What type of worm farms is best?

Worm farming

There’s been a lot of interest among the Sisters of Mercy in worm farming, so we decided to collect their shared experience and answer some of their (and our) questions about worm farms and share the results here for the benefit of all.

What is a worm farm?

A worm farm is exactly what it sounds like – a home for worms who minimise food waste by turning organic kitchen waste into rich fertiliser for your soils and plants.

How does it work?

Worms eat organic waste and turn it into liquid fertiliser and worm castings (the organic material that has been digested by the worms). Both of these products can be used on your garden and on your pot plants to keep them thriving.

You can use the liquid runoff from a worm farm (sometimes known as “worm juice”) to replace fertiliser. The liquid needs to be diluted until it is the colour of weak tea so it won’t burn your plants, and any excess can be bottled and given as a gift with instructions on how to use it.

What kinds of worm farms are available?

In ground

·       Worms can escape into the ground in hot weather

·       Minimises issues with pests

·       Once in ground, no need to do anything besides adding food scraps

·       Needs to be buried in the garden – may be an issue for people with mobility impairments

Worm tower

·       Worms can escape into the ground in hot weather

·       Minimises issues with pests

·       Once in ground, no need to do anything besides adding food scraps

·       Needs to be buried in the garden – may be an issue for people with mobility impairments

Worm cafe

  • Designed to eliminate pests such as flies and to encourage easy use (sits on legs and has a built-in tap for worm juice)
  • Doesn’t need to be buried in the ground
  • Larger than the Can O Worms, with 3 large capacity working trays
  • Worms aren’t able to escape in hot weather

Can O worms

  • Designed to eliminate pests such as flies and to encourage easy use (sits on legs and has a built-in tap for worm juice)
  • Doesn’t need to be buried in the ground
  • Smaller than the worm cafe, with 2 large capacity working trays
  • Worms aren’t able to escape in hot weather

Alternatively, you can build your own worm farm out of untreated wood or other suitable materials.

Building your own worm farm!

You will need:

  • Worm farm
  • Good quality soil
  • Leaves
  • Shredded paper
  • Worms (available from commercial worm growers, hardware stores such as Bunnings, and some nurseries. Common types are Tiger, Indian Blue and Red Wriggler, and you'll need between 1,000 and 2,000 worms to start your worm farm)
  • A few sheets of damp newspaper

 

To start your worm farm:

1.     Work out where you will locate your farm. Worms don't like the heat or direct sun so choose a cool shady spot inside or outside.

2.     Build a bed for your worms at the bottom of the farm. This should be made out of good-quality soil, leaves and shredded paper, and should be around 15 centimetres deep.

3.     Add a little water to the worm bed—it needs to be kept moist but not wet.

4.     Settle your worms in by gently spreading them over the surface and watch them burrow into their new bed.

5.     Cover your worm farm with a few sheets of damp newspaper and place the lid on the farm.

6.     Keep your worm farm damp, covered and cool at all times.

 

What should I feed my worms?

Do feed

  • Vegetable and fruit peelings
  • Tea leaves
  • Crushed eggshells
  • Bread
  • Small amounts of moistened paper and cardboard such as shredded egg cartons

Don’t feed

  • Dairy (butter and cheese)
  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Fat or bones
  • Citrus peel
  • Onion or garlic

The amount of food and frequency at which you feed your worms depends on the number of worms in your farm. It may take a little time to figure this out. A good rule of thumb is to keep your eye on the scraps in the farm – if they are getting mouldy or attracting pests, reduce the amount of food you are feeding your worms.

Additional information was sourced from:

·       Start a worm farm – Your Energy Savings