the living room of your earthship home in a way that makes you feel at home and at peace.

earthship home living room
earthship living room design
earthship living room style
relaxing earthship living room

Personally, I am a huge fan of earthships that have their living room connected to outdoor space. Designing your earthship home like this is an awesome way to make your home even more cohesive with your environment. Plus, it gives you a beautiful space to kick back in.

earthship living room extended outdoors
earthship living space extended outdoors
earthship living with view
open style earthship living room
If you aren’t a fan of bringing the outdoors in, surround your living room with windows to let natural light flood in. Lots of folks have their living room come right up to the front facing wall of their earthship so it is surrounded by glass walls.
earthship home living room natural light
earthship house living room natural light
earthship living room window light
earthship living room windows
natural light earthship house living room
window light earthship house living room

Lay Out A Rejuvenating Earthship Greenhouse

Lay Out A Rejuvenating Earthship Greenhouse

The way you design your greenhouse is important since it is the main source of food in a traditional earthship home. You can take several approaches to designing your garden. Some people lay garden beds horizontally along the front facing windows while others hang hydroponic planters from the ceilings.

earthship greenhouse
designing an earthship greenhouse
earthship greenhouse design
earthship greenhouse floorplans
earthship greenhouse layout
earthship greenhouse style

Some earthship homeowners take a more integrated approach with plants, filling an entire greenhouse room. I’ve also seen designs where people carve out a U-shaped plant bed towards the front-facing window that is specifically for produce, while placing other plants elsewhere around their earthship home.

earthship front greenhouse design
earthship front greenhouse layout
earthship front greenhouse
earthship front greenhouse interior
earthship front greenhouse design ideas
earthship front greenhouse style

Whichever design you choose, it’s important that you give your greenhouse layout a lot of intentional thought. This is one of the main elements that makes an earthship house so unique!

Cost To Build An Earthship Home

Cost To Build An Earthship Home

Building an earthship house is a huge undertaking, and the price definitely reflects that. It’s hard to nail down an exact cost because a lot of what goes into the budget of your earthship depends on how you build it. Another thing to consider is whether or not you’re hiring a builder, buying it, or building it.

pangea builders

“Earthship houses cost more than a conventional building upfront, but less on a monthly basis because there are no utility bills.”

– Jonah Reynolds, Pangea Builders

Typically, earthships can cost anywhere from $10,000 on the low end to $1,000,000 on the insanely high end. By square footage, earthship houses average about $150 to $225 per square foot. However, again, this will depend on the route you take.

Additional Resources For Building An Earthship House

Additional Resources For Building An Earthship House

I thought I’d include some additional resources from experts who have built their own earthship house. I may know a ton about building and gardening, but I’ve yet to build my own earthship house. I will defer to the pros!

Your Turn!

    • How will you design your own earthship house?
    • In what ways will living in an earthship home improve your life?

How To Compost With Worms: Everything You Need To Know To Get Started

How To Compost With Worms: Everything You Need To Know To Get Started

how to compost with worms

NAVIGATION

ryans tiny house

Hi, I’m Ryan

When I first started worm composting, I remember adding in a whole watermelon’s worth of rinds, thinking it would take weeks or maybe even months to break down. The next week, I couldn’t find them in the bin, my worms broke down them all!ryan mitchell simple living expert

When people think of composting, they usually picture throwing all of their food waste in a pile that they turn every once in a while. But what if I told you there is an entirely different form of composting you can try? Composting with worms!

With vermicomposting, you rely on an abundance of tiny worms to help decompose your scraps, and boy do they know how to get the job done. It’s the same process the worms would perform in the natural world, but when you give these little guys the perfect conditions, they go crazy.

What Is Worm Composting And Why Should I Start?

what is worm composting

Composting with worms, also called vermicomposting, is a composting method that uses earthworms to do the bulk of the hard work for you — sounds like a pretty sweet deal right?

worm compostIn a general sense, compost turns to soil by taking in water and oxygen and producing carbon dioxide and heat. The decomposition process is caused by various bacteria and microbes breaking down your scraps. Worms can do the same thing, but faster.

