Worm Farm Basics

by Daisy on 04/18/2016

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wormpaper

Why would anyone want to raise worms?

There are tons of worms everywhere already!

Underneath the potted plants on the patio, below that cardboard box you left out on the driveway, every time you stick a shovel or a trowel in the dirt, worms!

You want worms in the earth, right, improving the soil in the garden?

Yes, of course, but sometimes you also want worms in containers, bins, farms, working specifically for certain purposes, such as:

fishing bait

composting your household kitchen waste

making worm castings for fertilizing your plants

making worm tea fertilizer

composting other waste like rabbit droppings

The last reason, to put under the rabbit hutch to compost the rabbit poo, is the reason I started my worm bin.

Here’s how I did it:

I drilled holes in the sides and one in each corner of the bottom of a rubbermaid bin and filled the bottom of the bin with shredded newspaper. Since I’m going to leave mine open at the top to catch droppings, I really didn’t need to drill holes in the sides, but I did it anyway. There might be times when I need to put the top on.

paperinbin

Next, I added a small flake of rotting straw. I broke it up and spread it around over the newspaper.

wormstraw

Thirdly, I put in a shovelful of regular garden soil. This helps get the composting process started and provides needed grit for the worms digestive system.

wormdirt

I sprinkled in enough water to lightly moisten the newspaper. Here’s everything all layered and ready to go.

wormmix

Now comes the fun part. I ordered this bag of worms for about 20 bucks. You can also get them from a bait shop or someone local who sells or provides worms.

bagoworms

When you order from Jim’s, you get to choose the option of picking up your worms at the post office. I decided that since I would be home on delivery day, watching for the mail, it wasn’t necessary. If you think your worms might sit out in a hot or cold mailbox for a prolonged period, you probably want to pick yours up at the P.O.

I heard the mailman and went down to meet him.

“You have a package,” he said.

“Yes,” I said. “It’s worms.”

“Thanks for telling me,” he said, expressionlessly, as he handed me the box.

“Thank you,” I replied, accepting the proffered package.

emptyingworms

Open the bag and dump out the worms. Hold your breath and wait and watch for wiggliness. You want lots of wiggles.

My shipment was very wiggly.

Watch if you like wiggly worms. Don’t watch if you don’t. At first I was annoyed by the sound of the leaf blower next door, but came to embrace it as a worm soundtrack.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=BJSA6CVju-A?rel=0frameborder=0allowfullscreen

Notes:

Regular garden worms don’t like to live in bins like this. They will always go back to the soil. Red wiggler worms, aka Eisenia fetida, are adapted to bin life.

If I wanted to catch worm castings “tea” I will need to put a bin without any holes in it underneath this bin.

Since I keep the bin underneath the rabbit hutch, the top has to remain off so the droppings can fall into the bin. I began with moist contents, and the rabbit urine and drips from the rabbit water keep it moist. It’s also almost completely shaded. I also put in some kitchen compost at the beginning when the droppings were just getting started.

It’s been a couple of weeks and the worms seem very robust. It seems to be working well so far. I’ll let you know how it goes as I get further into this experiment.

 

 



{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Diane April 19, 2016 at 5:34 am

Very interesting! Thank you for sharing. I look forward to hearing the worms progress and how your system is working.

Dennis April 19, 2016 at 6:57 am

My question pertains to the fact that the holes in your bin are quite large. Wouldn’t the worms eventually crawl threw them and escape?
Everything I’ve read on the subject suggested putting a screen over the holes to keep the worms in.

Daisy April 19, 2016 at 7:33 am

Dennis–Those holes are above the level of the contents of the bin. If the contents reach that level, I’ll just remove some of it. Good question.

Kim Whitson April 19, 2016 at 12:00 pm

I would like to worm farm too. Mainly for the composting. I have visited Jim’s website too. So, you don’t have to order one of his worm bins to house them. Interesting. Don’t mind investing $20 but really didn’t want to $50. Thanks for the information. I live in West TN and love to garden. I enjoy your posts and I have your book too. Thanks again for an informative and truthful website. I was close to getting a goat, until I read of your experience. LOL

Daisy April 20, 2016 at 8:47 am

Kim Whitson–Yes, there are many kinds of homemade bins. You can usually use things you already have around the house. It doesn’t have to be as big as mine–I wanted it to be big enough to catch the rabbit droppings.
Ha! Deanna’s back in the saddle with goats again. I think they’ve figured out some sort of way to coexist/configure the backyard so it works. I think the compromise involved giving up gardening in the back. I’m still contemplating getting goats myself for the first time, maybe next year???

MATTIE April 24, 2016 at 2:23 pm

Can’t wait to find out the end results of your follies with worms. I use kiddie pools for composting and the worms hang out all the time in the pool from the holes I put in the bottom.

I also…finally… started cleaning up my yard in prep of gardening. Decided to just buy my plants instead of seeds since I missed the window to grow indoors. I’m going to use 5 gallon buckets, paint them black (if I have any black spray paint), drill holes for drainage and also a big hole on each side of the bucket near the top. Going to run my drip hose thru the holes so all I have to do after work is turn on the hose for an hour. Lets hope I don’t forget to turn it off. Probably should get a timer.

Either way, I right there with ya, thanks for inspiring me to FINALLY do something. I feel good about this. And by cleaning up and exposing actual dirt, those pesky mosquito’s will need to find a new place to breed. Whoo Hoo…no Zika for this girl.

Daisy April 25, 2016 at 3:43 am

Mattie–Proud of you! It’s such a good feeling to get started. I like your drip hose idea. That should work nicely!

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