Worm farms redux
June 2010
Draining worm tea from a worm farm

The ‘green tips’ post about worm farming that I added last October is one of the most popular that I have added to this blog. More than half a year on, I wanted to write some expanded thoughts about worm farms.

  • When I wrote the original post last October, I hadn’t had to remove any solid waste from the system. In the meantime, I have removed one tray worth of worm castings. My technique was basically to upend the tray and pick out the worms before using the soil as potting mix. This took some time, but I’m fascinated by the whole experience, so wasn’t too bothered. I’m still very impressed how many kilograms of waste have been processed by those worms!
  • It did highlight the fact that worm farms may not be for ‘clean freaks’ who don’t like getting their hands dirty. While you can go for months on end without getting your hands dirty, eventually you will need to roll up the sleeves and get into the muck. (Or get a friend to help you out!) This should be something that people consider when placing the worm farm, as there is potential for mess to be made during certain parts of the process. Beware when deciding to place indoors or on a balcony.
  • One thing that I didn’t mention last time is that you need to watch the amount of citrus and onion peels that you put into the worm farm. These are acidic foods that affect the pH of the worm farm environment. Of course, you could always balance our the acidic influence with a handful of dolomite lime every now and then, but I haven’t gone down that path yet. Crushed up eggshells are another source of this calcium carbonate.
  • Occasionally worms will move from the bottom feeding tray to the liquid collector tray and are unable to return back to the surface. A good tip is to put a brick or upturned ice cream container inside this collector tray, so that the worms can easily climb out again.
  • Stuart's worm farm with brick in bottom tray

  • Some great composting websites have sprung up since I wrote my blog post last year. One is by Reln, Australia’s largest worm farm/compost bin manufacturer, who have rebranded their products as ‘Tumbleweed‘. Available are plenty of details about their products, instruction manuals, as well as an ‘expert advice‘ section and comprehensive information about where to buy worm farms. Really good to see that all of their products are manufactured with 100% recycled plastic.
  • For those more interested in learning about the worms themselves, check out Kookaburra Worm Farms, which is based in Gin Gin, Queensland. Really good to learn about the different species of worms they breed, as well as innovative ideas such as their ‘garden bed worm farm‘.
  • Finally, in homage to Napoleon Dynamite, I have taken to referring to the worms as my ‘underground allies’!