Worms: Establishing a worm farm is easy, and a great way to
save kitchen scraps from going into landfill.
In fact, worms can eat anything that was once living -
including cotton fabric, dog hair, vacuum cleaner dust, paper -
etc! It is recommended not to feed worms meat or bread, simply
to prevent flies and prevent the waste from turning rancid.
Composting worms as sold for worm farms are different from
the earthworms you find in your garden. Composting worms
(usually red wrigglers or tiger worms) are more suited to
devouring animal waste and are surface feeders. Their voracious
appetite make them particularly suitable for converting waste
into wonderful worm castings!
Generally, composting worms do not survive if
released into garden beds - unless you can ensure a constant
supply of food (eg. manure or compost). If you don't provide it
they may move on - worms are happy to migrate next door if your
neighbour seems to be providing a better diet!
You can make your own simple worm farm from a polystyrene
vegetable box. Other great recycling ideas include an old
fridge turned on it's back. Or you can make your own timber or
tin construction - whatever floats your boat! Many good
information sources are out there with instructions on how to
do it - assuming you have the time and the space.
Commercial worm farms have been developed as an easy
alternative. Whilst there are several options on the market, we
recommend and sell the 'Worm Cafe'.
The Worm Cafe is a simple tiered system. The bottom
layer is simply for drainage. Worms like to be in a moist
environment (like a wrung out sponge) but will drown if too
wet. The drainage tap should be left open to prevent flooding.
Temporarily running the hose through the worm farm in order to
collect liquid castings is fine - providing the water drains
through and is not allowed to sit.
The next tier is where you introduce the worms. When worms
are purchased, they come in their 'bedding' material. This
usually comprises aged manure and newspaper pulp. This bedding
keeps them protected, moist and provides their food at the same
time. So all this material goes into the worm farm, and the
scraps you provide for food are placed on the top. Worms will
go up to feed, and retreat to their bedding to do whatever else
Eventually, the food scraps are converted to castings and
the tier is full. So then the next tier is added and food
scraps are placed in this. And so on until the next tier is
added. By the time the very last and top tier is full, the
bottom tier will be lovely, aged castings and the worms will
mainly be closer to the top and their food source.
At this stage, you can empty the bottom tier into the garden
to harvest the castings, and this tier goes back on top next
time - so you have a constant cycle going around and
The Worm Cafe does come with comprehensive instructions to
help you get started, but here are some other tips to
- Worms can eat up to their own body weight of waste per
day. Worms are usually sold in 1000's which equates to
0.25kg of worms (and yes, we have counted!!). So 1000 worms
can get through up to 0.25kg of waste per day. Of course
1000 worms will breed up providing they are happy - so the
amount of waste they consume will grow accordingly. In
order to really get off to a flying start, we recommend a
starting number of 2000 worms or 0.5kg, which allows a more
realistic amount of waste to be disposed of.
- Worms don't like light or heat. In summer, it is vital
to ensure the Worm Farm is kept in shade. Check the
moisture content and if it is drying out, add enough water
to ensure castings are moist but not dripping wet.
- Worms don't have teeth. They can only eat the waste
when it decays. Some people feed the worms compost (after
composting the food scraps) to speed up the process.
Otherwise, try to cut scraps into small pieces rather than
huge chunks for the same reason.
- Worms cannot survive in acidic conditions. It is
preferable not to add citrus or onion scraps which are
particularly acidic, or at least only in very small
quantities. Regular addition of dolomite lime (a pinch a
week, sprinkled on top) is a good way to help prevent
- Worm castings (which you use around your garden) will
contain worm eggs. As they hatch - again assuming
conditions are right - they will increase the worm
population in your garden and do all the good things worms
do - increase soil fertility, improve aeration and root
penetration, and making nutrients more available for
- Worm castings are pH neutral, safe to use as a soil
improver for all plants, and make a particulary wonderful
seed raising mix (particulay used 50:50 with cocopeat). If
using as a soil improver, dig the castings into the soil.
Its benefits are lost if it dries out and goes crumbly on
- Worms don't need feeding everyday. They make easy
'pets' to look after. If you are going away, they can
happily survive for several weeks without additional
So have we convinced you of all the
Our Worm Farm Starter Kit contains:-
- A Worm Cafe, 2000 live worms, a bag of activated
cocopeat (for worm bedding) and 1kg of dolomite lime.
Everything you need to get you on the road to success!
sell items separately.
See our FREE "How to Keep Live Worms"
gardening fact sheet or purchase worms online in our online