Worms, worms and more worms – the organic gardener’s best friend
Have you ever considered keeping a worm farm? These amazing creatures can help you keep your rubbish minimal by processing a large part of your waste, at the same time as giving you a rich fertiliser to put on your garden.
It’s minimal effort for a load of benefit. You need only four things: worms, a Birdies Worm Tower for them to live in, a shady, protected spot to place their new home, and your everyday vegetable waste from the kitchen. After setting up your worm farm you will be able to feed your veggie gardens year-round with vermicast (or worm castings), which is rich in nutrients and great for your garden, and a healthy liquid fertiliser (politely known as worm tea).
For your worm tower, you will get the best output from redworms (the earthworm you usually find in the soil in your garden prefers to burrow in the soil rather than eat vegetable waste). These worms are smaller than the earthworm, but will produce high quality and quantities of vermicast for your garden. You can buy them from garden centres, off the internet, or you might be gifted a cluster by an experienced worm farmer. Your worms will multiply quickly – in ideal conditions, a single worm can turn into 1500 within a year.
Place some bedding consisting of pre-moistened strips of newspaper, leaf matter, straw if you have it and well-decomposed compost. Place your worms onto the bedding and they will travel back and forth through the feeding holes as they like whilst delivering nutrients direct to the roots.
To feed your worms, put in most of your fruit and vegetable waste, except citrus or onions. Don’t put in salad dressing or vinegar, but do throw in tea bags, coffee grounds and crushed egg shells. Even hair will do the job. Every so often add leaf compost to help oxygen circulation and prevent the environment from becoming anaerobic. The pH levels will stay balanced if you add lime or dolomite every 2 to 3 weeks.
Most of all, enjoy your worms! It’s a treat to see them feeding so eagerly when you throw in your waste, knowing that this waste will be feeding your veggie garden, completing the cycle from garden to table to worm tower and then back into the garden.