Worms are the intestines of the earth.Aristotle.
Some of you may remember the amazing deal that was my colossal worm farm.
In 2012, I found a huge worm farm in the local classifieds for $110. It was filled with worms and it was an utter bargain.
It was great when the kids were in kindy and playgroup, I would collect all the fruit and vegetable waste from their recess. Before we had the chickens, the worm farm ate all our compostable household waste.
I even mucked out horse stables to give it a good dose of horse manure and hay. I took all the shredded paper from two local offices. Given worms can eat their own weight in a day, my worm farm with a volume of 1.5 cubic metres is a hungry beast indeed!
For a while, I was even feeding it with the neighbour’s grass clippings (I don’t have
I’ve fallen out of love with my enormous worm farm.
It’s just too big for me to keep up with.
I should mention that this worm farm also earned the kids some pocket money in it’s heyday! An ad in Gumtree for a “Dig Your Own Worms” for $20 for 2 litres worth earned the kids an occasional handful of cash. It earned it’s cost back a few times over!
The worm farm is brilliant and it works a treat. It would suit a community garden or a rural property much better than my suburban yard.
As Husband and I surveyed our front yard and began prep for our new garden design, it stuck out like a sore thumb.
I am going for a more formal, potager style front yard, and the worm bin, while functional, is hard to hide or screen while it is parked in my front driveway. It’s a little too rustic for our planned aesthetic. So it’s going to go.
First, I am going to empty it. It has been neglected, and while there is plenty of excellent compostable material in the farm that I don’t want to waste, it is also full of creepy crawlies. And I don’t mean worms. Since the worm numbers dwindled, ants, slaters, pill bugs, sandgropers and spiders have taken up residence.
I will scoop out all the worm farm contents and transfer it to my three tumbling compost bins. It’s my experience that the heat of the tumblers expels many of the nasties, and the tumbling and turning of the compost also discourages their infestation.
But I still want worms! Luckily for me, a friend has plenty of pest-free worms and was happy to share some.
I have set up a new worm bin. Downsized my worm farm, to a worm condominium. It will suit my lifestyle much better.
And it couldn’t be easier to set up. I placed cardboard in the top tray and then layered a reconstituted brick of fine coir fibre on top as starter bedding material.
I then fed them with minced food leftovers that you can see below. I covered that layer with an old stained tea towel. I find this prevents the worm farm from drying out and protects your worms.
In the past when using the stacked worm farms, I have stuffed them up many times over and have learned a thing or three!
My new worm farm is in an all-new location. It is closer to my kitchen, for ease of feeding, and is located in the only part of my house that receives continuous shade. It is also close to the garden tap.
It is tucked away discretely, and certianly wont be the first thing people see when they pull into my driveway. Plus, there is room for one or two more, should I need to expand my worm empire.
It’s easy to kill worms with the best of intentions. Feed them too much, the food turns mouldy, and before long your worm farm will turn anaerobic and stink like nothing you have likely whiffed before.
But feed them smaller amounts once or twice a week, and keep their mix moist, but not wet, with an even mix of green (nitrogen) and brown (carbon) materials. Get the balance right and you will be rewarded with nutrient-rich worm castings and worm wee that will smell of the rainforest and be worth its weight in gardener’s gold!
Feed your worms;
- Shredded paper,
- Used coffee grinds and tea bags
- Bread, pasta and other grains like porridge and cereal
- Hair from you and your pets, even fluff from the dryer and
- Animal Manure (not dog or cat)
Don’t feed them:
- Salty or spicy food,
- Domestic pet poo,
- Meat or Dairy products.
Build a moat!
As you will see, I have given my worm condominium a moat. Specifically, a mini-moat around each leg, comprising of a cut recycled plastic bottle, filled with water.
This acts as a barrier, so that insects and arachnids simply can’t get in.
Once ants and other creepy crawlies invade your worm condo, they threaten the health of your worms to the point of ruin. Plus, once they get in, they can be very hard to get rid of, without risking the health of your worms too.
And your Nanna was right. An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure!
Would you like an enormous worm farm and live in the Perth area? I am giving it away, but you will need a trailer and some muscle to transport it!
Email or contact me via social media if you are interested!
Do you have worms? What is your secret to keeping them healthy and happy? I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below.