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 which can be used for top dressing around plants, for feeding indoor plants and for adding to soil. The liquid ‘tea’ produced by worms can be used as a fertiliser and can be diluted and added to pot plants or used on your garden.

Setting up your worm farm

  1. Choose a shady spot. Worms do not like to be hot.
  2. Build or buy your worm farm. Worm farms are usually about 30cm deep, 60cm wide and 90cm long with holes for drainage and a lid or hessian or underfelt cover.
  3. Catch the liquid, ‘worm tea’, in a base or tray underneath. The diluted liquid can be used in your garden.
  4. Make bedding from a combination of finished compost, leaves and wet paper.
  5. Add 1000-2000 worms. Spread gently over the surface and allow worms to burrow down.
  6. Do not feed the worms for a day or two to allow the worms to settle into their new home.
  7. Add kitchen scraps regularly and in small amounts by placing the scraps in the box and covering them with bedding material or a handful of soil or compost.
  8. Only add more food once the worms have finished most of the previous meal.

Worm farm diagram2

Worm food

Worms like to eat fruit and vegetables scraps, teabags and coffee grounds, lawn clippings, fresh leaves, small amounts of bread and cake, shredded newspaper, crushed egg shells. Small pieces are easier to digest so blend your scraps with water before you feed them to your worms.
Worms do not like to eat citrus, onion, garlic, corn cobs, meat or dairy products including cheese, fat and bones, or oily foods.

How to keep a healthy worm farm

  • Moist and well drained - keep your worms moist but not wet. Worms can drown if your worm farm is too wet.
  • Cool – worms like to be cool but not cold – 18oC to 25oC.
  • Covered – worms are sensitive to light so cover your worm farm.

Problem solving

1. Smelly worm farm - Caused from too much food or too much moisture.

  • Solution: Feed your worms slowly and make sure your worm farm is well drained

2. Vinegar flies - These are harmless but may mean too much food.

  • Solution: Reduce the amount you are feeding your worms.

3. Ants – an indication that the bedding is too dry or acidic.

  • Solution: keep a lid on your worm farm, add water and garden lime, and cover your food scraps. If your worm farm sits on legs, place each leg in a bowl of water.