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  • Caryn Zinn

Worm Farms - the what, why and how

Getting Started Begin by choosing a shady spot sheltered from the sun (a carport or covered porch is ideal). Place down a layer of bedding- make sure it is damp and porous (hay, coconut fibre, shredded cardboard or paper are great). Now you can introduce your worms to their new home (use at least 250 g of worms). Worms can eat their weight in food- so don’t overfeed them. They need are but not sunlight because they are photophobic. Cover your wriggly new friends with some food scraps and then place newspaper or cardboard over the top to shelter them from the light.

What to Feed Your Worms Worms can eat ‘browns’ (70%) and ‘greens’ (30%). For more information about these visit our page on composting bins by clicking here. Worms don’t like spicy foods, chilli, onion, garlic, meat and milk products, bread and pasta, cooked or processed foods, citrus or acidic foods, or oils and liquids like soup. Don’t put these in your worm farm. Growing Your Worm Population

To grow your little family of worms and produce more compost for your garden take the following steps. 1. Regularly add food scraps (ideally every 1 - 2 days). 2. Cut up the food before feeding your worms (each piece should be no bigger than a golf ball). 3. Start small. In the first six months slowly increase the amount you feed your worms. 4. As you slowly increase the food the population of worms will increase to match.

Harvesting Castings: worms feed from the top down so harvest your castings from below. The castings are ready when it looks like a dark fine compost and you can see only a few worms. Spread the castings around your garden beds and watch your garden bloom. You can also liquify the castings by adding one-part casting to ten parts water and stirring well. Worm tea: let the liquid in your worm farm drain freely. If your farm has a tap- leave it open. Dilute your worm tea so that it is the colour of weak black tea (about 1:10) and apply it to the roots of plants every 2-4 weeks as a nutritious fertiliser.

SIX Common Worm Farming Problems

Rotting food: you are probably feeding your worms too much for the population size. Feed them less.

Flies or small white bugs around the farm: your worm farm is too acidic. Cover the food waste with damp paper and add lime to your farm to increase the pH.

Worms climbing up the side worms that are fat and pale: your worm farm is too wet. You should check that the bottom of your farm is not full of worm tea. You can also add paper products and dry leaves and gently fork holes in the working layer to reduce moisture.

Ants: your worm farm is probably too dry or acidic. Add water or lime to your worm farm. If your farm is on legs, then place each leg in water to stop pests from getting in.

Food not eaten: you are probably feeding your worms too much, the wrong types of foods, or big pieces. Add less food, break food into smaller chunks and avoid adding bread, citrus, or onion skins.

No worm tea: there is likely too little water in your worm farm. Remedy this by simply adding more water.

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