Facts about Worm Farming
The number of worms per kilo vary from 800 (fish bait size) to 4000 /kg (pit run, i.e. mix of babies and adults).
Worms ingest their own body weight in food every 2 - 3 days or more, depending on the type of food.
Worms will NOT eat weed seeds, plant roots or people, (while they are still alive!).
Worms will eat anything that has lived and died (organic matter).
Common food on the worm's menu
Hints and Tips
- Feed equal amounts of food and shredded paper (newspaper/cardboard)
- Soak, drain, then shred envelopes, newspapers, cardboard and serve neat or mixed with vegie waste
- Vegetable scraps finely chopped or blended in a food processor (add a little water) are quickly consumed. Worms prefer to dine in the dark, so it's best to bury the scraps
- Worms will eat meat; we all become worm food eventually!!
- Old, worn out natural fibre clothing such as cotton T-shirts, woollen jumpers, denim jeans
- Bird seed husks
- Animal manure - dog, rabbit, guinea pig, horse, cow, pig
- Worms do like citrus, onion & garlic, but only in smaller quantities
- Teabags, tissues, vegetable scraps (cooked or raw), dust from the vacuum cleaner, hair out of your brush, dog hair
On really hot days, put your worm farm in a cool shady area, remove the lid, so the hot air can escape. Water down the top cover (carpet) you can place a frozen bottle of water under the carpet. Crack the lid a little, and as the ice melts, the cool water will drip in the farm and keep your worms cool, you can also place a wet toel over the worm farm to keep it cool, make sure your worm farm does not dry out.
If you are going away, you can give your worms some extra food before you leave. Place some shredded paper and/or compost, sheep poo or horse poo in the worm farm. Make sure it is moist first. Do not give them excess food scraps. This will only cause a rotten stinking mess. It is a good idea if you can get someone to water them while you are away. Alternatively, you can tip a bag of sheep or horse poo in a moist or reticulated part of your garden, remove your worms from their home and place them where the manure is.
When you get back from holidays, tip a fresh / new bag of horse or sheep poo in the same spot and within a few days the worms will collect in the new food, you can collect them & return them to their home.
Alternatively ask a friend or neighbour to help maintain the worm farm while you are away.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. My worm farm seems to be infested by a very small red mite like insect. Is there any way to get rid of these without harming the worms?
A. The red mite are not a problem. They will not harm the worms, they will also help to break down the food. Red mites tend to come & go, appearing when particular types of food are used, (like yeast products). If you want to get rid of them, try sprinkling on some dolomite (garden lime).
Q. When I check my worm farm, there are worms on the inside of the lid and trays, are they trying to escape?
A. If there are masses of worms congregated together in the corners or up the sides of the farm, then this could indicate a problem with their bedding. if there is the odd worm here and there, they are probably just having a wander around, especially if the trays and lid are moist from condensation.
Q. I have had my farm operating for a while now, but it seems to be taking a long time to fill up with castings.
A. If you are feeding mostly food scraps, your farm will not produce a lot of solid castings, as most food scraps are 80-90% moisture. Rectify, by feeding bulky types of food to your worms, like shredded paper, manures, compost or straw.
Q. How do I keep ants out of my worm farm?
A. Stand the worm farm legs in containers of water & add a few drops of metho or kerosene. To prevent attracting ants bury food scraps completely in the bedding.
When things go wrong with your worm farm
If your worms die, dont throw it away as there will be worm eggs waiting for conditions to improve.
For a worm farm revival, water the contents of the worm farm, add some shredded paper and a very small amount of food scraps, mix together. Leave it for a month or more for the eggs to hatch out and you will see new signs of life!
Worm Wiz Recipe
Worm Wiz is the liquid at the bottom of the worm farm, dilute the worm wiz with water, (It is a liquid fertilizer) 1 cup of worm wiz to one bucket of water (1:10), use it straight away on plants and vegtables. Dont store the liquid for too long as the bacteria it contains will be less effective.
Worm castings (Worm soil)
After about a year you will get a quantity of worm castings, your food scraps have turned into a nutrient rich worm soil. Mix it into your garden or add a handful of worm castings in a bucket of water to use as fertiliser. If you see worms in the fertilisier strain them off and return them to the worm farm.
The soil added to your garden will contain worm eggs that will hatch out into your garden.
For a printable version click here
Doggy Do Dispenser Worm Farm
Dispensers are very simple to use, as follows:
For a printable version click here
- Place dispenser directly in your garden in a shaded area, i.e. next to a flower bed, by a tree or against the back fence, and push a few centimetres in to the soil.
- Add worms and castings and wet shredded paper.
- Drop in your dog's waste. Cover with carpet or thick paper.
- Add more shredded paper that has been wet once a week (to provide cover for worms to attack waste efficiently).
- Add a little water to dispenser once a week to maintain moist conditions.
- Worms convert waste to fertiliser, for instant take-up by plants.
- Move dispenser and worms (contained in the first few centimetres of soil) to a new patch when dispenser becomes full. Spread remaining castings out under tree and cover with mulch.
- If you have just wormed your dog, keep poo out of the bin for about 3 days. Medication has the same effect on compost worms.
- Don’t be tempted to give worms’ kitchen scraps as well, as they will eat the scraps and leave the poo (as you would!).
- Keep water bucket and tongs next to bin for easy access when disposing of poo.
Doggy Do How To: Disposal Guide
Alternatives for plastic poo bags when walking the dog
How to dispose of Cat litter
- Take an old paper bag that you would normally put in the recycling or waste bin.
- Use a few sheets of newspaper or a small yoghurt container with a lid (especially good for the sloppy ones). Carry home in a designated ‘poo bag’, where it can be dropped in the doggy do worm farm.
If the kitty litter is a gel base it will need to be disposed of in the general waste bin. The alternatives are shredded paper and clay.
Shredded paper and clay can both go into the compost bin or the general waste bin if you don’t compost. The clay variety also has the double benefit of assisting and holding moisture and nutrients when added to your compost.
Please note: Excessive amounts of paper kitty litter in a worm farm will be overwhelming and the clay variety may clog everything up.
If you can bear it, tip the cat poo from the tray into the general waste bin rather than composting, this minimises the risk of transferring the parasite, toxoplasmosis.
Always use gloves when handling kitty litter.