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How To Set Up A Home Worm Farm

Updated on September 7, 2011
A commercial worm farm.
A commercial worm farm. | Source

A worm farm is a great way to convert your household scraps into fertile soil that can be used in your garden, or around your home. Instead of throwing away organic waste, you can transform it into a thoroughly useful commodity and use it to grow more food for yourself. Worm farms are a simple way to be more in tune with the food cycle.

How To Set Up A Worm Farm

A worm farm is very simple to set up. You need:

  • A decent sized bin ( a trash can sized receptacle or barrel is a pretty good idea, or if you're looking for a more apartment sized solution, a plastic crate will also do.)
  • Some soil and newspaper to start your worms off in a good home, and
  • Some worms.

Create the worm farm by layering newspaper and a few handfuls of soil sprinkled lightly with water. A covering layer of dry leaves helps too.

Worm Farm Tips

  • Make sure that your farm is kept moist and dark. Worms do not like overly drenched soil, nor dry soil and they especially do not like light.
  • Make sure that your worm farm has access to oxygen. Worms need to breathe, so the lid to your worm farm should be kept slightly ajar.

What Worms Are Best For A Worm Farm?

Red worms are the best kinds of worms for a worm farm, they are voracious eaters and breeders and are much more efficient at turning scraps into dirt. You can buy red worms online.

What Can I Feed My Worm Farm Worms?

Allow me to answer this question with two bullet pointed lists designed for brevity and quick reference.

YES:

  • Vegetable scraps.
  • Bread.
  • Cereals.
  • Egg shells.
  • Small amounts of cardboard packaging. (Yes, worms really can digest small amounts of cardboard. Packaging that has been used for fatty foods is suitable, like pizza boxes or chip cartons. Your worms will eat them up along with the rest of the scraps.)
  • Tea bags.
  • Coffee grounds.

NO:

  • Dairy (Dairy stinks after a small amount of time and will make your worm farm smell rancid.)
  • Meat (Meat isn't a natural part of the earthworm diet and meat tossed in a worm bin is likely to rot and breed flies before it is consumed by the worms.)
  • Citrus (Worms don't care for citrus much. It offends their wormy taste-buds and very possibly imparts a chemical burn.)

How To Keep Your Worm Farm Clean

It's important not to overfeed your worm farm, especially at the beginning when you don't have a lot of worms. Red worms are very fast breeders and you'll see their eggs as little white cylinders. Later on when you have enough worms and you don't want them to breed anymore, you can remove these from your farm to keep the worm population down.

When the bedding starts to break down to the point that it is no longer recognizable as bedding, it's time to harvest the dirt. Like most animals, worms do not do well living in their own waste. Separate the worms from the harvested dirt and place them in fresh bedding to start the process again.

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