Keeping a Worm Farm; Why And How?
Vermicomposting, what’s that? Vermicomposting is a fancy name for worm-fuelled composting, otherwise known as… a worm farm! That’s right—nature’s wriggliest helpers are more than just bird food; they’re good for the garden, too. So, keep reading to discover the benefits of vermicomposting, and how to create your own worm farm.
Why start a worm farm? First off, you’ll be saving a heap of food scraps from entering landfill. Also, a worm farm produces worm wee, which is an amazing natural fertiliser for your garden! So, a worm farm = good for the garden, and good for the planet!
THE RIGHT CONDITIONS
There are a heap of DIY worm farm tutorials online that recommend using household items like plastic containers, left-over Styrofoam, or buckets, so head online and choose one that suits you. Or, a store-bought farm is fine if you’re a little time-poor.
With your vessel secured, you’ll need some bedding material. Shredded newspaper works a treat if you’re taking the DIY route. Hydrate your chosen bedding enough that it’s moist to the touch, but not dripping, and layer it in your farm. Now, here comes the fun part—add your worms!
Weirdly enough, you’ll have to buy your worms. Garden variety earthworms are not suitable for vermicomposting. So, head online or pop down to your local hardware store or nursery and pick up a box. There’s no special trick to adding your worms, just lump them on top of your bedding, and cover them with a piece of hessian. Just remember to keep your farm at a mild temperature, and away from direct sunlight. And avoid leaving your farm exposed to frosts.
Also, don’t add food scraps right away, let your worms get settled for a day or two. Speaking of food…
THE RIGHT FOOD
I can chuck all of my kitchen scraps into my worm farm, right? I guess you could… but it’s definitely best that you don’t. If you overload your worm farm, the food will rot before your worms have a chance to break it down, so take it easy. In terms of the type of foods you add, there are a couple of rules.
Don’t add anything too acidic (like citrus fruits and peels), to avoid upsetting the all-important pH balance of your farm. Also avoid adding meat, bones, dairy, onions, garlic, and processed foods. These can either attract unwanted pests to your farm, or harm your worms. Either way, it’s not worth the risk. So, what should you add? Fresh fruit and veggie scraps are by far the best food scraps for your worms.
Now, with a little TLC, and the right conditions, you’ll have a fertiliser factory and a planet-safe way of disposing of food scraps, it’s a win-win. Happy vermicomposting!