Wiggly worms at home! Why not?
Starting a worm farm requires little more than a wide, shallow container or an outdoor compost pile, some leaves or shredded paper, and a pound or two of earthworms, preferably Red Wigglers and European Nightcrawlers. Add a little know-how and some regular care, and you’re on your way to experiencing the benefits of worm farming. Once established, these small burrowing animals, known as annelids, will eat half their body weight daily and can provide environmentally-friendly recycling, as well as nutrient-rich, organic compost.
“Recycling waste is the main goal and benefit of a worm farm,” says Tom Huffman, who uses a worm farm to recycle organic waste for his landscaping business, Greener Image. “You take what you used to throw away—whether from the kitchen or the yard—then feed it to the worms. In return you receive worm castings, or worm poop. Worms speed up composting and [create] nice, dark, rich earthworm castings that can be used as organic fertilizer.”
While setting up and maintaining a worm farm can be relatively simple and inexpensive, these small crawly creatures do need consistent care. Tom explains that worm farms should be kept moist but not too wet and that worms need a temperate climate, from forty to ninety degrees Fahrenheit. They also like the dark, so a covering with holes for ventilation works well. They will eat everything from shredded paper to decomposed kitchen waste but cannot have meat, dairy, and excess citrus.
“Moisture level and feeding are the most important factors,” says Tom. “Worms will eat most things, but you don’t want to give them too much at one time. When adding food, you can create little pockets in different areas to keep one area from becoming saturated. Some fruits and vegetables contain a lot of moisture, so it’s good to add some shredded newspaper if the bedding starts looking too wet.”
Worm castings, also known as worm humus or worm manure, are rich in organic nutrients and make wonderful compost for plants. “One of the most interesting things about worm farming,” Tom says, “is watching these little worms turn all this waste into such a nice finished product. You can use all the refuse from your garden to feed the worms, and then use the worm castings to feed your plants. A worm farm also gives you a nice steady supply of worms for fishing, too.”
Texas Worm Farm