How to: Start a Worm Farm

How to: Start a Worm Farm

Jenny Butler
Mar 5, 2009

We compost like crazy at our house and have been looking at starting a worm farm. Worm farms are a fantastic way to compost and they produce organic fertilizer and soil conditioner. More importantly, if everyone in Australia had a worm farm compostable garbage would be reduced by 21,007,310 tonnes per year [that's potentially 303,824,640 tonnes in the USA]. Have a look at how easy they are to start…

What you need:

  • Worm Farm

  • Composting Worms

  • Newspaper

  • Water

  • Mulch

  • Kitchen and Garden Scraps

How to:

1. Assemble your worm farm- kits can be bought from the hardware store like this one or there are a couple of good DIY models that we saw on Instructables here and here.

2. Set worm farm up out of direct sunlight.

3. Wet some newspaper and lay it on the bottom of the farm then cover with 1 1/2 inches of mulch.

4. Place the composting worms [available from your local hardware store or nursery] on top of the mulch and cover with another layer of wet newspaper. Between 500 to 1,000 worms per farm is required and 1 farm will suit the amount of scraps from 2 to 3 people.

5. Let the worms settle for a few days and ensure that the top layer of newspaper is always damp.

6. Start adding you kitchen and garden scraps under the top layer of damp newspaper.

Worms will digest most kitchen scraps but they especially love lettuce, egg shells, bananas, potato, coffee grounds and tea leaves. Don't add any meat or too much garlic, onion or citrus as worms don't like the acidity. A small amount of soft garden scraps like grass clippings and leaves should be added as worms like a variety of foods but kitchens scraps should remain their main food group.

 After a month or so you will start collecting "worm wee" which is a fantastic highly concentrated fertilizer and should be diluted at a ratio of 1:10 with water. After about 6 months the lower section of the farm will be full of "worm poo" which is a powerful soil conditioner and should be carefully sprinkled around your plants.

There are some Common Problems though:

If your worm farm is too dry, add some water and more vegetable scraps

If your worm farm has ants, add more vegetable scraps

If your worm farm has little flies hovering around, don't add anything acidic

If your worm farm smells, add less scraps

After looking into this, a worm farm is defiantly something we are going to invest in. Do you or have you had a worm farm? Do you have any advice to add?

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