When you add worms to your compost bin, the worms expedite the process by helping the bacteria and microbes do their job. The vermicomposting method is regarded by composting pros as the easiest and most successful method for composting, especially if you’re just starting out.

How To Compost With Worms: Pros and Cons of Vermicomposting

Pros and Cons of Vermicomposting

I chatted with Nick Shaw about all things worm composting. Nick is a composting enthusiast and owner of Apex Organix Compost, a commercial composting service in Fairfax, Virginia. Throughout our conversation, he gave me insightful advice on why vermicomposting is a wise method for composting newcomers.

worm composting pro tip “Vermicomposting is much less work than building a compost bin, making sure it gets hot enough, turning it, and trying to sift out finished compost. And if you’re in a small apartment, it’s something you can still do!” – Nick from Apex Organix

Worm composting has benefits, but it also has its downsides. When choosing a compost method, it’s important to consider where you want to keep your bin, how quickly you want the process to go, and the type of environment you can provide. I’ve created this chart of the pros and cons for composting with worms to help inform your choice of composting method.

PROS

  • Easy to manage
  • Less prone to odors
  • Worm compost has more nutrients
  • Faster than traditional composting

CONS

  • Worms cannot decompose proteins
  • Requires specific worm species
  • Easy to overfeed worms
  • Smaller volume

PRO: Worm Compost Is Easy To Manage

When it comes to maintaining and keeping up with your compost bin, vermicomposting gets a lot of points for being user friendly.

Composting with worms takes up less space than a traditional compost bin, so you can easily adapt this method to a small studio apartment or the corner of your living room. You do not have to turn a worm compost bin as often as you do other types of compost.

PRO: Vermicompost Is Odorless

Vermicompost is the least likely to give off a smell when compared to other methods. If your nose is bothered by your worm compost bin, something is wrong.

Saying that worm compost is entirely odorless might be a bit of a stretch, as all compost does tend to emit a slightly earthy aroma. However, the odor coming from your worm compost should be pleasing to the senses. More points for the earthworms — especially if you’re composting indoors.

PRO: Worm Compost Has More Nutrients

Vermicompost is richer in nutrients than traditional compost. It is jam packed with more phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen, all of which are extremely beneficial in aiding the growth of your plants.

Vermicompost also holds nutrients for a longer time than traditional compost, so it can supply these high levels of healthy nutrients to your plants for even longer.

PRO: Vermicomposting Is Faster Than Traditional Composting

Vermicomposting is quick. This is because your earthworms are working overtime to do the bulk of the work it would usually take the bacteria and microorganisms many months to complete.

Traditional composting methods can take anywhere from eight to 15 weeks to produce results, but vermicompost gets the job done at two to five times that rate!

indoor compost bin

CON: Worms Cannot Decompose Proteins

Proteins, dairy products, meats, and cheeses are compostable when it comes to traditional compost methods. Experts certainly have varied opinions on whether or not you should compost these items though, as they can attract more pests and can also harbor pathogens.

However, when it comes to vermicompost, composting dairy and proteins isn’t an option at all. Earthworms have strong mouths but don’t have teeth, so thick products like meat and cheese are too difficult for them to digest. Stick with fruits and vegetables to keep your wrigglers happy!

CON: You Have To Tend To The Needs Of Your Worm Species

When going the vermicomposting route, it’s wise to tend towards buying species that are tolerant of the climate you’re in. When you add worms to your compost, temperature matters.

Location and climate are important considerations when buying worms. For example, African Nightcrawlers need warmer temperatures to survive while European Nightcrawlers enjoy cooler temperatures.

CON: You Can Easily Overfeed Your Worms

When composting with worms, the quantity of your scraps is vital. While the success of traditional composting methods is dependent on the way you layer your scraps, you can have as many or as few scraps as you like. That’s not the case with vermicompost.

Overfeeding worms can cause many problems with your compost like odors, acidity, excess moisture, pests, and sick worms, which you want to avoid.

