I was stunned by my children’s excitement when I told them we were going to get the worm farm going again. They are exposed to garden activities on a regular basis so they don’t always appreciate them, but the worm farm… whoa! Stop the press! This is a great idea!
Worm farms truly give bang for their buck in my humble opinion. You put in some kitchen scraps and make sure it stays damp. You get liquid fertiliser regularly and castings every few months depending on the number of worms. Well worth the effort, especially since all that fertiliser is safe for Australian natives which can be a bit picky!
Here’s how I set it up using my existing worm farm structure which I bought from Mitre 10. You can easily create one from repurposing junk but my partner wanted something “tidy” so this was my compromise since most of my gardening activities are decidedly untidy.
My worm farm has three levels. The bottom level is for catching the liquid fertiliser. The other two levels can be rotated when you want to collect the castings.
I left the second and third levels empty. The top level is the working level right now. I added old egg shells that I have kept for a while, making sure that some were crushed into a fine grit. Apparently worms love egg shells. I added an old coconut fibre liner from a hanging plant as well as the old Hessian covering from the dog bed. I then poured a bucket of water over it all to partly fill the lower layer. That way, even if we have a hot day the farm will stay humid. I try not to completely empty the worm farm because the closed farm benefits from humidity.
The next step was to add the worms which I bought from a hardware store. They recommend at least 1000 but I was happy to get 500 in a “booster” box. In the past they have multiplied quickly. I just have to limit feeding them so the scraps don’t rot. I also added some wet newspaper to help keep it moist and add a food source that won’t rot.
For now I am limiting their diet to carrot peelings and lettuce leaves. Until the numbers increase there’s no point putting more in.
Almost a week later, the worms are thriving in a shady spot and feeding the worms with carrot peelings is a reward for the children! I can’t wait to start harvesting the wonderful fertiliser for my garden!