Are you a composter who’s ready to step up your game? If you’re looking to give your garden and the planet even more of a boost, it’s time to start practicing vermiculture, or worm farming.
So what is a worm farm? Worm farms are contained compost spaces where a population of worms feeds on your composted kitchen scraps. The worms improve your compost pile by adding their own waste and creating even more nutrient-rich fertilizer for your garden.
If you’re ready to get wiggling, red worms are a great choice for your vermiculture project. These worms can be easily bought online or at some garden centers and are fantastic fertilizers because they eat about half their body weight in food scraps each day!
Step two is building your farm. You can buy worm farm containers online, but you can also make your own less expensive version that works just as well. To do this, get two rubber or plastic bins (like you would use for storage), one taller and one shorter, and drill holes in the taller one. Next, place non-metal screen material over the holes and nest the taller bin inside the shorter. Then, place damp paper towels and soil into the bin.
To finish it off, add your worms and give them a day to adjust to their new home before introducing food. If you produce a lot of food scraps, you probably don’t want to feed your worms everything that comes out of your kitchen. Create a feeding schedule on a weekly basis where you put a handful of shredded paper and handful of kitchen scraps down on top of the soil. The worms will do the rest!
Good worm food options to start with include vegetables, egg shells, bread scraps, coffee grounds, and used tea bags. Citrus and onions are generally too acidic or tough to break down for worms. As you go, you’ll learn what your worms like to snack on based on what gets left untouched in the soil.
Once your worm farm is in full swing, you can take the rich fertilizer, otherwise known as “black gold,” from your bin and use it to feed your garden. The worm water or “tea” left in the bottom bin when you remove the top one is also a great resource for nourishing your plants. If you’re ready to upgrade your composting and pamper your garden with homegrown organic compost, start a worm farm today!