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Top tips to make a wiggly worm farm

Cleaning up poo is probably a pert owner’s least favourite job – unless said pet is a worm. As we all know, worm poo (or castings) is not only a good source of nutrients for the garden but a great way to get rid of food scraps. Worms are wonderful pets too – they’re quiet as a mouse (or worm), don’t need to be bathed or walked and feeding time is fun for all the family!

 

How to get started

You can buy warm farms (and worms) online or from garden centres. When you get your worms they will need to be placed into their new home as soon as you get them or, like with any other pet, they will get dehydrated and hungry.

Worms normally come in their own pre-prepared bedding, to mimic the topsoil of their natural habitat, this also helps with the transition into their new home. However you will also need additional bedding to give the worms a good base from which to start.

  1. Ensure that the bottom collection tray is completely closed, then add at least 30cm of bedding material. This can be in the form of garden compost, soil, coconut fibre, dead leaves, shredded paper or a combination of any of these. The bedding should be moist but should not let out more than a few drops of water if you squeeze some in your hand.
  2. Add at least 500g of worms to the worm farm. Remember worms eat their own weight in food each day, so the more worms you start with, the more food you can instantly compost.
  3. Add some food scraps to cover the worms, not more than 2.5cm deep. Remember worms like things dark and damp, so if you put a damp layer of newspaper over the top of the food scraps it will encourage the worms to stay near the top and start eating.

 

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Things to include

  • Fruit and veg peelings
  • Waste fruit and veg
  • Plate scrapings
  • Mouldy food from the fridge (e.g. baked beans, salsa dips
  • Bread
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Small amounts of chicken droppings
  • Cake
  • Cereal
  • Small amounts of citrus
  • Small amounts of cooked egg

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Things to avoid

  1. Twigs and sticks (worms can’t digest them)
  2. Grass (As it quickly turns to mush and goes black and stinky before the worms have a chance to munch on it)
  3. Raw meat, fish and dairy (These will go rancid before the worms have a chance to eat them)
  4. Dog and cat poo (It stinks and can carry diseases)
  5. Pickled foods (Pickling preserves foods so they won’t rot very easily. They may effect the pH levels of your bin making it an unpleasant environment for your worms)
  6. Overfeeding (If you give your worms too many scraps, they will be struggle to keep up. This could slow down the composting process, resulting in yucky bin contents and the possibility flies laying eggs in there)

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Phyllis Stylianou

Phyllis Stylianou is a journalist with 35 years’ experience as a reporter, sub-editor and editor. Writing is the great love of her life (after her family) – as is renovating old homes and building new ones (which she’s embarking on again!) So writing about everything to do with building, renovating and gardening is her passion.

The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Homeloans Ltd.