CON: Vermicompost Needs A Shallower Container

Vermicompost works best in a fairly shallow container because it makes it easier for the redworms to feed in the upper layers of the bedding. You want the depth of the container to be between 8 and 12 inches.

how to start a compost pile

How Do I Maintain My Worm Bin?

How Do I Maintain My Worm Bin

Once you’ve made the decision to go the vermicomposting route, you’re going to need advice on how to maintain your bin. When I first started out, I had tons of questions, from what scraps worms prefer to what to do if my worms were eating too much to how often I should turn my worm bin.

What Should I Compost In My Worm Bin?

What Should I Compost In My Worm Bin

You can compost almost anything you would use in traditional compost in your worm bin, including:

  • Most fruits
  • Most vegetables
  • Roots and bulbs
  • Husks, skins, or peels
  • Eggshells
  • Dry leaves
  • Green leaves
  • Grass clippings
  • Pine needles
  • Natural fibers
  • Non-glossy paper
  • Tea leaves or bags
  • Coffee grinds
  • Coffee filters
  • Wood ash
  • Sawdust

worm composting advice“They love watermelon. They go crazy for watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, and pumpkin. But if you really want to see them process material, give them some watermelon, wait about six hours, and they’ll go to town.” – Nick from Apex Organix

What Shouldn’t I Compost In My Worm Bin?

What Not To Compost In My Worm Bin

These materials can be harmful to the worms in your bin and are best to avoid:

  • Meat products
  • Dairy products
  • Citrus fruits
  • Onions or garlic
  • Cooking spices
  • Fats or grease
  • Bones
  • Breads & crackers
  • Pastries
  • Coated paper
  • Stickers
  • Envelope stamps
  • Cat or dog feces
  • Diseased plants
  • Pesticide treated plants
  • Treated wood products

Where Beginners Go Wrong Composting With Worms?

advice for worm composting beginners

When I first started out composting with worms, I didn’t want to make any rookie mistakes with my scraps, my worms, or my compost bin. Here are three example problems that keep composting beginners from reaching their best possible vermicomposting results.

1. Overfeeding Your Worms

Overfeeding Your Worms

I talked about this a little bit already, but this is a common misstep for vermicompost newbies. When you have a ton of kitchen scraps that you’re excited to start composting, it can be tempting to want to just throw them all on top of your pile and let the games begin. This can be harmful or even deadly to your worms.

pro advice on worm composting“When you overfeed, you can run into all kinds of problems that just aren’t good for the worms, especially if you keep the worms inside. The bedding material can become too acidic because, if you add too much food material, you are adding too much nitrogen to the soil, so add more carbon.” – Nick from Apex Organix

2. Putting Your Worms In A Compost Tumbler

Putting Your Worms In A Compost Tumbler

A compost tumbler is not an ideal habitat for composting with worms. Earthworms are going to do much better in a traditional outdoor bin or, if you want to compost indoors, a plastic storage bin or bucket with a lid.

For one thing, tumblers are designed to be rotated, but earthworms need a habitat that’s not being actively disturbed. Another issue is that compost tumblers are designed to heat up, so not only will you stress the worms out with excess movement, but there’s also a decent chance you’d end up killing them in the tumbler due to ammonia release.

do not use a compost tumbler for worm composting

3. Trying To Compost Perfectly On Your First Try

Trying To Compost Perfectly On Your First Try

Just like with anything else we try for the first time, it’s easy to be discouraged when things go wrong. Composting is a slow process without an exact recipe, and it takes a lot of guess and check to get right. Beginners tend to go wrong by letting their desire to get the perfect pile and soil on the first try keep them from trying vermicomposting out at all.

pro tip about worm composting“People get overwhelmed by the amount of information out there — they let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Just get started.” – Nick from Apex Organix


What Is Wrong With My Worm Compost Bin? Troubleshooting Your Vermicompost

Troubleshooting Your Vermicompost

Being a beginner vermicomposter can come with an array of challenges, and it’s easy for these challenges to make it feel like you’re failing.

However, many of these obstacles come with simple fixes. Below, I’ve compiled a list of common problem spots paired with helpful solutions for those starting out.

