Worm farms are a simple way of recycling fruit and vegetable scraps into highly fertilised soil (castings) for your garden. As your farm grows your garden will blossom from the enriched fertiliser and you will have a good source of bait for when you go fishing, once the gardening is done!

You Will Need

  • Drill and bits (1/4 inch) to make holes in the container.
  • Red or Tiger worms are recommended, and are available at most Garden nurseries.
  • Compost
  • Newspaper
  • Container of some description
  • A cover for the container, such as a plastic sheet
  • Food scraps

Always keep tools and materials away from children.

Choose A Container

Worm farms are basic 3 or 4 level structures which you can make yourself or purchase. You can use waterproof containers such as old wooden or polystyrene boxes, or purchase stackable worm farms with liquid run-off taps that allow you to collect waste which when diluted is great for distributing on your garden. Your container size will be determined on your volume of food waste and the space your have available in your backyard.

Making Your Worm Farm

1. On the bottom layer of your container, line it with two sheets of newspaper then fill the container half way with compost, grass clippings and moist shredded newspaper.

2. Add the compost worms (Tiger or Red worms). Don’t add too many as they will breed and grow in direct proportion to the feed provided and the size of the worm farm.

3. Water till moist then cover the container with a garbage bag, plastic sheet a hessian bag.

4. Starting with a small amount of food in the first week gradually increase this amount over the next 6 months. It is best to feed your worms weekly.

5. After feeding the worms, cover the food scraps with some compost or soil to avoid attracting vinegar flies.

6. Add water every few days or when necessary (especially during hot spells) to prevent the worm farm from drying out. It is important to keep the worm farm moist, as the worms may die if it dries out. However, the worm farm should not be soggy either. Remember, there is moisture in the food scraps.

7. If the worms outgrow your container, simply remove the container lid and add another level on top of the original. Insert several holes (2cm wide) into the bottom of the container.

8. With the new level, place food with compost to attract the worms to enter the new container therefore increasing your casting volumes. You can harvest your castings after a few months when the worms have relocated to the above level where the food is. Make sure to replace with new compost and start again by adding levels.

Feeding The Worms

Worms will eat almost any type of fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grindings, paper, leaves and even damp cardboard. Don’t feed worms onions, and limit acidic food like oranges and lemons and avoid materials contaminated with toxic chemicals, such as treated wood.

Try not to feed your worms meat, poultry, dairy products, or salty food like potato chips as these will create odours and attract insects.

A Few Handy Tips

Do not over feed the worms as overfeeding can lead to odour problems. If uneaten food remains simply wait until the scraps have been eaten before feeding.

As your worm population increases, you can add more food per day.

Worms will eat almost any type of fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grindings, paper, leaves and even damp cardboard.

Support the farm off the ground with bricks, making sure to tilt so that the liquid waste can be gathered.

If your bedding is too wet, add some dry bedding, leave the cover off for a few days, or carefully drain the water off. If it is too dry, add some cool water and leave the farm loosely covered.

More water may need to be added on hot, windy days.

Be sure to regularly check food levels and moisture levels, especially during hot weeks throughout summer.

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