Want to get some nice juicy worms going to really boost your garden along but don’t want to break the budget in doing so, I’m going to show you an easy way to start your very own worm farm without having to spend your weeks wages, and it’s dead simple!!!
For years I wanted my very own worm farm but couldn’t justify spending a huge amount on a house for something that naturally lives in the ground (if only I realised how priceless these worms actually are I just might have got started a lot sooner). It was only after moving into a rental property that came with its own worm farm did I realise they really are just an overpriced gimmick. I mean sure they look great in your garden and they work pretty well but you can use just about anything you have lying around and it will do the exact same job but at a much lower cost (leaving you more money to buy an abundance of worms).
You really can use just about anything. I’ve used a couple of polystyrene boxes from a few deliveries we got (your local fruit and veg store might have a few lying around they don’t want if you don’t have any) but I’ve seen all sorts of things used, one of my favourite I’ve seen is a few old fridges on their backs, plumbed together to make a chain of farms, and the insulated fridges kept them at an ideal temperature year round. Just use your imagination and see what you’ve got that become a worm hotel….
Worms are gross, they are slimy and wriggly and look like snakes, why the hell do I want them in my garden??? These slimy, wriggly snake like creatures are actually worth more than gold to the serious gardener. If you are an avid gardener and you don’t have worms….what you even doing????
The benefits of worms are enormous but why not just keep them in the garden out of sight like they are meant to be? Having your own worm farm means you can not only have worms in your garden but breed them in a controlled environment to add to your garden at a later stage or simply just expand your farms and start making your own natural fertilisers and compost.
Having a worm farm means you are recycling household waste into a great fertiliser, and you are reducing the amount of space needed at your local landfill. When your household greens are broken down in your worm farm no greenhouse gasses are released into the atmosphere. This means that if you have a worm farm you are helping to stop global warming!
Your worm farm will create an excellent liquid fertiliser which your garden will love, worm castings and worm tea are the best fertilisers for your garden, they are 100% natural, and your plants will love a good feed from these.
To top it off a worm farm teaches children how to care for the environment and is a great project for the little ones. Get your children or grandchildren to build this simple worm farm and watch their gardening passions grow.
What’s The Best Worms For Your Garden
Did you know there is actually thousands of species of worms, ranging from the gigantic Gippsland earthworm that can grow up to several metres in length (eww) to the tiniest eelworms that can only been seen with microscope with a magnification power of 300 000:1.
The most common worm though is the earthworm. (Did you know that without the earthworms it is very likely that there would be no life on earth today as we know it hence why they have been described as ‘the living gut of this planet’). The common garden worm is NOT the worm you will want for your worm farms though so don’t go digging them up, leave them in your garden to do what they do best.
The most used worms for worm farms are introduced species such as the common tiger worm, Eisenia fetida, or the red worm, Lumbricus rubellus. These worms are more gregarious than native worms, tolerate disturbances better, and generally breed to higher populations. Personally I ordered a bag of worms that had a combination of
1. Tigers – Eisenia Fetida
2. Reds – Eisenia Andrei
3. Blues – Perionyx Excavatus/Spenceralia sp.
4. Gardeners Friend or Cod Worms – Amynthus Sp.
5. European Night Crawlers or Catchall Crawlers – Eisenia Hortensis or Dendrobaena Veneta
This is the first time I have ordered this particular combination so we will see how it goes. You may find difficulty in finding the Gardeners Friend Worms and Night Crawlers as so far I have only found one worm farm that includes these in their mix.
Worm Tea-Don’t Drink It!!!
Worm tea is ultimately the end result of steeping worm castings or vermicompost in water. Worm tea is known mostly for its ability to boost microbiological activity in soil by adding bacteria, fungi, actinomycetes, and protozoa to the soil, it’s not the latest trend in home brew tea so don’t go offering it to your Nan LOL.
