Stackable Worm Farms

During my time at the Markets it has become clear to me that 7 out of 10 people have a problem with Stackable Worm Farms. The worms either didn’t thrive, or just died out. Some people however seem to have no trouble and their worms flourished.

As I hadn’t used this type of farm at first I could offer no explanation.

I obtained a second hand round stackable farm and began to study it. First thing I discovered was the instructions that come supplied with your farm are written in such a way that you will most probably fail and kill all your worms. They must be written by people who don’t breed worms and have no idea at all. The solution is to soak the instructions in water and feed them to the worms.

First and most important.

Fill the entire farm with bedding except your collection tray of course. Worms need variations in temperature and you won’t get that with one coir block in one tray. Your worms can quickly over heat as they have nowhere to retreat to if there is no or little bedding.

Second most important.

Ensure there are no gaps between the layers. As the worms eat the bedding, you need to check that bedding under each layer is touching the layer above. The worms won’t move up otherwise and can starve eventually.

Third most important.

Keep it all damp.

Lastly:  “Don’t over feed”.

Only feed as much as they can eat in a few days. Feed again only after the other food is gone

The ventilation was also a concern. When you have very small holes in the lid there is no air flow over the surface and ventilation from underneath doesn’t happen in Nature. Worms actually aerate their bedding from the top by themselves.

The farms mostly being black and with such small holes at the top the farm could overheat if left in the sun, thus killing the worms. The answer is to throw away the lid and use newspaper and old carpet as a cover – this will allow the farm to breathe. The small holes are to keep nasties out of the farm, however with good management there are no nasties. There will be many small creatures that assist in the breaking down of the composting material, which allows the worms to finish the job.

The idea behind the trays is to allow easy access to the castings. I was told it will take 18 months before I’d need to remove it. By 18 months you either have a dead worm farm, or a very heavy farm of mud. Damp castings are very heavy and the legs on the farms could easily break under the stress.

I am not suggesting not using these types of farms but they are expensive so you should beware of the pitfalls using them.

If you’re looking for worms, woodies, or even just some friendly advice, don’t put it off – please contact me here or give me a call on 0423 380 482.



2 Responses to Stackable Worm Farms

  • dave goode says:

    hi, I was looking to build a DYI warm farm. Do you have any designs or can point me in the right direction to the best and easiest you have seen.
    I live in north qld, where the heat and humidity is high, can worms survive up here, ok?



    • Brian Mercer says:

      Hello Dave,
      Thanks for the email. As I suggested on the phone just keep it simple. Use recycle tubs and with your stackable farms fill them to the top with manure. You will find the difference in a month or two will be quite dramatic compared to the 6 months or so you have had them running now. As I mentioned the instructions that come with those farms are written to set you up for failure. Remember too that those coir blocks can be full of salt so you need to rinse them several times. I believe the coir can be acidic too so use dolomite. Just sprinkle a handful every few weeks. Horse manure is pH neutral but I still ad dolomite when I feed.
      Red Wrigglers and African Night Crawlers are well suited to your tropical climate up there too.
      Good luck with the community garden

February 2018
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