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Worms! Your Friends in the Garden

Worms farms are the ultimate backyard hobby for eco warriors, chicken parents and home gardeners alike.

If you’ve ever thought about starting a worm farm, then know it is one of the best ecofriendly hobbies that you can do. It’s all about recycling and repurposing, with one of the greatest recyclers that there is… the humble earthworm.

Earthworms are a vital part of our ecosystem, they breakdown food scraps into a smaller substance called vermicastings, better known as worm castings or worm poo. These castings contain millions of beneficial bacteria, as well as all the valuable vitamins and minerals that are contained in the food source you provide your worms. This in turn creates an all-natural nutrient dense fertiliser and tonic perfect for enriching your garden soil.

At Capalaba Produce we recommend using worm castings by Worms Downunder.  To start your worm farm at home.

Worm castings are perfect to use for:

  • Rejuvenating tired potting mix and soil.
  • Use as a liquid fertiliser, to enrich the soil of all your plants.
  • When planting seedlings; mix some castings into the soil, to give an instant nutritional boost.

Benefits of Worm Castings:

  • Aerates the soil
  • Plants will grow faster
  • Retains water
  • Completely organic
  • Won’t burn your plants
  • Improves soil health
  • Increases plant yield
  • Improves pest resistance

What you need to start a worm farm:

You can buy premade worm farm kits, that already have everything you need, or you can easily create your own. All you need are the following items to get started.

  • 2 plastic tubs, (1 with lid, 1 without) (worms prefer darkness, so make sure tubs are opaque)
  • A drill
  • Vinyl screening, shade cloth or mesh
  • Bedding – Shredded paper, peat moss, coconut coir, straw, dried leaves.
  • Food scraps

What to do:

  1. First, you want to drill some holes into the base of one of the tubs, for drainage. Then place/stack this tub inside of the other. You want there to be a gap on the inside between the two tubs, this area will then act as a sump (where the worm castings liquid will drain out). If there isn’t a natural gap between the two, use a brick or something similar, to prop the top tub up.
  2. Then lay the vinyl screening along the base. To act as a barrier, so only liquid can pass through the drilled holes, nothing else.
  3. Time to fill up the tub and make the bedding. Use shredded paper, dried leaves, coconut coir, peat moss and straw.
  4. Water will help activate the composting nature of the bedding and worms prefer moist environments. The bedding should always have the same level of moisture as a wrung-out sponge. After the first initial soak, moisture levels should be monitored carefully, and not allowed to dry out in between. Although be careful not to overwater either, as this won’t allow for composting. A light watering every few days should be enough to maintain the appropriate moisture levels.
  5. Add some table scraps, so your worms have plenty of food to feast on.
    Your worms will enjoy, vegetables, fruits (mango & watermelons are a favourite), food scraps, animal manures (horse, cow & sheep), coffee grounds, eggshells (crushed into powder), tea bags, and bread.
  6. Add your composting worms. There are many to pick from; but the most common is the red wrigglers, aka tiger worms.
    They will bury themselves and get busy doing what they do best. They eat half of their own body weight in food daily, so consider this, when it comes to feeding.
    You want to make sure they have enough to eat, but not excessive amounts that the food spoils and rots (which can lead to other issues).
  7. It will take some time before the worms have produced enough castings, for you to use.
    Once they have, you can remove the top tub, and empty your sump of the collected worm casting liquid. Place it in your watering can and use as a liquid fertiliser, this can be repeated every few weeks. The worm castings compost will take longer, but once ready will be perfect for adding into your soil and around the base of your plants.

Foods to avoid giving your worms:

Citrus, Meats, Dairy products, Spicy foods, Cooking oils, Salty food

So as you can see, there is much to be gained from starting your very own worm farm. Not only will you feel better for being environmentally friendly, but you will also be helping your garden to thrive.

That’s all from us, happy gardening from Nicholas and the team at Capalaba Produce!

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