Worm farming

A month ago, I went to a free worm farming information session and decided to set one up at home. Worm farming is a great way to reduce kitchen waste that get sent to landfill, which in turn pollute our environment. And moreover, the worms produce a nutrient rich soil-like casting, which is a great fertiliser for your garden, and it’s organic!

I also see it as having pet worms at home (I love pets!) and I feed them with food waste that would normally go in the bin^^

Yesterday, I went to pick up my baby worms, which I ordered a month ago, as well as a worm farm (it’s like a stack of trays). It cost me AUD$28 for about 1000 worms and AUD$68 for the worm farm.

Setting up a worm farm

1-New worm factory pack

This is my new worm factory! The home of my new worm babies ^^

2-The bedding block

Once you opened the lid, you’ll see a bunch of parts and the most important of all, the coconut coir bedding block! The bedding block provides the initial food for the worm to settle into the new place. It is nutrient-rich, provides the worm with the right amount of moisture, and at the same time, proper aeration – if the bedding is too wet, the worms will suffocate!

3-Putting parts together

First of all, put all the parts together, you probably would be able to work it out without referring to the manual.

The Fly proof inserts (left side the photo) click into the side of the lid, this is to prevent unwelcome guests entering the worm farm through the handle holes. Fit the tap and nut in the hole found on the bottom tray – this is where the liquid fertiliser comes out – the liquid fertiliser is great for pot plants!

4-Clip the legs onto the bottom tray

Then, fix each of the four legs in place with the clips provided – two clips per leg.

5-Soak the bedding block

Now, take the bedding block out of the tray and rip the brown wrapping apart – be sure to read it first! Soak the bedding block in half a bucket of water, including the wrapping paper – yup the worm will eat through that too!

6-Waiting for the bedding

Leave the bedding block to soak for about 20-30 mins. Remember to check and make sure that there is enough water, add more if it looks too dry.

7-The bedding is ready

When the bedding is ready, it should look and feel like potting mix. In fact you can actually use it as potting mix, but that’s not the point :D The bedding should feel moist but not wet.

8-Line with the cardbord

Before the bedding goes in, line the top tray with the cardboard packaging that came with the worm farm, this is to prevent the bedding material from falling into the layers below initially.

9-Spread the bedding

Next, spread the bedding on top of the cardboard lining. Remember not to compact the bedding, just gently spread it out.

10-Put the worms in

It’s time to let the worms into their new home! Empty the whole bag onto the bedding.

11-Worms close up

Let’s take a closer look at them before they burrow down into the bedding. There are three types of composting worms here, not that I can tell which is which. The point is they are different from the earthworms that you can find in your garden, the earthworms cannot survive in the composting environment!

12-Worm bag can go in too!

The bag in which the worms came in is biodegradable too, so it can go into the farm as well, the worms will eat this in time.

13-Top with a hessian bag

It is advised to put a hessian lining on top to help retain moisture in the worm farm. The worms will eat the hessian material if they run out of food, so it is also a secondary food source for them.

14-Done

Last but not least, replace the lid! You don’t want any cockroaches in there, do you?
And it’s done!

You shouldn’t put any kitchen waste in for about two weeks to let the worms settle down and start eating the bedding material. After two weeks, put a small amount of food scrap in a corner – this makes it easier to observe whether the worms are actually digging into the food waste. Very important not to overfeed them!

I hope this helps anyone who is looking into setting up a worm farm! I will keep you updated on the progress of my worm farm^0^.

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Comments
  • Awesome! Thanks for the information – I’ve been bugging my dad to set up a worm composting farm thing for a while now (or even better yet, I’ll tell him about it and set it up myself haha).

    Just a question, how do you know when you’ve overfed your worms – what happens? How often should you feed them?

    • Jo:

      I’m glad you find the information useful:)
      You really should do it, it’s kinda fun^^ Local councils sell them, but you have to order your worms in advance.

      There really is no rule as to how much or how often you should feed them, the key is to feed small amount regularly! (And observe!)

