Sunday, 19 September 2010

The boys down at the worm farm

Let me introduce the other workers in Missy’s garden – our worms.

We acquired the worm farm from John's brother-in-law, who had bought it but didn’t want it anymore. Not sure what sort of problems he had. We have found the boys so easy to care for. I know worms aren't boys. They are hermaphrodites. But we call them the boys because John is surrounded by females – Ros, Missy and the chickens – so he needs to think he has some male company.
The boys give us vermi-compost - castings, broken down organic matter, bedding, worms, worm cocoons, and other organisms which is intensely rich & loaded with good bacteria that the worms excrete when they digest their food.
They also give us vermi-extract or worm tea – a liquid extract which is one of the easiest methods of re-applying microbial life and micro-nutrients back on to leaf and soil surfaces. It’s an organic soil improver and a nutrient source. When collected it’s almost black and too strong to use on the garden. It needs to be watered down until it looks like weak tea. We use it mainly on the vegetable patch but can also be used on pot plants or anywhere else in the garden. Our veges have been much healthier since we started using it.

They get fed whatever vegetable scraps are handy. They are not a fussy bunch at all. As long as you chop it up, they will dispose of many things that the chickens turn their noses up at and that won’t rot down in the compost bins. I try to provide them with some variety.
- egg shells and avocado skins.
- teabags and coffee filters
- any vegetable and a majority of fruits. (not citrus) from the kitchen or the vege patch
- newspapers, cardboard. Be sure to moisten and tear into small strips
- any cereal or biscuits/cake that has gone stale or past its use-by date.
- mushrooms.
- bananas and the skins
- and, of course, leftovers  - except meat! (unless you want a smelly worm farm and blowflies)
Other things to keep out – Fresh manures. These often have active vermicides in them so if you added these to your worm farm you would end up killing your entire population over night. Also avoid food with a high concentrations of fats, salts, vinegars or food that is heavily spiced.

We cover the food with a damp hessian bag. This helps keep them cool and moist and protects them from insects. They eventually eat the bag.
Apart from feeding them and making sure they don’t dry out, they require little else. We keep them in the greenhouse under a bench to protect them from the heat and heavy rain.
Harvesting the compost with this worm farm’s multi-tray system is simply a matter of feeding them to attract as many as possible to the top layer, then removing the bottom tray.


  1. Hi Missy, That's be surrounded by boys that works hard in the garden. I need them around too. I find that they love the coffee ground, tea dust and cow manure that I have applied on the soil. Some of them have grown into strong men. :)

  2. I adore my worm farm. Since I've had it and the compost bin I've not put out a green bin to be picked up. And it's amazing how much they can go through.

  3. Worm farm is something that I still have to try. I love how you named the worms - Boys. That's very appropriate since we know that boys are always busy changing the form of things. :)

  4. I have this very same worm composter and I LOVE it!!! I'm so glad you did this post. I was thinking about doing one myself, in order to inform more gardening buddies about this method of composting.


  5. I LOVE that you posted this! I have the very same worm compost and LOVE it!!!


I would love to know what you think and appreciate your comments.


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