A wormery is a great way to make good use of waste garden material, cardboard, paper, and even most kitchen waste. As described by Aristotle, "worms are the intestines of the earth", breaking down rotting organic matter and tuning into nutrient rich compost (humus). This is not only a beneficial waste management system but also perfect organic fertiliser for your garden. To start your wormery you will need:
To Build Your Wormery
An old cloth
Some old wire
Pallet or slabs
To Fill Your Wormery
Firstly, position you bathtub on top of your pallet or slabs. This is to raise it from the floor, allowing you to fit the bucket underneath the plug to collect your liquid fertiliser. Next, slightly raise the end furthest from the plug hole to allow and encourage liquid to flow towards the hole into your bucket.
Next, fold the wire around your old cloth. The cloth will stop any worms or large debris falling into your fertiliser container whilst allowing liquid to pass through. The wire gives the cloth some extra stability and allows room for liquid to flow around the cloth and also prevents it's clogging up the plughole. Placing your wire and cloth over the hole, then lay a brick on top to keep it in place.
Easy as that! Now, to fill the bath with our composting material.
To begin creating a worthy home for your worms, use a mixture of garden waste, cardboard, paper and most importantly cow or horse manure, as worms thrive in the nitrogen rich manure which will give them the best start in their new home. Avoid using food waste for the first week to allow the worms to settle into their new home. For our mix we have used some rotted horse manure, waste cardboard and old leaves left by the trees in autumn. We spread the leaves and manure in layers a few inches thick while adding strips or cardboard sporadically throughout. Bare in mind, worms can process sticks and twigs but will take much longer to break down so the smaller and softer the material the better.
Once the bathtub has been filled with organic material, give it all a good soak with the hose firstly to check that the liquid runs freely into your bucket, but more importantly, worms like a damp environment to live in, preferably from rainwater. Make sure during summer months the wormery remains damp but not sodden. Next we add our worms on top.
We brought our worms online from worm city (link to website below), as it saves time on finding and collecting them from the veg plot. However any that are found on the land can be added to the worm sanctuary where they can thrive and reproduce along with the others or, from a more Zen perspective, leave the ones found on the land where they are. Once placed on top, the worms will bury their way down to avoid the sunlight (which they hate), head for the nutrients and move towards a warmer environment.
To finish, cover with cardboard and weigh down with some bricks, or we have use a couple of old tyres to firstly, keep in any moisture in secondly to keep insulated.
This will help keep your wormery warmer in winter and cooler in summer, but also may help to stop rodents from trying to get at your worms food scraps when added.
After a week, you can start adding some food scraps
to your wormery. The worms will then begin to resurface in search for their new treats. Bare In mind that although worm will process most forms of food waste, The following foods should be given in very small amounts Meat, Garlic, Onions, Citrus Fruits, Cheese.
Worms Dislike: Bones, Dairy Products, Oil, Soaps, Grass Cuttings, Insecticides, And Chicken Manure.
We hope that this encourages a few of you to create your own wormery, along with the benefits mentioned, it is also both exciting and education for children. We have used a both for a larger volume but the same process can be used on a smaller scale. Enjoy creating your own wormery and if not, we hope you have learnt something. We will provide an update of progress later this year but look forward to reaping the benefits.
Why are worms important?
Compost Worm Farming