Sunday, 08 February 2009
Worm farming is one of the best and simplest way of advocating environmental consciousness through the process of recycling and how to make your own worm farm is just as easy as setting up your garden.
You can start building your own worm farm using old Styrofoam boxes, used tires, wooden crates or similar type of box or crate containers.
You will also need to make sure the worm trays are kept moist -not too wet nor too dry, as long as it is damp and cool. Should it start drying up, just pour in water evenly until the compost bed absorb enough water to stay moist.
Various kinds of worm farm containers are available at hardware stores and garden shops, you may need to check around for fair prices and good buys, should you need to acquire new ones and save yourself the hassle of modifying boxes to make into worm farms.
Worm farms must be kept away from direct contact with the ground to prevent pests getting into the farm and there should also be a drainage tap or water collection area within the container in case it gets too wet, the liquid overflow can also be used a liquid fertilizer.
You must use special composting worms that can be purchased from garden shops and hardware stores, since ordinary earthworms are not ideal types for farming.
The ideal types of composting worms for your worm farms are Indian blues, red wrigglers or Tiger Worms.
You can start of with 1,500-2,000 worms to get your worm farm started.
Composting worms only eat organic matter, thus are good composters, instead of the usual earthworms that you find in the garden, which are earth workers that aerate and burrow the soil and do not make them good composters.
The primary purpose of setting up a worm farm is not to mass produce worms or culture them, but to get the product that the worms produce when fed with organic material similar to that used in a compost pile.
This by-product is called castings and while it's technically worm manure, it is a highly productive fertilizer or add-on for garden soil or potted plants.
The technical term for using worms to process compost and produce castings is 'vermicomposting', and the by-product is called vermicompost or vermicast.
To get high quality castings from worm farm, it is necessary use the proper type of worms.
Getting on all fours and digging the ground to look for worms is not exactly the way to go about it, since there are actually worms that are of the composting types.
These are worms that adapt well to living in a limited area or boxed container and those processing organic waste are the ones used for worm farms.
The wrong type of worm, especially the usual earthworms, tends burrow down deep and are not suited to cramped spaces.
You may want to purchase your worms from an experienced vermicomposting supplier, as you go along, you may be able to identify your local worms and be able to establish whether or not they are good ones for suited to your farm.
An easy structure would be start the farm using a cubic container, be it a Styrofoam box or wooden crate.
You begin by placing a couple of sheets of shredded newspaper or cardboard on the worm tray to serve as bedding, followed by a few handfuls of soil.
Moisten the bedding material lightly with water, and begin add some organic waste for food, and then the worms.
Cover with the top of the container with something that will keep out the light while retaining moisture, using materials such as burlap, shredded box board or newspaper.
As much as possible, try and resist the urge to look at the worms for a couple of weeks, then take off the cover and add some more food.
Continue to do this process as the worms multiply and if the container starts to smell bad, you may be supplying the worms with excess food than they can process.
Be sure not to add any animal products or waste like spoiled meat, milk products or oil-based matter, which can cause the smell or attract pests.
If you notice the bin is about half full, it's a good time to harvest the castings.
There are several of ways to do this.
Some just push everything to one side, being sure to pull out large non-decomposed food and then they add the new bedding, dirt, food to the empty side and wait a couple of weeks for the worms to move over to the new side, leaving the vermicompost behind that can be removed and used in the garden.
So this is how to make your own worm farm and by now you already know how to go about it.