By having a worm farm, you can reduce the amount of organic waste that is sent to landfill. Worms provide a wonderful service to us by turning leftover food into nutrient rich castings and liquid “tea.” These can then be used in your garden as fertiliser, on indoor plants as food or as a soil improver.

What you can add to your worm farm

 Green Waste Brown Waste 
 Fruit and vegetable scrap

Grass Clippings

Human and animal hair

Crushed eggshells

Nut shells

Coffee Grounds

Tea Bags

Dried leaves, twigs and sticks



Paper shopping bags


Sawdust and wood shavings

Corn cobs

For a healthy worm farm, a ratio of 1:1 for green waste and brown waste is generally recommended. However, in some cases, a higher amount of brown waste is needed to ensure that the worm farm does not get too wet.

What you can't add to your worm farm

Meat and seafood scraps

Dairy products


Plants sprayed with pesticides

Citrus products (oranges, lemons and limes)


Chilli and garlic

Oily or fatty scarps


Setting up a worm farm

    1. Choose a well-shaded, cool spot. Worms do not like to be hot.
    2. Build or buy your own worm farm. You can purchase kits from your local gardening or hardware store or see how to build your own below.
    3. Lay damp cardboard or newspaper over the drainage holes of your farm. This will prevent your worms from falling into the worm tea collection layer.
    4. Place the bedding material over the cardboard or newspaper. Do not pack the bedding down, it needs to be loose so the worms can burrow down. You can see how to make your own bedding below.
    5. Add your worms. 1000–2000 worms are a great start. Spread them gently over the bedding.
    6. Place your top layer over the worms and bedding. This can be a hessian bag, thick cardboard or a newspaper. Replace this layer when it becomes damp. You may also want to place a lid over the whole farm to retain moisture and keep insects out.
    7. Allow the worms to settle for a day or two before feeding them a small amount. A handful of scraps will do.
    8. Once your worms have fully settled for about a week, check the farm. If the bedding feels hot, move the farm to somewhere cooler. If the bedding is too wet, add more brown waste. If the bedding is too dry, add water.




Make your own worm farm

A worm farm is usually about 30cm deep, 60cm wide and 90cm long. However, depending on your household or supplies, you can make your worm farm any size.


    • 2 x stackable containers with a lid. Think polystyrene foam fruit boxes or plastic storage containers; if they are solid and can be stacked on top of one another, they will work.
    • A drill or tool to make holes
    • 4 x wooden blocks or bricks


    1. Take one of your containers. Make holes in the bottom, making sure they are evenly spread and about an inch or two fingers apart.
    2. Take your container that has holes, your top layer, and place it on your second container, your collection tray. The holes made in the top layer will allow water and worm tea to drain into our collection tray. This will make sure our worms do not drown.
    3. Use your four wooden blocks or bricks as a base for the farm. Place them on the ground with your containers on top. This will increase airflow and make sure the farm does not get too hot.
    4. Place the lid on the top layer. Your worm farm is complete! All you need now is bedding and worms.


You may wish to drill a hole in the side of the collection tray and install a piece of hose or a tap. This can make it easier to collect the worm tea. As this can be a bit complicated, many choose to simply remove the top layer and pour from the collection tray directly.


Make your own bedding

Worm bedding comes in many shapes and sizes.

The bedding that can be purchased is often made from coconut fibre. However, the following materials can be used to make your own.

Brown Cardboard

Paper (not office paper)

Newspaper (not coloured)

Dry Leaves

Coco Coir

Peat Moss

Straw and Hay

Wood Chips

If you have an existing compost, you can also use some of it.

Please note that you will need a mixture of at least three of the above to make suitable bedding.

Once you have your materials, cut them as small as possible and mix them together while adding water. When squeezed in your hand, your bedding should produce 1 or 2 drops of water and have the feel of a wrung-out sponge.

The more variety of materials you use, the better quality your bedding will be. However, be careful not to add anything that may harm your worms. Ink, chemicals, pesticides, salts and acidity can kill your worms.


How to feed your worms

Once your worms have had their week to settle in, you can begin to regularly feed them. How often and how much you can feed them will depend on the size of your farm and how efficient your worms are.

How to prepare worm food

All waste added to a worm farm should be cut or shredded into small pieces before being added. If adding cardboard or paper, soak it in water before adding it.

Worms will only eat small pieces and cannot handle whole chunks. By cutting it up, you are making it easier for the worms and reducing the risk of rotting food.

How to add your worm food

In the bedding of the worm farm, gently make a small hole, place your scraps inside and cover with the bedding. Do not press the bedding or food down. The worms need the scraps to be covered to be able to eat without drying out and if the bedding is compacted, they will not be able to reach the food.

How often and how much can I feed my worm farm?

How much waste your farm can handle can take some figuring out. Some people prefer to save their scraps and feed their farm once a week. Others prefer to add a small amount every day.

A worm can eat half its weight each day. This means if you have 1,000 worms, they can eat between 250 and 500g per day.

To ensure you do not overfeed your worms and cause rot or flies, feed your worms a small amount and do not add more until they have finished eating. Once you know how long it takes them to eat that amount, you can figure out how much you need to feed them daily or weekly.


Excess Green waste

If your household produces more organic waste then what your worm farm can handle, you may be interested in our optional green waste service. For further information visit your green waste bin.


How to keep your worms healthy

  • Make sure your farm is moist but not damp.
    • If your bedding is too wet, your worms can drown. When squeezed in your hand, your bedding should produce 1 or 2 drops of water and have the feel of a wrung-out sponge.
  • Make sure your farm is at the right temperature.
    • Worms like to be cool but not cold. Unlike normal composting, your farm should never feel hot. Worms like temperatures between 18 °C and 25 °C.
  • Make sure your farm is covered.
    • Worms are sensitive to light, so make sure your farm is covered and in the shade.