My Worms Are Sick Or Dying

My Worms Are Sick Or Dying

If you start to notice dead worms in your worm bin, you need to take immediate action to save your remaining sick worms. It doesn’t take much to keep earthworms happy, but sometimes things go wrong.

Here are some ideas of what might be wrong with your bin if you see dead worms, with quick tips on how to fix the problem:

Temperature of worm bin

Worms are not successful in a bin that is extremely hot or extremely cold. Use a thermometer to check that your bin is between 55º and 70ºF.

If your bin is too hot, feed the worms fewer scraps and rely on their natural ability to sustain themselves until your compost pile starts to cool off. If that doesn’t help, you can add ice cubes to the top of your pile.

If you bin is too cold, make sure you keep a lid on the bin to trap in heat. If your bin does not have a lid, use a black tarp to cover your worm bin. You can also try adding hay or straw to insulate your bin.

gardening 101

Moisture in worm bin

Worms don’t like it when the bin is too wet or too dry. To check this, think of the top of your compost pile like a wrung-out sponge. It should feel moist to the touch but it should not be holding water, dripping, or have any standing water.

If your bin is too wet, try soaking up the excess water with cloth or paper, or insert small rolls of newspaper in several holes throughout the bin.

If your bin is too dry, just add some more water to the top of the pile with a watering can or a hose. Be careful not to do this too quickly or you’ll suffocate your living worms.

Air flow in worm compost

Your worms need to be able to breathe! Make sure your bin has good holes for aeration and that the layers of your bin are not so compacted that they restrict air flow between layers and scraps.

Amount of light in vermicompost

Worms are used to living in a severely dark environment. Too much sunlight can be deadly for earthworms. The best way to make sure your worms stay happy is to keep the lid on your worm bin when you aren’t turning, checking on, or managing the pile.

Under or overfeeding your worms

Your worms could be dying off from a lack of food or overfeeding. If your worms do not have enough food, they will begin to eat their own castings. It’s common for composting beginners to be surprised by how quickly their worms eat away at their scraps, so check to see when you need to add more food.

It’s also common for people to make their worms sick by overfeeding them. If you see large amounts of food leftover after one to two weeks, you are probably overfeeding. I recommend you play it safe by feeding your worms an amount they can handle every two or three days.

basics of homestead gardens

Amount of space in your worm bin

Make sure your bin isn’t overly full of scraps, bedding, or even earthworms. Your worms prefer a nice full bin of food, but they can feel overcrowded if your scraps and materials are too compact. If you feel like the hatchlings are making the bin too full, you can take out some of the fully grown worms and move them to a new bin so all of your worms have enough space to move freely and feed as they please.

Type of water used in vermicompost

It is crucial that you use dechlorinated water to moisten your worm bin. Tap water often contains chlorine, which can be deadly to your worms. You can buy dechlorinated water at your local grocery or hardware store, or you can dechlorinate your tap water by boiling it.

Check the pH levels of your worm bin

Your worm bin should not be too acidic or too alkaline or it will harm your worms. You can check the pH levels of your bin with a pH probe. The goal is to have a neutral pH of 7.

If your worm bin is too alkaline, add some acidic foods like citrus fruit peels, onions, pineapple, tomatoes, or peppers — but be careful not to add too much and swing the pendulum the other way. Too much acidity can hurt worms more easily than a bin that is too alkaline.

If your worm bin is too acidic, make sure none of those acidic kinds of food are in your pile.

The Worms In My Compost Bin Are Not Having Babies

The Worms In My Compost Bin Are Not Having Babies

A healthy vermicompost pile produces hatchlings as your happy earthworms start to mate. It can take a few weeks for worms to hatch, so be sure to account for that time when considering the health of your worms. If there aren’t any mating earthworms, egg capsules, or tiny hatchlings in your worm beds, it is likely due to one of these two reasons:

Your worm compost bedding is unhealthy

It is possible that your worm bedding is too wet, too dry, too acidic, or just needs changing out so the worms have a comfortable environment to reproduce in. After your worms are initially added, your bedding should be kept moist but not too wet. The top 6 to 8 inches of the bedding should be turned every seven to 10 days. About every six to nine months, the old bedding should be replaced with brand new bedding. Use straw or hay, newspaper, coco coir, or shredded cardboard to do this.