Things you will need to make worm tea:
- Porous bag (old t-shirt, panty hose, cheese clothe, etc)
- dechlorinated water such as: rainwater, pond, or distilled water
- bucket ( 20lt bucket is perfect)
- Worm Castings
First you will want to add your worm castings to the porous bag of your choosing and tie the end of the bag. Place the bag of castings in your container of water and let it steep overnight. In the morning the water should be light brown and that water is your worm tea! After the bag of castings is ‘spent’, you can add it to a potted plant or to your garden because it has finished its tea making job.
You can get higher-quality worm tea by adding a sugary liquid and an aquarium bubbler
Now that you have your worm tea brewed you’re ready to use it. If you have a large garden worm compost tea can be diluted with water to cover more area. You simply take 50% water to 50% worm tea. I suggest putting your worm tea in a watering can, however, a sprayer or spray bottle works well too. Just be sure to strain the worm tea before adding it to a spray bottle. Now simply water your houseplants, outdoor potted or hanging plants, and you garden. Cover a whole plant with worm compost tea including the leaves. Many people believe that the beneficial microbes in worm tea help protect plants from diseases.
And that is it, it really is that simple! Now you know how easy it is to make worm tea. It is just one of many great benefits to having your own little worm farm. Your plants will especially thank you!
Building Your Budget Worm Farm
To make your budget worm farm you will need:
- polystyrene boxes (also known as vegetable boxes)
- sharp object to poke holes in the boxes
- shredded paper and cardboard
- peat moss (optional)
- aged manure (optional)
- newspaper or hessian sack
- a cup of compost scraps (the smaller the better)
- fly screen and glue if you would like to install windows in your farms
- tap and or hose for drainage
First poke some holes in the bottom of 1 of your boxes. Next I like to create a bit of ventilation in my worm farms to make sure my worms don’t overheat (if I don’t provide adequate conditions for the worms they will escape). To do this I cut a square out of two sides of the box and glue some fly screen over the holes from the inside of the box. This creates a nice airflow through your worm farm.
I layer the box with shredded newspaper (pre soaked), cardboard and peat moss filling it to the 3/4 mark. This is the top box where we will place the worms later.
Take the second box and add some kind of drainage in the bottom, you can make this as simple or elaborate as you like. I cut a portion of the bottom of the box out (being careful not to go right through the bottom) and poked my hose/tap through the side of the box so it sits flush in the hole in the bottom, I had cut the top part of my hose so it acted as a channel for my worm wee. Once the house was in place I put some fly screen over it and glued it down (the fly screen stops the worm casting from getting into the hose and blocking it up).
Note: check your drainage works by running some water through it.
This is the bottom box and will sit underneath the top box. Make sure this box is elevated somewhere in a shady position and place the first box on top. You are now ready for your worms
Tip your bag of compost worms into your top box, water slightly with a fine mist, add your kitchen scraps and cover with a damp hessian sack, newspaper, clothes or something similar (if you’re using an old fridge this step won’t matter too much). Put your lid on it if your box has one, poke a few air holes and that’s it. You now have your very own worm farm.
My worms finally arrived yesterday and I swear I’ve never been more excited….ok ok it wasn’t just the worms that got me all excited. I got a few deliveries for my garden so I was pretty happy to see the delivery truck rolling up in my driveway. My neighbours probably watched me standing there-grin ear to ear wondering what was in those boxes. My daughter said I looked like a little kid in a lolly shop.
I’ve had my worm farm going for a while now but it just wasn’t producing enough to keep up with my gardening habits. I’ve read somewhere that you should have at least 1000 worms per family member and I was well off those numbers, so I jumped on the net and ordered myself a bag of 1000 worms and as a bonus I got a container of worm bombs too which is the equivalent of another 1000 worms when the eggs hatch.
If you wanted to get more serious about your worm farm you can start breeding your own worms and expanding your farms. I’ll post more on this in another article at a later date.
If you have made your own worm farm why not share it in the comments below, I would love to see them 🙂
If you are just starting out why not check this out => => => =>=>=>=>=>=>=>=>
It’s full of lots of useful information that will get you started with your worms