Worms like every other living creature have 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 until you are sure you have it right.
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) it’s time to get the castings out of your farm – and there’s a simple trick.
Remove all the castings from one end and pile on top of the other end and then fill the now-empty side 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.
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.
Please contact me if you have any questions.