Kevin Smith, The Worm Shed
Using a worm farm is an efficient way to reduce household waste and produce nutrient-rich fertiliser for the garden.
A wide variety of recycled items can be used to create a worm farm, such as polystyrene boxes, wooden boxes, concrete tubs, steel troughs, or bathtubs. As far as DIY worm farms go, my personal favourite are recycled fridges. They tick all the boxes, are very easy to convert into a worm farm, and most importantly, prevent more landfill.
An important consideration when making your own worm farm is surface area. Worms like to live in the top 5-10 cms and don’t like to be crowded. A fridge turned on its back becomes an ideal worm home— not too deep, lots of surface area.
Fridges, being made of insulated material, can provide better protection in the warmer weather. However, you will still need to ensure your worm farm is set up in the shadiest, coolest location. When choosing a spot, be mindful of the angle of the sun with the changing seasons.
A vital feature of any worm farm is efficient drainage to prevent the bedding from becoming too soggy and anaerobic. A simple drainage system can be created using gravel stones, blue metal, or lengths of ag pipe in the base, and then overlaying with a piece of shade cloth or geofabric. By far the most important factor to ensure a successful worm farm are the worms themselves.
There is an overwhelming amount of misinformation online that states you need 1000 worms to start a worm farm. We’d love to know who came up with this magical number!
1000 worms may sound like a lot, but consider this: under ideal conditions, worms process about one-third of their body weight in waste per day. 1000 pit run worms could potentially weigh about 250 grams, therefore only processing approximately 1/3 of a cup of waste per day.
So how many worms is the right amount to start with? Weigh a typical day’s worth of your waste and multiply that amount by three. This will tell you the weight in worms required to process your waste efficiently each day, e.g. 500 g of waste = 1.5 kg of worms.
The worms we breed are Red Tigers, as these are most suited to WA conditions. They are a very versatile species which can be used in worm farms, compost heaps, manure piles, doggy do bins, ATUs, and even in gardens rich in organic matter.
The ultimate benefit is gained by utilising worms in a worm farm and reaping the rewards — worm castings (worm poo). More than a fertiliser, the castings are packed full of beneficial microbes which improve the soil by increasing soil biology. A well-established and efficiently working worm farm will also be producing premium quality liquid plant tonic. You’ll never need to buy fertiliser again!
To get a copy of our fridge conversion instructions, or any details about our worms, worm farms, castings or WormWiz, drop us a line at The Worm Shed, 9571 8003 or visit www.wormshed.com.au.