Recently I decided to make a worm farm and as I was sharing it over on Instagram it turns out a lot of you are interested in learning about the process too!
So in this post I’m sharing exactly how to start a worm farm, the benefits of starting one and how to feed and maintain your worms (don’t worry – they’re very easy!) Read on for all the details!
Reasons to Start a Worm Farm
- Worm farms are a great way to recycle! Similar to a compost, you can feed your worms lots of food and kitchen scraps.
- Recycling via a worm farm is a lot faster process than composting. Composting relies on the breakdown of nutrients, whereas worms break these down quicker.
- The by-products of a worm farm (castings and ‘tea’ aka worm wee) are super nutrient dense products that are fantastic for gardens and plants. In fact, this was my driving reason for starting a worm farm 😉
How Much Space Do I Need to Start a Worm Farm?
Worm farms are actually quite compact, which means they will do fine in a courtyard or even a small balcony. Some people even keep them in their kitchen! A sheltered spot is a good choice. A warmer spot in winter is ideal and a cool, shaded spot in summer is best. Being contained, there is no mess to worry about and there shouldn’t be any smell either.
How To Start a Worm Farm
Setting up a worm farm is a lot easier than it seems! There’s kits available which make it super simple to do, and a fun project for kids too. If you are based in the US, I’ve linked the products below on Amazon. In Australia, everything you need can be found at Bunnings.
You Will Need:
–Worm Farm Kit
-Coco Peat Bedding Block (comes in the above kit)
–Live Worms (For the above kit, you can start with 500-1000 worms)
Worm Farms are easy to set up and should only take half an hour or so to do! Unpack your worm farm kit. It will most likely come with instructions which will be similar to what I’m sharing. If there’s any doubts, follow the instructions on your kit or packet of worms.
Once your worm farm is out of the box, you’ll need to soak the bedding block (coco peat) in about a third of a bucket of water. You can leave it for half an hour, however mine absorbed and fell apart a lot quicker.
Dampen a few sheets of newspaper and line the bottom of your worm farm. Then, transfer your coco peat on top of this. The peat should be damp and not saturated. If you need to, squeeze out some excess water or strain the peat first.
Once the bedding is in, it’s time to add your worms! Gently tip the bag/box of worms on top of the bedding. You may see them, but they’ll quickly burrow in to get away from the light.
Dampen the worm blanket and position it over the top, then close the lid. My instructions said to give the worms a week to settle in before starting to feed them.
Keep your worm farm in a shady spot. In winter, you can allow it some sun, and the warmth will encourage the worms to be more active.
Feeding the Worms
Once your worms are settled in, you can begin feeding them! Some scraps you can feed your worm farm include:
- Kitchen scraps like fruit & veggie peels
- Tea bags and coffee grinds
- Moist cardboard and newspaper
Avoid Feeding Your Worms:
- Dairy products
- Meat, bones or fish
- Citrus Fruits
- Onion, chilli & garlic
- Too much bread and pasta
Maintaining Your Worm Farm
Apart from feeding your worms, its important to ensure they don’t dry out. You may need to give the farm a gentle spray with the hose about once a week. The farm shouldn’t dry out completely; it should give out a couple of drops of liquid when squeezed.
Regularly check and empty the tray of castings and your container of tea. Once the worms have filled up the tray they are in, it’s possible to add a second tray on top (this may have come with your kit) where you can then place your food scraps in. The worms will make their way up to feed, and live in the lower tray.
If you find the worm farm starts to smell or is attracting pests, you may be feeding them more than they can eat! Cut back a little on the scraps. If it is attracting ants, make sure the worm farm isn’t too dry. You can also place the legs in containers of water to deter ants.
Are you thinking of making a worm farm? Let me know in the comments!
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I think this idea of Worm Farming is terrific. I work with at least three folks that would like to try this.
It takes following instructions, making sure that the “food” on the list is what is needed, it is also a way to keep a diary of each day’s activity.