Worm farm basics

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Worms in my worm farm

I’ve tried and FAILED miserably to get a successful compost heap up and runnninng on a few occasions. When we moved to our new place, there was one of those static compost bins lurking in a corner of the yard so, glutton for punishment that I am, I tried again. On this occasion, the compost failed again but I did manage to create a glorious habitat for spiders who now lurk below the lid meaning I will NEVER open that compost bin again.

Instead of consigning food waste to the bin, I got some inspiration from mum who works at a retirement home. They recently put in an idustrial size worm farm so I had the idea that this could be my soltion on a smaller scale. No only do the little worms eat your scraps, they give you ‘worm tea’and ‘castings’ (worm wee and worm poo??) which is heaven for anything you are growing in the garden, especially things in pots.

Off to the hardware store we went and settled on the cute sounding Worm Cafe and a box of worms. The worms have really taken off and are pretty low maintenance little buggers so if you are thinking of setting up a worm farm, here are some suggestions from what I’ve learned along the way:

  1. Choose your worm farm to fit your space and the size of your family – we chose one (pictured below) where it started with one tray which you can add onto as the worms breed – we’re up to tray two now and this seems to be working well.
  2. Choose the location for your worm farm carefully – in Canberra, we have really hot summers and really cold winters so we’ve put our worms under some evergreen bottlebrush which shades them in summer and protects them from frosts in the winter. We’ve also added a towel on top of the farm to add a layer of insulation for them. They’ve survived (and thirved) a full year here so it seems to be the right mix of conditions.
  3. Don’t overfeed them – give the worms time to settle in. If you keep dumping food in and they cant keep up with it, you’ll just create a mouldy, toxic environment for them
  4. Remember to empty the worm tea regularly or you’ll have some drowned worms in there which really stink!
  5. Remember to keep the worms moist – you can buy little blanket things to go inside the farm which keep moisture in. Also give them a good flush out with fresh water fairly regulalrly.
  6. Feed them the right things – especially at first, they can be a bit fussy. Onions and citrus aren’t highly sought after menu items. If you have huge things, try and break them down a bit so the worms can get into them.

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