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How to Start A Compost Worm Farm

People ‘over-produce’ pollution because they are not paying for the costs of dealing with it.

Ha-Joon Chang

I Adore my Compost Worm Farms.

Compost worms are just wonderful creatures, magicians really. They can transform the estimated 180kg of green waste your house makes each year into amazing fertiliser.

So if you are currently buying fertiliser, stop. You don’t need to.

Invest in a worm farm instead! I have three at my house, well on my way to creating a worm empire!

How Compost Worms Can Save the Planet

Globally, our soils, and even our worms are in decline.

About half of the 400kg of waste that our households throw out each year is green waste. If your council is conscientious, then you’ll likely have a green waste bin, with the contents destined for landfill. Which doesn’t seem so bad, right? The carbon-based green waste is buried and returns to the earth from where it came.

Well, no. Not really.

Buried green waste produces landfill gas as it decomposes. A mix of methane and carbon dioxide is produced and leeches from the soil into the atmosphere over the next 20 years or so, which is bad, and a contributor to climate change.

Compost worms can avoid that process by digesting the waste, rather than leaving it for methane-producing anaerobic bacteria to do the job. Plus, you get nutrient-rich worm castings and worm wee as a product, which saves you money and replenishes your soil with beneficial bacteria too.

We can agree, worms can save you money and help save the planet. Win-win! So without further ado, let’s get started!

How to Start a Compost Worm Farm

Location Location!

Have a walk around your property on the lookout for a spot that is shaded and cool, out of the direct sun, but with good access to your kitchen. I have three worm farms on my suburban block!

Choosing your Compost Worm Farm

Worm farms would have to have to be one of the easiest do-it-yourself garden projects! I have seen worm farms made out of old buckets, wheelie bins, even baths and old laundry tubs! Head to your salvage yard or recycling centre to see what you can find.

If you haven’t already downloaded my free Guide to Recycling in Your Garden, do so today! So many great tips on how to re-use, repurpose household waste in your garden!

If you are not already a Subscriber to A Farm of Your Home, sign up now and we’ll send you the access password via email. There’s so much useful stuff in the Resource Library, guides, checklists, templates and exclusive recipes, don’t miss out!

Before you head to the hardware store and buy a spanking new worm farm, check out the classifieds, you can often find established worm farms going for less than what you would spend new, often with worms included!

Prepping Your Compost Worm Farm

I recommend prepping your new worm bin with a layer of reconstituted coir fibre to get your worms comfortable when they move in. It also helps with the balance of the farm. As soon as you add your household waste, you can mix it through the carbon-rich coir fibre which will prevent the farm from spoiling and smelling nasty.

Sourcing Your Compost Worms

You can buy compost worms at your local garden centre or hardware store, expect to pay around $50 for a box of 1000 worms and castings. Frankly, I have found this to be the most expensive, and the least reliable way to source compost worms.

Again, check your local classifieds for a local person who can supply you with live wiggly, wonderful worms. My local classifieds have people selling a bucketful of worms and castings for $20.

Better yet, hit up a friend who has worms to share for free!

Feeding Your Compost Worms

What you can feed worms:

  • Lawn clippings
  • Coffee grounds
  • Household waste, spoiled leftovers, vegetable waste, fruit waste, bread,
  • whole grains
  • Shredded paper and cardboard
  • Dryer fluff, vacuum dust and hair from the hairbrush!

Don’t feed worms

  • Meat
  • Dairy
  • Animal waste (domestic animal poop)
  • Citrus
  • Small chunks

I like to chop or process my worm food finely because the worms eat through it faster. Plus, big chunks of waste can turn foul before they get eaten and make the bin toxic and stinky.

Balance Wet with Dry

If you find your compost worm farm is looking wet, and getting a bit smelly, add some extra reconstituted coir fibre or shredded paper to the bin and mix. If your compost worm farm is looking a bit dry, add more food waste, or simply add water until the mix is damp.

Keep them covered.

If you have a commercially designed worm farm, you will see it comes with a ventilated lid. I cover my worms with an old blanket and ensure they have a well fitting, yet ventilated lid. Worms need to breathe so ventilation is important. You will want to keep them covered to prevent an infestation from other pests, or being eaten by predators. Crows, magpies and kookaburras love compost worms!

Do you have a compost worm farm? How long have you been keeping worms? I would love to hear from you, please leave a comment below!