Worm Care

 

 

Worms like every other living creature has certain needs in which to survive. They are very easy to care for if you just follow basic rules.

    • 1  They need a place to live, your worm farm.
    • 2 They need bedding to move around in and breed.
    • 3 They need moisture as they breathe through their skin and need moisture to do this.
    • 4 Then there is food. Anything that once lived can be fed to worms. (Freeze your veggie scraps first thaw then feed.)

The bedding (What the worms live in) is horse manure. No soil should be added to your farm.  Now and then, just dig over the first 150mm (deep) of the bedding to aerate and to spread the worms more evenly across the surface. This will provide oxygen to the bedding which improves the microbial bacteria count and prevents the worms from clumping into the edges and corners of the farm then lightly water the farm and the cover mat. The water helps to keep everything damp and helps to remove any gases and toxins in the bedding. The damp mat will prevent any eggs that have come to the surface from drying out
Position your farm undercover if possible and out of full sun. Some winter sun is okay. Place the farm with the back slightly raised so any excess liquid drains out of the tap. Leave your tap Open at all times.

Prepare your new worm farm by really rinsing manure before you put it in. Sawdust will indicate urine may be present. Sawdust is used when the animals are stabled thus they urinate in it and this can kill your worms, not worming products.

When you put your worms in their new home for the first time, leave them bunched together. Worms actually stress and going into new bedding ( manure) can be a major cause. Leaving them bunched together on the bottom of the tub or tray in one corner can reduce the stress. Allow the worms to move into the new bedding at their pace.

If overnight they have refused to enter the new bedding flush it well with water. There is a possibility that urine is still in the manure especially if sawdust is present.

 

The Worm Juice that comes out of your farm is really just nutrients that have been flushed from your farm. You need to allow your farm time to build up worm castings so you are not just getting raw manure washed out of the bedding. Allow it to drain into a suitable container and pour it back into the farm and drain again. Once again this assists with the microbial bacteria to flourish thus enhancing the composting within the farm. It is also excellent food for your worms.

Worm Juice can be used as a liquid fertilizer – 10 parts water to 1 part Worm Juice depending on how strong it is when it comes out of your farm. You may find other ratios are more suited to your needs. Just err on the side of caution till you are sure you have it right

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Feeding your worms

To feed your Worm Farm, pull back the cover mat and drop your veggie scraps on top, if you live in a fruit fly area bury any fruit scraps, then replace the mat. You can feed fresh manure, eg. horse ,cow or sheep in small quantities. I think it is best in small clumps over the surface or in strips. This way the worms can consume it before it can get too hot. Manures are an essential part of the worm’s diet and should always be present as bedding and or food. They will still clean up your veggie scraps but will breed up better and be healthier. Once every week if feeding veggie scraps just add a handful of Dolomite OR my Special Worm Grain Mix over the top of the bedding and water in A little bit of management can go a long way ensuring you have a successful worm farm to meet your composting needs

Hint: Freeze your veggie scraps over night then thaw before feeding. Avoid onions, citrus, chili, meat and any acidic foods.

You can put Dog and Cat Poo in your farm. The worms love it. Just dig down into the bedding, put the poo in and cover it up. Then cover your farm as normal with the paper and mat. There is no smell and no flies; this is an environmentally friendly disposal method for animal waste!

You can use a stand alone compost bin for your animal waste. Put some plastic sheeting under the bin to prevent plant roots from growing then once again start with horse manure in your bin. Dampen slightly and add some worms from your worm farm. Then you are ready to go. You will find the compost bin with the dog poo will produce huge numbers of worms.

As the level of bedding goes down just top it up with horse manure or any other sort of manure except chicken manure. You can also use, aged lawn clippings or any organic material. Aged material reduces the risk of the bedding heating up.

My recommendation (based on my experience) is  horse manure but it needs to be well rinsed with water first to remove any urine. Fresh or aged doesn’t matter. I have used fresh horse manure with steam coming off it without any problem. You just need to not put it too thick causing it to heat up

A healthy Worm Farm has a wide range of insect life living within it. These are not pests but an essential part of the composting process.

