Earth worms are natures most efficient way of breaking down organic waste and given the right conditions, they can do this much faster and more completely than by conventional composting without worms.
Compost worms are worms that are particularly good at processing waste from your garden and kitchen because they have veracious appetites and breed quickly.
Composting with worms can be done in a specially designed worm farm, in a compost bin or in a compost heap or pit provided conditions can be controlled. The main conditions for successfully composting with worms are moisture, air, temperature, darkness and feed mix (in that order of priority).
For best results
- Keep dark and retain moisture by covering with old carpet, felt or hessian
- Keep evenly moist – you should be able to just squeeze a water drop out of a handful of feed
- Feed should ideally be chopped up (1cm max) Avoid “vitamising” to liquid.
- Choose a shady position to keep temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C
- feed a mixture of ‘greens’ and ‘browns’ (2:1 by volume)
- greens are fruit, vegetables and grass
- browns are leaves, bark, sawdust, cardboard and paper. It is most important to cut or tear these into small pieces just as for greens.
- if your system allows, gently turn the top 10cm with a fork every 1 or 2 weeks
How may worms do you need?
It is recommended for a small home worm farm that you start with 0.25Kgm, which is about 1200 – 1500 worms of mixed size. The population should double in about 3 months if properly managed. In a small worm farm you may end up with about 6000 worms.
- Over feed: Worms can eat no more than their own body weight in a day. So if you have .25Kgm of worms for start they can only eat .25Kgm of feed per day.
- feed droppings from any animal that has been “wormed” in the last 30 days.
- ‘feed citrus or onion waste if your system is small”
- Eltham Worms (source of the information in this article)