Your worm compost bin is too cold

If your bin gets colder than 60 degrees, your earthworms will not breed or produce hatchlings. See above for tips on how to heat up a vermicompost bin that is too cold.

My Worm Compost Is Bringing In Pests And Fruit Flies

My Worm Compost Is Bringing In Pests And Fruit Flies

Pests and fruit flies in your worm bin are not ideal, especially if you are keeping your bin inside your house. Here are a few suggestions for getting rid of unwanted bugs in your vermicompost bin:

Add newspaper to your worm bin

Layer a sheet of newspaper on top of your worm bedding to help keep flies out of your
bin. If the flies start congregating on the paper, change it more frequently to see if this helps eliminate them. If the flies won’t leave, you may need to change out your worm bedding completely to destroy fruit fly eggs and larvae.

Build a moat in your worm bin

You can keep smaller bugs like ants or mites out of your worm bin by surrounding it with a water moat that the bugs cannot cross. Be careful with this trick though, as you don’t want the moat to leak over into your bin and completely soak your compost.

Use a bread slice to get rid of bugs in vermicompost

Another trick for small insects is to place a slice of bread on the surface of the bedding. Then remove the bread slice when it’s covered in tiny bugs and discard of the bread and the little pests.

My Worms Are Escaping From My Compost Bin

My Worms Are Escaping From My Compost Bin

When you first add worms to your compost bin, the little guys may try to escape, as they haven’t yet gotten used to their new environment. They can also react to barometric pressure, causing them to try to escape in the case of a storm.

One tip to control those more free-spirited earthworms is to keep a light on near the bin. Worms avoid bright spaces, so they will not try to crawl out towards the light if they are confined to the darkness of an enclosed bin.

My Worm Compost Bin Smells Bad

My Worm Compost Bin Smells Bad

One of the most common complaints for composting beginners is odor. However, vermicompost tends to be the most odorless form of compost. Your worm bin should barely smell, or, if it does, the smell should be earthy and satisfying.

If there is a gross smell coming from your worm bin, that’s a very clear warning sign that something is seriously wrong. Here’s what to do if your vermicompost stinks:

Try adding more oxygen to your worm bin

To do this, gently lift up the layers of food waste and bedding, enabling air to enter into your compost pile.

Try to scout out if the odor is coming from one specific source. If you track down the culprit, [BOLD]remove the moldy kitchen scrap from your vermicompost bin.

If you can’t find one specific smelly element in your worm compost bin, [BOLD]add a layer of shredded paper, hay and straw, or cardboard strips to the top of the bin, and gently work some of this bedding into the lower layers. The extra carbon you add will help to balance out any of the extra nitrogen that’s making your worm bin pungent.

Types Of Worms Used For Vermicomposting

Types Of Worms Used For Vermicomposting

You may feel like all earthworms are similar, but different species actually require different climates and can be good for vermicompost for different reasons. Check out the most common worms used in vermicompost and the specific ways to care for each species:

Vermicomposting With Red Wrigglers

Vermicomposting With Red Wrigglers

red wrigglers composting worms

Red wrigglers are the most common earthworms used for vermicomposting. The scientific name for red wrigglers is Lumbricus Rubellus. Wrigglers are one of the easiest worm species to take care of with the least number of problems for composters.

They can survive within a wide range of temperatures from 55° to 95°F (13° to 35°C) and are also one of the cheapest species to buy in bulk. You can anticipate receiving about 800 to 1,000 worms per pound when purchasing these red earthworms.

Cost: $30–$35 per pound


Vermicomposting With European Nightcrawlers

Vermicomposting With European Nightcrawlers

european nightcrawlers worms

Another earthworm species that is fairly easy to manage is the European nightcrawler, also known as Einsenia Hortensis. Think of these guys like the larger cousin of the red wrigglers who are a tad bit higher maintenance. These nightcrawlers like cooler temperatures, so make sure to be considerate of that when going this route.

