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What is worm farming?

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Worm farming is another great way to compost food scraps. Worms are wonderful creatures. They will eat most of your kitchen waste and turn it into a high-quality fertiliser, which can be added to your garden soil and your potted or indoor plants.

How to make your own worm farm-



STEP 1. Get a couple of foam boxes from your green-grocer

STEP 2. Make holes in the bottom of one box to let liquid drain

STEP 3. Place box with the holes over another box without holes and make a tap in the bottom box to let the liquid out
Put an upturned ice-cream container or a brick in the bottom box. This will help any worms that fall through the holes to climb up into the upper box. It will also form an island for the worms so they don't drown. Many people accidently let their worms drown .

STEP 4. Make the bedding
Tear up some leaves, newspaper and card board to make a layer of bedding about the thickness of your hand length in the upper box. Compost can also be used.
Soak the bedding before it is added to the box.

STEP 5. Add the worms
Add about two handfuls of Redworms and/or Tigerworms to the top of your worm farm. You can buy the worms from worm farms (see the Yellow Pages) or your local nursery.

STEP 6. Add food waste
Put your kitchen waste on top of the bedding regularly but in small amounts. Over time, as more worms breed, you will be able to give them more to eat.
Remember:

  • Don't add too much at once.
  • Do not feed worms meat, bones, fatty food or dairy products .
  • Worms don't eat raw potato – but they do eat cooked potato!
  • Worms don't like oranges, grapefruit and lemons, or raw onions or
  • raw garlic.
Some food waste such as fruit, grains and sugary foods form acid. Adding a little wood ash or dolomite or lime every few weeks will prevent the worm farm from becoming too acidic.
Open the lid and wait until the worms burrow under. When you can't see them anymore, apply the lime or wood ash.

STEP 7. Cover the worm bed
Cover the food waste with newspaper or a piece of hessian. This will help keep a constant temperature in the worm farm.
Add water to the box whenever it begins to get dry. It should be the consistency of a lightly squeezed sponge; if it is too wet the worms will die.
The worm farms should be placed in a shady spot in your garden or garage.

STEP 8. Harvest the worm castings
Harvest the worm castings by moving it all to one side of the bin; add fresh bedding to the empty side. Many of the worms will move to the fresh bedding in a few days. The valuable worm castings can then be taken out and used to feed houseplants, add to seedling mixes and potting soils.

Worm farms usually consist of 2-4 trays.
The bottom tray catches the liquid (liquid fertiliser)
The top trays are for the placement of food waste. The worms work their way up through the food turning it into castings (worm poo).

The most common worms for composting are Tiger worms, Red wrigglers, and Indian Blues. Worms are often found in old compost piles, but are different from the earthworms you normally find in the ground. Their scientific names are Eisenia foetida and Lumbricus rubellus. these worms have a big appetite, reproduce quickly, and thrive in confinement. They can eat more than their own weight in food everyday!

Common earthworms and nightcrawlers don't survive well in bins, since || These worms have a big appetite, reproduce quickly, and thrive in confinement. They can eat more than their own weight in food everyday! Common earthworms and nightcrawlers don't survive well in bins, since they normally live under the soil surface. When purchasing red worms, 250 grams or approximately 1000 worms is all you need to get started.

Worms prefer smaller-sized scraps and will eat through them more quickly than large or whole pieces of food... Worms always need a moist environment. Sprinkle water on any dry spots in your bin.

Common problems and solutions
  • "My worm farm smells"
    This can be the result of too much food and not enough air. Stop feeding your worms and give the materials in the worm farm a stir with a garden trowel. Sprinkle some wood ash or garden lime diluted in water onto the worm farm. Don't start feeding again until all visible food scraps have been eaten. Avoid foods such as citrus, onions, garlic, chilli, meat, seafood and dairy products. Also avoid large amounts of bread, pasta and rice.
  • "My worms aren't eating"
    Worms will avoid eating certain foods, such as citrus fruits, onions, garlic and chillis which are too acidic (however these foods can be put into your compost bin/heap). Don't overfeed your worms - only put more food in once they have partly eaten their previous meal - and keep their diet as diverse as possible. Worms don't like eating too much of one thing, just like humans don't! It may also help to chop food scraps into smaller pieces. Check that the worm farm is moist enough - spray some water in it if it's dry.
  • "My worm farm has unwelcome pests"
    Make sure the bedding and food in the worm farm is covered with a hessian sack or old carpet to prevent flies and pests getting in. Ants and cockroaches can become a problem if the worm farm is too acidic. Add water and lime to moisten the worm farm and neutralise the acidity. To get rid of maggots put a piece of bread soaked in milk in the feeding tray. Leave it there for a couple of days and dispose of it, maggots and all. Avoid feeding your worms meat, seafood, dairy and fatty foods which will go off and attract pests.
  • "My worm farm is too wet"
    Make sure there is sufficient drainage for your worm farm and that it is under cover if outside. Worms can't swim so make sure that any liquid is able to drain away. Add shredded newspaper or cardboard do absorb some of the moister and mix this into the bedding material.

Feeding the worms-


Start by adding food scraps regularly in small amounts. Put the food into the worm farm underneath the carpet or hessian and cover it with a small amount of bedding material.
Be careful to not overfeed your worms. Only feed them once they have partly eaten their previous meal or the food may go off or attract pests. The secret is not too much of any one thing - worms like a varied diet just like people do! Worms also don't have teeth, so if you chop or mash your food scraps it will be eaten quicker.
Worms will eat:

Green Tick of Approval
Green Tick of Approval
most fruits and vegetables (except citrus fruits, onion, garlic and chilli)
Green Tick of Approval
Green Tick of Approval
tea bags/tea leaves
Green Tick of Approval
Green Tick of Approval
coffee grounds and filters
Green Tick of Approval
Green Tick of Approval
egg shells
Green Tick of Approval
Green Tick of Approval
newspaper, cardboard, egg cartons and pizza boxes (shredded and soaked)
Green Tick of Approval
Green Tick of Approval
hair
Green Tick of Approval
Green Tick of Approval
old flowers and small amounts of garden waste

Worms don't like (ie. avoid feeding these to your worms):

Red Cross of disapproval
Red Cross of disapproval
onions, garlic, citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, limes, mandarins) and chillis - worms breathe through their skin and these are too acidic for them
Red Cross of disapproval
Red Cross of disapproval
meat
Red Cross of disapproval
Red Cross of disapproval
seafood
Red Cross of disapproval
Red Cross of disapproval
dairy products (milk, cheese)
Red Cross of disapproval
Red Cross of disapproval
oil
Red Cross of disapproval
Red Cross of disapproval
too much bread, pasta and rice
Red Cross of disapproval
Red Cross of disapproval
pet droppings



Bibliography-


//http://www.canterbury.nsw.gov.au/www/html/243-worm-farms//

tp:www.environment.nsw.gov.au/downtoearth/worm.htm//

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