Worms DON'T like:

  • Meat and dairy products
  • Pineapple: contains an enzyme that can kill worms
  • Fats and Oils
  • Salted or pickled food
  • Spoiled canned food
  • Fresh grass or weed clippings
  • Raw or hardwood sawdust

Worms will eat a BIT of (if mixed in well with other foods)

  • Citrus fruits (too much = too acidic)
  • Onion, garlic, chilli (they don't really like anything that is too hot or that stings)

Worms DO like:

  • Vegetable scraps
  • Fruit (but not too much as it increases the acidity of the worm farm)
  • CRUSHED egg shells
  • Newspaper and cardboard (not shiny, and shred and soak first)
  • Hair and nail clippings
  • Cotton Rags
  • Cereals
  • Tea bags & coffee grounds
  • Grains (ground up first, not too much as grain attracts rodents)
  • Mouldy bread (not too much as attracts rodents)

Worms like their food in small pieces, so cut it up before you feed them. Blending food with a bit of water is also a great way to feed them (they appreciate any help in breaking the size down).

DO NOT OVERFEED THE WORMS. Feeding them twice a week is sufficient. The food from their previous meal should be well on its way to being consumed/composted before you add the next meal. It's helpful to keep a plastic bin for worm food in or near the kitchen, rather then packing food scraps on the farm each day. They will just pile up and start to smell.

How much you feed them depends on how much they seem to be eating. If you feed them a lot one day, they might take longer to eat it before the next meal. If you feed them less, then you can feed them again sooner. Observe and learn. You and the worms will work out what works best.

WHENEVER YOU FEED THE WORMS ADD A BIT OF SHREDDED, SOAKED NEWSPAPER! This really helps keep the worm farm balanced and functioning.

KEEP SOME OLD CARDBOARD OR HESSIAN ON TOP OF THE WORMS on the top level, DAMP IN SUMMER TO HELP KEEP THE FARM COOL AND MOIST. This keeps it dark and keeps the worms from climbing to the top.

Worm tea is a regular happening. Make the most of it. Remind whoever is on plant watering duty to add some tea to the watering can. You want to dilute it to the colour of weak tea.

There are 2 functioning levels to the worm farm at FoAM. Have a look. Open it up. Understand how it works.

The top level is where you feed the worms. This will gradually get bigger as more food is added. Underneath the new food, the old food will slowly start to break down.

The lower level is the composting level. The castings on this level will reach a point where they are clearly decomposed. There might be some food scraps still visible like egg shells or potato peel, but this is fine. The castings are actually more beneficial to plants at this stage, as there are more active microbes still doing their work.

When the castings are ready, switch the lower level to the top level. You will need to take out the wooden pieces and put them inside the new lower layer. The old top layer now becomes the composting layer, and the old composting layer is ready for harvest!

How do you know when it's ready again? The new lower level will probably take about 2-3 weeks to finish breaking down. Keep an eye on it. In that time the new top food level will fill up again. It's a combination of needing to switch the top level to the bottom because it's full, or the bottom level being ready to harvest. There are no rules, just a system of switching when you need to.

How to harvest castings

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  • how_the_worm_farm_works.txt
  • Last modified: 2012-11-06 17:56
  • by imogen