Book Review – How to Start a Worm Bin: Your Guide to Getting Started with Worm Composting by Henry Owen

How To Start A Worm Bin

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How to Start a Worm Bin: Your Guide to Getting Started with Worm Composting by Henry Owen is a very accessible and easy to read how-to guide which provides all the necessary information you’ll ever need to get started in vermicomposting.

This enjoyable little 95-page paperback is satisfyingly thorough in dealing with the subject matter, covering all aspects of setting up a worm farm and caring for your worms. It’s filled with lots of practical tips and includes some DIY instructions for the handy-inclined. It’s written in a fairly casual, friendly conversational tone, which is reminiscent of being in a workshop with a presenter who knows his subject matter really well and can keep a very broad audience interested and engaged.

One notable aspect of the author’s writing style is the balance achieved between readability and technical content. This book is written in fairly basic language, so anyone can pick up this book and successfully understand the fundamental theory or follow the clearly written step-by-step instructions. Yet, it’s written is such a way that it manages to weave in just enough of the essential science of vermicomposting and worm biology in such a masterful manner that the reader will digest this important technical information without even realising it.

In keeping with the concept of accessibility which defines this book, kudos to the author for including both metric and imperial measurements side by side, making it useful to both US and international readers!

Just like any good presenter, the author repeats important points throughout the book in a didactic style so as to emphasise and reinforce them, ensuring that readers don’t miss the vital concepts which are critical to successful vermicomposting.

The book is lean and efficient, it’s a stimulating easy read, giving enough information for readers to confidently understand each topic. Put simply, it’s an enjoyable concise instructional book. The information is structured well and flows in a logical manner, covering all the topics that anyone starting out in worm farming would ever require.

From the list of contents below, we can see that this book covers all the important topics on the subject of worm farming and dedicates several pages to each.


Introduction 1

Chapter 1: What is Worm Composting? 4

Chapter 2: Fears About Worm Composting 9

Chapter 3: The Worm 15

Chapter 4: Setting Up Your Worm Farm 23

Chapter 5 The Bin 26

Chapter 6: The Bedding 37

Chapter 7: The Food 40

Chapter 8: Maintenance 47

Chapter 9: Other Critters in the Compost Bin 56

Chapter 10: How to Keep Worms in the Bin 64

Chapter 11: The Poop: All About Worm Compost 68

Chapter 12: Worm Composting for Kids 80

A Final Word 83

Appendix 1: Worm Bin Troubleshooting 85

Appendix 2: Worm Composting FAQ 87

About the Author 94

I was fortunate to be able to ask the author Henry Owen a few questions, as I was curious about his motivations for writing this book. What was evident is that this book is a work of passion from a man who truly ‘walks the walk’, taking responsibility for his food waste, using worm composting to close the nutrient loop and grow more food for his family, and teaching others how to do the same. Henry explained that “the book’s goal is to provide worm composting beginners all the information and empowerment they need to start worm composting”, and in my opinion it does all that and more.

For such a short book it goes well beyond what the title suggests – it explains various ways to use worm casting in the garden, suggests educational activities for children that teachers can use in class, and has a reasonable troubleshooting guide in tabular format. It also has an excellent FAQ drawn from the author’s teaching experience which will most likely answer any questions that may arise after reading the book, and then some. This book even includes step-by-step instructions on how to build a simple worm bin from a plastic storage tub and a fruit fly trap should you ever need one.

Even though the book has just enough pictures, I would have liked a little more, and perhaps some diagrams, as I’m quite a visual learner. That would be my only minor criticism of what is otherwise an almost perfect beginners book on worm farming. It’s more of a personal preference than an issue really, as the author has a knack of explaining things so clearly that the book achieves and easily exceeds its intended aims.

In summary, this is a very well written book suitable for both beginners and intermediate readers on the subject, so If you’re looking to get into worm farming, or if you have already started but wish to learn more and become confident with all aspects of vermicomposting, then this is the book to get.

This is really the ‘Little Worm Farming Book That Could’, it will help any new starter overcome their doubts, fears or concerns, and give them all the right information, guidance and confidence they need to successfully compost with worms!

Deep Green rating for “How to Start a Worm Bin: Your Guide to Getting Started with Worm Composting” by Henry Owen is 5 stars!

five out of five stars

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