Archive for the ‘Worm Farms’ Category

The worm farm

December 18, 2014

My worm farm used to live on the south side of the house tucked in behind the water tank, where it was never in direct sun.

After a summer’s day some years ago when the temperature went over 40 C, I discovered all the worms had died. Even though they were in shade, the ambient temperature was apparently just too high. So I installed them under the house where the temperature is lower and doesn’t fluctuate so wildly. It was a good move as 40+ temperatures seem to be the norm in summer now.

There are two worm farms under the house now, both the round, plastic, commercial variety :

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I leave the taps permanently open and the worm juice drips into ice-cream containers. The bucket with the sieve on top is to sieve out any drowned worms or other debris. The worm juice is transferred to a 50 litre plastic drum for storage :

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I use it diluted about 50/50, mainly to water seedlings but will occasionally add a jugful to a wicking box.

The worms work in conjunction with the composting toilet. Each month a bin from the toilet (which has already been sitting in the system composting for 6 months), gets emptied into a compost bay down the back, a tray of worm castings plus worms gets tipped on top and the whole lot is covered in mulched bracken and kept moist. Even though the stuff from the composting toilet is unrecognisable by this stage, the worms go through it and produce a beautiful friable compost.

A worm farm is an essential part of an organic food garden.

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My compost system

December 3, 2012

It seems to be working pretty well now (at least there’s some ‘system’ to it), so I thought I’d share.

It consists of three bins formed from steel mesh panels (90 cm x 70 cm), which I bought at Bunnings (for overseas readers that’s our big-box hardware store). They come in sets of four and were about $25 when I bought them. They’re a lot cheaper and easier than making bins out of timber if you don’t have access to second-hand timber. They come with little corkscrews which you wind around, top and bottom to hold the panels together. I’ve put stakes at each corner as well:


There’s also a compost tumbler…..:


…..and a couple of worm farms under the house, where it’s cool and dark. They get all the kitchen scraps.

…..and also under the house, the composting toilet. Information and photos here.

In the first bin I put the stuff from the composting toilet. For a detailed description of how it works go here.

Every 6 weeks or so, a bin of composted material comes out of the toilet and goes into the left-hand bin of the three. To that I add a tray of worms and worm castings from the worm farm and cover the lot with mulched bracken.  The worms love it and by the time they’ve finished with it, it’s nice and friable with no smell or hint of its origins. I let it sit there for another few months until I’m ready to use it. By that time there might be 3 or 4 month’s worth of toilet compost ready to go.

The second compost bin takes the stuff from the compost tumbler. That consists of lawn clippings from a friend’s garden and the chook poo collected every couple of days from under the night roosts in the coop. All that gets tumbled until it’s too full and heavy to turn and then it’s into the second bin, again with a tray of worms from the worm farm.

The third compost bin takes all the rest of the garden greenery—weeds (no seeds) mulched prunings and bracken and…..more worms.

All three bins are kept moist and covered with plastic sheets, to prevent drying out in summer and leaching of nutrients by rain. If it looks like they’re getting too dry in summer, I give them a spray with the hose.

The compost is used to top up wicking tubs and boxes and the wire rings in the food forest where I grow more annual vegies. I can’t get enough of it. If I had more I’d use it under the fruit trees as well. I’d love to be able to make the cubic metre hot compost heap as it’s taught in permaculture, but I simply can’t amass enough materials all at once.

I make liquid fertiliser in 60 litre plastic rubbish bins by soaking weeds, comfrey, yarrow and anything else green until it rots down. There’s also a supply of worm ‘wee’ from the two worm farms and any excess liquid which is run off from the composting toilet. It’s all working pretty well and I don’t think I’ll ever need to buy bags of manure again. In effect, all the nutrients produced by the system are being continuously recycled through the system.

Worms + chooks = bigger eggs

August 29, 2012

More protein means bigger eggs.

And this was discovered by a Year 5 student.

Only problem is…my chooks don’t like worms!

Aaaaaaarrrrgh!

Worm Farms

May 11, 2009

Here’s a very good article on worm farms from the Aussies Living Simply website.