What is worm farming?
Worm farming is another great way to compost food scraps. Worms are wonderful creatures. They will eat most of your kitchen waste and turn it into a high-quality fertiliser, which can be added to your garden soil and your potted or indoor plants.
How to make your own worm farm
You can buy worm farms from your local council or you can make your own.
STEP 1. Get a couple of foam boxes from your green-grocer
STEP 2. Make holes in the bottom of one box to let liquid drain
STEP 3. Place box with the holes over another box without holes and make a tap in the bottom box to let the liquid out
Put an upturned ice-cream container or a brick in the bottom box. This will help any worms that fall through the holes to climb up into the upper box. It will also form an island for the worms so they don't drown. Many people accidently let their worms drown .
STEP 4. Make the bedding
Tear up some leaves, newspaper and card board to make a layer of bedding about the thickness of your hand length in the upper box. Compost can also be used.
Soak the bedding before it is added to the box.
STEP 5. Add the worms
Add about two handfuls of Redworms and/or Tigerworms to the top of your worm farm. You can buy the worms from worm farms (see the Yellow Pages) or your local nursery.
STEP 6. Add food waste
Put your kitchen waste on top of the bedding regularly but in small amounts. Over time, as more worms breed, you will be able to give them more to eat.
- Don't add too much at once.
- Do not feed worms meat, bones, fatty food or dairy products .
- Worms don't eat raw potato â€“ but they do eat cooked potato!
- Worms don't like oranges, grapefruit and lemons, or raw onions or
- raw garlic.
Some food waste such as fruit, grains and sugary foods form acid. Adding a little wood ash or dolomite or lime every few weeks will prevent the worm farm from becoming too acidic.
Open the lid and wait until the worms burrow under. When you can't see them anymore, apply the lime or wood ash.
STEP 7. Cover the worm bed
Cover the food waste with newspaper or a piece of hessian. This will help keep a constant temperature in the worm farm.
Add water to the box whenever it begins to get dry. It should be the consistency of a lightly squeezed sponge; if it is too wet the worms will die.
The worm farms should be placed in a shady spot in your garden or garage.
STEP 8. Harvest the worm castings
Harvest the worm castings by moving it all to one side of the bin; add fresh bedding to the empty side. Many of the worms will move to the fresh bedding in a few days. The valuable worm castings can then be taken out and used to feed houseplants, add to seedling mixes and potting soils.
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Page last updated: 27 February 2011