Trudy \\ Building a Colony; Tackling Worm Farming

My worm farm

My worm farm

I have recently become a pet owner … I am very proud to be the owner of 1200 worms. Not only are they great company to keep, they are also efficient decomposers of my kitchen waste. It’s a great relationship! Today when I opened the lid, I could hear how active the worms are in the soil. This was a new experience for me as I never knew worms were audible… I can also see some very fat worms, which makes me think that it’s working!

A worm farm is really easy to set up and even easier to maintain.

Here are some easy steps you can take to set up a worm farm:

1. Purchase worms

You will need 1000 worms per person in your household. I recommend you take this advice otherwise you will feed your worms more food than they can digest. This means a lot of excess food in the farm, which can attract flies and other insects (not to mention the smell!)

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2. Find your worms a house.
There are commercially made farms available and these are designed to have different levels which all have a separate function. However, you can always make do with plastic storage containers or garbage bins. Just make sure it is opaque as worms like it dark.

3. Layer your worm farm, and bedding. Start your worm farm by lining the base with newspaper or cardboard.  Add worm bedding, (i.e, moist soil and compost) and then introduce your worms to their new home. Cover them with 5 sheets of damp newspaper and a hessian sack (or an old T-shirt or cloth).

4. Feed your worms.  Add food scraps to the farm as frequently as you wish. Place the scraps under the hessian bag and cover with the sac before you close the lid.

Now to the important information – what to feed your worms?

5. Feeding your worms

Yes No
Fruit and vegie scraps Onion
Tea Bags (remove the string) and coffee grounds Garlic
Crushed eggshells Chilli
Bread and pasta (small amounts) Dairy
Moist cardboard and newspaper Citrus fruit ( lemons, limes or oranges)
Meat and bones
Fish, oils or grease

 

Some Tips & Tricks

 1. Keep the hessian sack and newspapers wet, and continually monitor the moistness of your worm farm.

Keeping ants out of your worm farm

Keeping ants out of your worm farm

Worms thrive in moist environments, so keep checking the amount of dampness in the worm bedding. Having a worm farm that is moist also keeps out the ants and flies.

***If your worm farm is moist and you continue to have ant problems, try putting containers filled with water at the base of your farm.

2. A healthy worm farm should have a pleasant earthy smell to it.

If your farm has a bad smell, this is a sign that you may have overfed your worms. To counteract any bad smells; remove rotting food, and when adding scraps, bury it underneath some soil and vary the location of food throughout the bin.

3. Cut food into small pieces as this makes it easier for the worms to eat.

4. Location, location, location!

I was talking to one of my peers about my worm farm and mentioned that they were not eating very quickly. Her comment was, “Are your worms warm enough?”. This immediately made me feel like a bad owner as I had not thought about the climate!

Here is some great advice from Foodwise:

Worms are seasonal creatures. In summer, keep your worms in a cool, sheltered environment, away from direct sunlight. In the colder months, move them into a sunny area to keep them productive as temperatures drop. Where possible, place close to your kitchen so it’s convenient to maintain and add scraps.

5. Allow time for your worms to settle into their new home.

As I found out, don’t expect much in the first few weeks. They are simply adjusting to their new environment. Once settled, they can consume up to their own weight in food a day. So, make sure you are continually adding varied scraps to your farm!

Once you’ve followed these steps, tips and tricks, you and your worms will be well on your way to reducing your household’s organic waste being sent to landfill.

Find more information on setting up your worm farm here.

If you have made a successful worm farm before, share your stories with us! What were your challenges and how did you overcome them? Do you have some tips for worm farming?

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