Removing the worm castings

After 4 to 6 months (or the farm appears to be full of mud), to get castings out of the bottom of your farm there is a simple trick. Remove all the castings from one end and pile it on top of the other end. In the now empty side fill it with horse manure. Leave the farm for a week or two. Then remove all the castings from the other end and fill with manure. You have now replaced all of your bedding and your farm is ready for another 4 to 6 months. Your worms will breed up in all the new manure so you should see lots of small worms in a month or two. 99.9% of your worms will still be in your farm

Very easy and simple to do

The castings you have removed can be put into your gardens or make some worm tea.

 

Removing castings from the Stackable or multi layered worm farm is just as simple.

As your worms are eating out the bedding you need to replace it keeping the farm full. The way to do this is empty each level down into the lower level. Then your top layer should be empty. Just fill the top with  horse manure. What will happen is the worms will eat out all the bedding in the bottom and then move up. Once your bottom layer is full of “Mud “ castings simply remove it and empty out. This then becomes the new top level.

Just a word of extreme caution, that these types of worm farms can become very heavy. If the castings are left to fill the layers, the legs can buckle and cause the farm to topple over.

Happy Composting
Brian Mercer

Please contact me if you have any questions.

 

 

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10 Responses to Worm Care

  • oliver says:

    hi im from philippines, i have lots of quail dungs, could i used it, do i need to sun dried the quail dungs or could i used it right away, cause as of now i have 2k quail laying hens and consuming 100kilos a day of quail laying mask, so probably my quail manure well be also 100kilos so could i used it right away to feed worms or do i need to sun dry it

    • Brian Mercer says:

      Hello Oliver,
      Sorry I am not familiar with Quail Dung. I know chicken manure is too strong to feed straight to worms and needed to be composted before using. You should try some worms in fresh quail dung and try composting some first to see which works best. I would be interested to hear back from you. Sorry I can’t post worms to you..

      Regards
      Brian

      • oliver says:

        I’ll try composting it for 2 weeks, cause some say it well be best to sun dry for weeks, thanks i well keep you posted if it works

        • Brian Mercer says:

          Thanks Oliver,
          Try it with a sample of worms to see if it has a negative effect. I am always keen to learn something new. Good luck and please post again so others can learn.

  • John Cipolla says:

    Hello Brian, I live in Melbourne, Australia, it is winter here, I lifted the lid and lcovered the bed with an hessian cloth, this morning I noticed that the bed was covered in mold, can be dangerous to the worms or it does not matter, what can I do to prevent the formation of these molds?
    In my small farm there are about 600 worms, and I noticed that the waste that I put three days ago are still there, there seems to put a lot of time eat them, what can I do to make them more active?
    Cheers
    Giancarlo

  • Fran says:

    Brian is it ok to water the worms with water out of the tap. Does the Chlorine affect the worms?

    • Brian Mercer says:

      Hello Fran
      This message just appeared today and I think you said you sent it the other day. I just use tap water with no ill effects at all. Just the other I hosed all my tubs in the back shed. I checked them yesterday and they all appreciated the water . It has been dry here on the Coast as you would be aware. You have the stackable farm from memory so you can water it really well and it will drain. Red Wrigglers and African Night Crawlers in my experience prefer to be on the damp side to almost wet.

  • Fran says:

    Thanks for the advice Brian, the worms I purchased off you are doing really well,

    Fran

  • Minky says:

    Hi Brian
    There is what seems like either very small flies or small(baby?) cockroaches in my worm farm. Is there any way to get rid of them or are they actually beneficial to the worms? They definitely are not good for my anti-roach attitude!
    I learn a lot from you site, thanks.
    Minky

    • Brian Mercer says:

      Hello Minky,

      You made me smile with the anti roach attitude. Worm farms should have a variety of wildlife and they are usually attracted by food. You could be over feeding for the number of worms in your farm. Never feed fresh scraps as this will attract bugs. Always freeze the scraps thaw then feed or put them in a plastic bag for a week to rot then feed to the worms. Normally bugs do no harm and I usually don’t worry about them. You can try Diatomaceous Earth (Food Grade. It must be food grade. There is a link on my Home Page to the Plant Doctor if you are in Australia. They will post.
      I am pleased you like the site and I upgrade it as I get smarter well learn new stuff lol regards
      Brian

August 2017
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