I have worms. In fact the whole family has. Nope I am not ashamed to tell you, in fact I am going to encourage you to get them too!
Last year we set up a couple of raised beds so the boys could garden. They really got into it, and it led to a whole heap of learning, life cycles, nutrition, and soil management. Soil management brought up worms. What boy doesn’t love worms? Ok, I do have one who is “Grossed Out” by worms, but the others find them interesting.
We looked at getting a Worm Factory, one that stands independently of your garden. You feed your worms, then periodically gather the worm castings, poop, which you can spread on your garden as fertiliser. Most worm farms also have a tap to collect the liquid fertiliser, worm pee. We wanted the benefits of the worms without the work of collecting and redistributing the castings. So we decided on a worm farm that goes directly on your garden or on the bed where you want the worms. We got a Worm Tower last year, which has been working fantastically. It is buried 400mm into the soil leaving 100mm exposed. It has 180 access holes for the compost worms to enter and exit tower, and deposit their castings into the surrounding bed. We got regular composting worms, wrigglers, to go in it. We feed the worms kitchen scraps a couple of times a week. They come into the tower to eat, then go out into the bed to poop and wee, fertilising and aerating as they go.
When we think of Earth Worms we are usually thinking about Red Wrigglers and Night Crawlers. If you have a composting worm bin you might have ‘wriggler’ worms. These little guys hate sunlight, and frantically wriggle when exposed to it. They generally live on the surface of the garden, under neat bushes, debris and don’t burrow into the soil. They live in groups to regulate their body temperature. They are the perfect compost bin worm as the are easy to keep contained. The other type of composting worms, Night Crawlers, are much larger in size and are not disturbed by light. These guys burrow through the soil improving the soils water holing ability by producing binding agents responsible for the formation of water-stable macro-aggregates. They are not so good for a regular worm bin as they will go exploring out, and you will find them all over the place, but they are great for a large raised bed where they have plenty of room.
This year we wanted to get some larger composting worms and a second worm farm for another bed, so we got a worm farm that is a bucket, but with holes drilled in the bottom for the worms to come in and out.
We also got 4000 mixed worms, including some lovely big Night Crawlers.
We put the worm farm directly on the garden bed.
Home sweet home!
We feed the worms with kitchen scraps. We limit meat as it attracts flies, and you will end up with maggots. Egg shells are particularly good for the worms, they add calcium carbonate to the worms diet and help keep the PH balance right. I run all our kitchen scraps through the food blender before I feed the worms. They have teeny tiny mouths and eat a lot more if it is pureed, and breed faster too. A few strips of paper help maintain the right moisture level.
The boys love hunting for the big worms, we often have measuring competitions. Who can find the longest worm, and the winning worms get moved to a luxury condo, a flower-pot or plant.
I decided to throw a handful of worms into the compost bin, to see what happens! Titan eagerly helped the worms move.
No matter what I do around the house or garden, he is right there by my side. Mans best friend is right. Even when I use the facilities he waits outside the door!
Do you have a worm farm, or are you grossed out by worms like IrishDoom?