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Worm Farming and how to make your own farm.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
When I told my long suffering husband that I was getting 5000 new pets and he had to help me come up with names for each one, he didn’t know whether to laugh or cry!
Worms would have to be the best low maintenance pets available. They don’t need daily walks, don’t scratch the sofa, don’t require costly trips to the vets or get the huff if you go away on holiday for three weeks.
Managing a worm farm is a great job for kids as they fill full their fascination for getting dirty. They get their kind of fun; you get the end result for your garden.
Ready made worm farms can be bought from garden centres or hardware shops. They are can expensive but can save time by naturally sorting the castings from the worms. I have had one of these models for the last 5 years. It does a great job of using all kitchen scraps and producing great ‘worm wees’ and ‘worm poohs’. However I have also recently made a homemade one which is much more cost effective and designed to sort the castings as well.
My first worm farm bought from a garden nursery, showing the top tray with the partly eaten food matter and worms.
To make a Worm Farm you will need the following material:
? Three same size Styrofoam boxes (about 60cm x 40cm).
In two of them, make about 30 small holes with a nail to drain excess water. The holes need to be slightly bigger than a worm. Try your friendly greengrocer or supermarket.
? About a 5cm long piece of garden house
? Soil or peat
? Small kitchen food scraps
? Hessian sack/carpet, wet newspaper
? 1000 red or tiger worms
These are available from commercial worm farmers (yes there is such a person!). They can even arrive via mail-order.
1. Push the length of garden hose through the lower side edge of the Styrofoam box without holes. This hose will drain away the black fluid into a bucket to be used on the garden. Place this box on bricks, rocks or an outdoor table so you are able to place a bucket under it. Position it on a slope so fluid can drain out.
2. Place number two box with holes on top of the first box. Place soil or peat into box along with the worms. Sprinkle with water and spread about one hand full of kitchen scraps on top of worms.
3. Cover with Hessian sack, newspaper or carpet (I use the lid of the Styrofoam box as I have a greedy Labrador who likes to help herself to the food scraps!). A cover is important as worms like a dark, moist environment.
4. Continue to feed the worms until box 2 is full right to the top. Worms eat their own body weight each day (I’m sure I’ve been guilty of that over Christmas!)
5. Take off the sack etc and place box number 3 on top of the second box. Add a hand full of food. The worms will wriggle their way into their new penthouse to reach new food.
6. Continue this process until box three is nearly full. The second box will now be ready to use on the garden. Place this box on top of the upper box without a lid in the sun. This will make any remaining worms move down into the middle box away from the light.
Other Tips and Tricks
? Use the fluid which drains into the bucket on your plants. You can dilute it up to 50%. If you need more fluid straight away you can pour a bucket of water straight through the farm.
? Worms like a temperature of between 15-20 degrees celsius. It is best to situate the worm bin in a shady position in summer, and in a sunny position in winter. Worms are more active in warm weather so feed less in winter.
? Apply a handful of lime to the top bin every fortnight or so to stop the environment from getting too acidic.
? Anything that was once living, can be used in the farm, including hair, contents from the vacuum cleaner bag, egg cartons, coffee grounds, egg shells and paper.
? The worms will have doubled their population within about 18 months. In 2-3 years worm concentrations will reach capacity at about 15000 to 20000 worms.
? These sorts of worms can’t survive in normal garden soil so don’t think you are doing them any favours by setting them free.
? You might find lots of other black beetles and tiny flies living in your worm farm. They are also beneficial as they help to break down the food
? If everything is turning smelly and slimy you are overfeeding.
? In colder climates you can keep the warm farm in the garage.
? A well running worm farm will have no odour.
? The Ph of vermicast (the final product) is neutral. It is great to add to potting mix or as a side dressing for growing plants.
? You can successfully leave the worms for up to three weeks without feeding them. Water them well and make sure they are placed in the shade. Drying out is the worst enemy for them.
Go on and do you bit for recycling whilst improving the health of your plants and garden soil. Have fun naming all those new pets!!
Written by Janet Luke
18 Feb 10
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Posted 18 Feb 10 5:33 PM
do worm farms like water
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