Worm farms are fast becoming in the thing because, whether you live in a city apartment or have a garden, worm farms can supply you with an organic fertilizer for your indoor or outdoor plants. They take up less space than a composer and a great advantage is that they don’t smell.
More than 50% of household waste thrown in the bin is organic. This practice is environmentally unsound and also wasteful because through natural processes this organic matter can safely and easily be converted into useful soil-building humus by the use of worm farms.
Worm Farms can be found at all good hardware stores and nurseries. A great system is The Worm Factory Composting System but if you want to establish a worm farm yourself, it’s easy.
You need four levels of plastic/waterproof containers, about 30cm deep, 60cm wide and 90cm long. Make sure you place a lid with holes in on top to allow aerobic conditions inside the worm farm and keep out unwanted guests.
The base needs to be solid and on legs, a tap makes it easy to collect liquid which runs from the top 3 containers. These need to be perforated to allow access for the creatures to move through the different layers of the worm farm. This liquid, which is accessible at the bottom tier, is nectar from the gods as far as your plants are concerned, make sure you dilute it 1/10.
Worm farms can be located indoors or outdoors so long as you meet the criteria of them being in a cool, moist and dark place.
Composting worms are needed to make worm farms successful; they do a different job than the burrowing earthworms that aerate the soil. They are surface dwellers and they thrive in leafy moist litter layers around the world. To breed, they need a regular supply of food and to be in a cool, moist and a dark environment.
Look for tiger, Indian blue or Red Wiggler Worms for your farm; they are great eaters and breed rapidly. Create a competitive environment by buying the different types, no harm will come to them. They are readily available from hardware stores, nurseries and other suppliers, you can start with a bag of 500 or, if you’re in a hurry to get that “nectar”, start with 3 to 5 thousand. Your supplier will gladly give you more info relating to numbers when you give him the dimensions of your worm farm.
Before you introduce worms to your farm, you need to make a bed for them, start at the base and put down a layer of moist newspaper, not wet; you then add moist soil or compost.
Add some vegetable scraps to get started, start with small amounts, and always cover the organic matter you add with a couple of sheets of damp newspaper to create balanced compost.
What you can add:
- fruit and vegetable scraps
- coffee grounds
- tea leaves
- crushed eggshells
- shredded newspaper
- wood ash
- dog hair
- contents of vacuum bags
Things to avoid:
- animal droppings
Worm farms can provide you with a constant supply of free fertilizer. They reduce the amount of rubbish you throw out which would normally go to landfill. It is an easy way to help the environment and your garden at the same time.