How To Start A Worm Farm


I’ve had several types of worm bins. The key to getting a good worm farm started is to get the correct type of worms - Red Wigglers, aka compost worms. If you have regular compost pile outside, you will end up with some of these, you can gather them over time, but it is quicker to purchase a “colony” of worms from a garden center or worm farm.

Your worm bin must have drain holes to prevent worms from drowning in the liquid “worm tea” that will collect in the bottom. There are commercially available bins or you can make your own. Check out ideas online, there are plenty out there, as well as the plans to construct them.

Once you obtain or make your worm bin, you will build simple layers of shredded news/waste paper, vegetable matter/scraps from your kitchen compost receptacle and perhaps a layer of straw or peat moss on occasion. Add the worms and let them get ensconced in their new digs. A layer of moist newspaper on the top help keep them worms “happy” - and they will consume it, too.

The trick is to add compost in the correct amounts compared to the worm colony population - the more worms, the faster they will consume the compost. Too much compost can result in an excess of “worm tea” and can get smelly, not to mention create too much heat before the worms get a chance to consume it.

Depending on the size, a thriving worm bin can devour quite a bit of stuff! Non waxy junk mail, coffee grounds, kitchen scraps, rabbit pellets, cotton/natural clothing..... Avoid meats & fatty/greasy foods. These can become quite smelly, attract unwanted critters and take a considerable time to break down.

The worm bin is most active during warmer weather, but, if not freezing, the worms will be feeding all winter. Avoid direct sun on the bin, as this can cook the worms. If the bin is located where it does freeze, the worms will congregate deeper in the bin and become inactive until things thaw out a bit.

A colony will increase in numbers when food is plentiful. Tiny tan egg-sacks can be seen if you observe the bin contents. If you ever open your bin and see a thick mass of worms right on top, check for a blockage - this usually means the bin is not draining and if not fixed, the worms will drown.

Worms are quite fun to “raise”, especially if you’re into composting. Worm castings are especially nice to use in the garden!

Image by Doug Beckers via Flickr

So... what do you think? Please leave me a comment.

One Comment:

  • Vale: Thanks for this great "how to" blog!!

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