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Build a Worm Tower
A worm tower is a type of in-ground worm farm made from a large piece of plastic piping with holes drilled in the sides. The holes allow worms, worm juice, worm castings, and finished compost to pass easily back and forth between the worm tower and the surrounding soil.
Worm towers can save a substantial amount of time and labor for gardeners. Instead of hauling kitchen scraps, pulled weeds, and other organic wastes to a big compost pile where they may take months to break down, the worm activity and warm, stable temperature within the worm tower act to break down materials quickly. When the compost is finished it gets carried by the worms directly to the surrounding soil. There is no need for the gardener to turn the pile or haul the finished compost from one place to another.
Building a worm tower is easy.
- a PVC pipe about 6 inches in diameter and 18-24 inches in length
- a drill to make holes in the pipe
- about 50 compost worms
- shredded newspaper, aged manure and straw, or other carbon rich organic materials
- a terracotta pot or other lid to place over the top of the pipe
Drill a bunch of small holes about 1/4 to 1/2 inch in diameter in the lower part of the pipe. Bury the pipe in the garden bed you wish to amend, leaving about 6 inches above ground. Fill about one third of the tower with damp, shredded newspaper or other organic materials and add your worms. Add a few more inches of newspaper to bed the worms down, and cover with the pot or other lid. Let the worms settle in for a few days, then start adding handfuls of organic material to the tower.
The amount of organic matter the worms can handle at once will vary a little depending on the season and the temperature. If you consistently produce more organic wastes than your worm tower can handle at one time, add another!