Another thing to note with European nightcrawlers is they will birth hatchlings at a slower rate than other species, so you won’t have as many worm babies right away. Since these guys are larger, you should expect about 300 to 400 worms per pound when you buy them.

Cost: $35–$40 per pound


Vermicomposting With African Nightcrawlers

Vermicomposting With African Nightcrawlers

African Nightcrawler worms

African nightcrawlers are high-quality worms to use for vermicompost, as they are known for having better looking worm castings (as good looking as one could call worm poop), but they are also far more difficult to care for.

While their castings make them a popular option, African nightcrawlers require extremely hot temperatures in order to stay alive. They can begin dying off at 60°F (16°C), making them a poor choice for those who live in colder climates. Anticipate about 300 to 400 worms per pound.

Cost: $35 per pound


Vermicomposting With Indian Blue Earthworms

Vermicomposting With Indian Blue Earthworms

Indian Blue Earthworms

It is highly common for the Indian blue earthworms to be confused for red wrigglers due to how similar the species’ look. The Indian blue worm prefers warmer, tropical climates as opposed to colder, frigid climates.

One downside of using these guys in your compost is that they are highly sensitive to barometric pressure, so they commonly try to (and successfully) escape their worm bin with weather changes like hurricanes or thunderstorms. Indian blues are also harder to find and not as common in the U.S. If you can get your hands on them, expect 800 to 1,000 worms per pound.

Cost: $40–$50 per pound


Where Can I Buy Composting Worms?

Where Can I Buy Composting Worms

So where can you buy composting worms? There are several ways to get your hands on vermicompost worms in bulk. You can order earthworms online or purchase them for a local retailer or worm farm.

Many worm farmers and retailers ship their worms, but you can also purchase them on site. Here are a few sources for purchasing your vermicomposting worms:

planet natural

Planet Natural – Planetnatural.com

Planet Natural sells red wrigglers in bulk and will ship them directly to you. Your shipment will arrive in a cloth bag ready for you to use in your own worm composting bin. Planet Natural recommends that you use about 1,000 worms for areas up to 250 square feet and sells worms in groups of 250 to 4,000. You can order red wrigglers directly from their website.

Price: $35–$135 depending on quantity


uncle jims worm farm

Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm – Unclejimswormfarm.com

Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm sells several packages of vermicompost worms in bulk. They sell red wrigglers, European nightcrawlers, and mixed bags of composting worms in quantities from a mere 100 up to 2,000 worms. Each order is shipped and delivered straight to your door. You can purchase Uncle Jim’s vermicomposting worms on their website.

Price: $25–$70 depending on quantity


pet store

Local Pet or Hardware Stores

If you don’t want to order online, you can also purchase vermicomposting worms at your local pet or hardware stores.

You can buy common earthworm species like red wrigglers at these stores, however, it’s likely that they will come in smaller quantities than if you buy the vermicompost worms online and have them shipped to you in bulk.

Pet stores like Petco sell earthworms in groups of 45, while hardware stores like Cabela’s, Home Depot, or the Garden Center of Walmart typically sell them by the ounce.

If you buy your vermicomposting worms from a pet or hardware store as opposed to a worm farm, make sure the species is the right type for composting. These stores sell worms for many other purposes like fishing or feeding rodents, and not all earthworms are great for compost.

Price: $3.50–$5 per ounce


How To Build Your Own Worm Composting Bin

How To Build Your Own Worm Composting Bin

You can use most of the same materials and techniques when building a worm composting bin that you would use to build a traditional compost bin, but there are some specific elements to add when building a worm bin that are better for the health of your earthworms.

Features To Add To A Worm Bin

  • Build a 12- to 20-gallon bin
  • The bin should be dark
  • Give your worm bin a lid
  • Build a drainage mechanism
  • Give your worm bin aeration holes
  • Add 1-inch legs to your worm bin
  • Add a tray underneath your worm bin
  • Add bedding material
build a bin for worm composting

Read detailed instructions on how to assemble your very own DIY compost bin here.