5 easy steps

Compost Worm

1) Select the right worms

It's very important that you select compost worms. These worms live in the top 6 inches or so of soil. They are different to your regular earthworm that you find in the garden. The garden varieties tend to be deeper burrowing creatures and so will not like the home usually designed for compost worms.

Worm House

2) Give them a good home

You can purchase commercial worm farms, such as can-o-worms, or even make your own.
If making your own, choose which type of home you want them to live in, whether it be plastic bins, wooden trays, or even a worm bed or windrow in the garden. Plastic bins and wooden trays need ventilation so you will need to drill some holes so the worms get enought oxygen.

Worm Bed

3) Give them a good bed

The bed you give them will be carbon based material, such as cardboard (they love it), shredded newspaper, dry leaves, even coconut fibers.  If all you have is brown cardboard, they wont complain.   In fact if you hide food scraps in their bedding you will avoid other problems such as fly infestation.

Worm Food

4) Feed em up

What to feed them

Your worms will enjoy a mixed diet

  • vegetable scraps & peelings
  • food scraps
  • Tea bags, coffee grinds
  • Well-crushed egg shells
  • Strongly flavored foods such as onion, garlic, citrus, vinegar or salted foods should be added sparingly. Also avoid excessive bread, fat and dairy products
  • Avoid Meat (this can smell when rotting and attract vermin!), Oil, fats or bones, Dairy (cheese, milk, yoghurt can also attract vermin), Glossy magazines
  • Worms actually eat the bacteria that form on the outside of decomposing organic matter. The smaller pieces, the greater the surface area on which the worms can feed.
  • All skins and stems need to be softened by microbial decay before worms can digest them. Chopping and shredding food into smaller pieces speeds up the conversion process

How often

  • Don't add too much food at once, unconsumed food may start to heat up your farm and cause it to stink
  • For every bucketful of scraps added, sprinkle a handful of rock powder to help prevent their environment becoming too acidic
  • Unlike many pets, worms don't demand to be fed on schedule. They can be fed once a day, every two or three days, or once a week. You can go on vacation for a month without worrying about them. Just give them enough food before you leave and place plenty of shredded newspaper, cardboard or paperboard on top of the food
Compost Worm

5) Reap the harvest from your happy workmates

Worm castings. Yes just look at that beautiful soil improver that the worms are moving through in those photographs above, left & right. The best natural compost your going to find. Just ask your worms to move out, you can do that by putting it in a pile exposed to some light, your friends will head deeper into the darkness and you can scrape off how much you want. You will find many eggs in the compost, so either return them to the worm farm or give them a suitable environment in the garden to hatch. Happy harvesting!