      However, as I’ve mentioned, you shouldn’t feed them anything for about 2 weeks, they will slowly adapt and start eating the coconut coir (the bedding). After that, you put a very small amount to begin with, if they look like they are eating the food scrap, add a little more every few days to let them adapt to the new food source. You should be able to increase the amount of feeding gradually for 2 reasons:
      1. The worms adapted and eat faster!
      2. The amount of worms double every few months! – until there are no more room for them to reproduce – and when this happens, you can add another tray on top to increase the size of the worm farm

      And to answer your question, if you overfeed them, the food goes off and your worm farm will start to smell (a well functioning worm farm doesn’t stink at all).

      I hope that helps! I wrote so much :p

  • Andi:

    I love worm farming! I used to have one in my classroom and it was a great way to compost the students’ lunch waste – although they did have a habit of wanting to overfeed them! And there is nothing better than worm compost to get garden seedlings off to a good start! Thanks for sharing all the info – I might just have to start “farming” again!

    • Jo:

      You are very welcome^^

      I can finally start feeding my worms this weekend, I’m very excited about it:D I’ll try not to overfeed them hehe

  • BERYL MCCORMACK:

    i have started a worm farm and i think i have overfed my worms as it does smell and i have maggots in with the worms is this alright also do you have to dilute the pee
    thanks BERYL

    • Jo:

      Hi Beryl,

      I tried to email you, but it got bounced back!

      Answering your questions – I think you should take out all the rotten food first, and stop giving them food for like a week to let them settle down, then gradually put food in small amounts. If the food is going rotten that means you’ve put too much, reduce the amount you put in.
      Always keep in mind that less is better than too much, put more as you see the food disappearing.

      Maggots are a not a good sign, take them out as you see them. But if you see white small insects jumping around, those are actually sign of a healthy worm farm.

      Here’s a good website on worm farming:
      http://worm-farming.blogspot.com/

      Hope it helps!

  • kath:

    thanks for your info – a picture tells a thousand words
    off to soak my coir now -my babies are being delivered this afternoon and I will officially become a worm farmer!!

  • Dianna:

    Hi, i have just moved to Maurtitius, and i want to start a worm farm here for the abused poor woman and children, as i had great succuss with organic farming and worm farms in south africa…
    buy here in mauritius i can not find anyone that supplies or has a worm farm… please could anyone help me
    Kindest regards
    Diannna Schaal
    +230 903403
    Mauritius

    • gabby steel:

      Hi Dianna,

      ?I am trying to reach you to talk about worm farming in Mauritius. I live in Black River and we are looking at starting a worm farm here. Would be interesting to talk to you. Your phone number is not correct but you can reach me on 230 5256 6550.

  • Hi, I was given a worm farm box (black 3 levels) so i didn’t have the coconut material to lay down. I bought a box of worms and laid them on the top level over the cardboard carton they came in ( i wet it). is this ok? do I need to put some compost on layer two?

  • David Crone:

    I had a person give me a 2 tray worm farm and had the biggest plants i have grown and a great harvest. but the bottom tray got full of worm compost. So i emptied it out and made it the bottom tray. Put half Kellogs compost on one half and veggie scraps on the other. Covered it all with white paper towels and wet it all. But the worms are not moving up. Any ideas Thanks.

  • Graham:

    I have an existing worm farm same as shown in this article, all my worms drowned last year when rain seeped into the farm via the holes in the top lid. Do you have replacement lids that can let aeration in but keep the rain out? Or can you suggest how I can keep the rain out.

    Note I dont have a satifactory undercover place to locate the worm farm out of the rain.

    Thanks,
    G. Daniell

  • Narelle:

    Hi Jo, that’s great. I hav exactly the same one as you. I’m having few issues though now since change of season. Could you please help me? Very much appreciated. With the rain they got flooded so we tried to fix & dry out as much as could but I lost a lot of bedding, so should I put more in? I’m trying to find the worm safe one on Internet but unsure which one. Now one side going ok but other doesn’t look as well. & I got my worms from a friends farm & would like to put more in, cos I think when they got flooded some drown. Do you have any advice? Thankyou. & how to keep the rain out please, I don’t have very good undercover but good sun protection.
    Please post more pics & info as you progress with your farm. Thanks Jo
    Narelle from Australia

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