Obtaining and Using a Wormery

You know what a worm is, right? Those squiggly little things that crawl around in the dirt? You pick them up to scare your little sister with? Well, a wormery is a nursery for worms, a place to grow the little buggers!

But why would you want to grow worms, you ask? Because not only are they a great way to compost your food scraps and help the environment, they also make outstanding fertilizer for your garden. You can grow your own vegetables, save yourself money, and know where your fresh food is coming and eat it right after it was picked! And all for practically no money at all.

A worm in need of a wormery.
A worm in need of a wormery.

How a Wormery Works

Worms are amazing creatures. These tiny eating machines can digest half of their own body weight every day. This means that about ten pounds of kitchen scraps can be turned into approximately one pound in an established wormery in a very short time. Worms are prolific breeders as well, and can produce two young worms every week.

What this all means is that, in the proper conditions, worms make for great composting of much of your kitchen waste, including fruit and vegetable scraps, dinner leftovers, coffee grounds and filters, eggshells, and tea bags. The worms in your wormery process all of these things and turn it into a potent fertilizer. This composting of table scraps can significantly reduce the household trash that goes to the landfill.  A whopping 30 percent of all trash in a landfill is kitchen waste, so adding a wormery to your backyard is a great investment into a cleaner, healthier environment.

And what you get out of the wormery is just as good for the environment. Instead of paying good money for chemical fertilizers that can end up in the water table and polluting the environment, your wormery provides easy to use, natural fertilizer. This worm fertilizer comes out of the wormery as a vitamin rich liquid, perfect for stimulating the growth of flowers, vegetables, and fruits.

Setting Up a Wormery

There are two ways to go in setting up a wormery: you can build one yourself or you can buy a manufactured wormery. To make your own wormery, you will need a plastic box about 2 by 3 by 1 foot high. Into the bottom of this box you will place a layer of newspaper for the worms to begin their bedding in. Then, in go the worms, and on top of them go the kitchen scraps. The liquid fertilizer will collect in the bottom of the box.

Of course, you may be asking, where do I get the worms? Well, the easiest way to obtain the best kind of worms for a wormery, the red worm, is, believe it or not, through mail order. You can have your worms shipped to you in a matter of days. Of course, if you are industrious, you might dig up your own worms. Getting enough worms to seed the wormery sufficiently might take a bit of digging though.

The other option is to buy a wormery. In addition to being an easy way to set up your wormery, one of the great advantages to buying one is that they come equipped with a spigot at the bottom through which you drain the fertilizer. This is a very handy feature and increases the ease of use tremendously.

A wormery that shows the worms beneath the soil.
A wormery that shows the worms beneath the soil.

Some Ready Made Wormeries

There are a variety of wormeries you can buy and have shipped to your home. Here are just a few of the models that are available.

The Wormswrangler Worm Farm Bin by Gusanito is a perfect place to start for the begging worm farmer. The wormery has four separate trays in which the worms live and eat, each of which is easily pulled out to remove worm castings without disturbing the worms. It is also fixed with a spigot for easy siphoning of the nutrient rich worm juice. The wormery is odor free so it can be used indoors in the basement, garage, or kitchen pantry, but is also well ventilated and weather resistant for use in the backyard or garden. This wormery is perfect for children, who are naturally curios about worms.

Another good wormery is the Can-Of-Worms Composter. This wormery has three worm trays that can hold up to 20,000 worms. The whole unit is made from 100 percent recycled plastic for additional benefit to the environment. The wormery rests on four sturdy legs and can be used in the backyard or indoors for convenience.

Wormeries, Good for the Garden, Good for the Planet

Whether you are a do it yourself type and make your own wormery or would rather purchase one of the quality made units available on the market, you’ll feel good about doing your part for the environment. You’ll also feel great about how well your garden does as it is enriched by your home made worm fertilizer. Wormeries are also fun, for both you and the kids!

Have you ever composted before?

  • I've never had the room for a wormery!
  • I'm not sure how to do one - doing my research!
  • I'm interested, but a little grossed out at the same time.
  • I'm interested, but haven't taken the leap, yet!
  • I'm just starting one - bought the worms and everything!
  • I've had one going for some time now!
  • Other (comment below!)
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Comments 1 comment

Max 21 months ago

Coffee grounds are a low-level sorcue of nitrogen, having a fertilizer value of around 2.0-0.3-0.2, as well as a minor sorcue of calcium and magnesium. Post-brewed coffee grounds are reported to be slightly to highly acidic, depending on the sorcue, but no more so than peat moss. So, one could apply them to the soil for acid-loving plants, such as rhododendrons, azaleas and blueberries, etc. Or, you could spread them out over a larger garden area to minimize the pH effect. It's difficult to make a specific recommendation for an application rate, but it's always better to err on the lighter side, since the pH can be variable. A rate of 10 pounds (dry weight) per 1000 square feet would be conservative.TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION, MORE SPECIFICALLY:Composting is also an excellent method to recycle the grounds, which have a carbon-to-nitrogen ratio of around 20:1. Use the grounds as you would green, leafy material, mixing with some dry, brown plant materials in the compost. The Environmental Protection Agency suggests adding no more than 25 percent volume coffee grounds. WORM COMPOSTERS report that coffee grounds are an excellent food sorcue for the little critters. Again, be sure to MIX THE GROUNDS with brown materials (like soggy leaves), even in the worm bin.

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