One of the most environmentally friendly ways to produce food is through a worm farm. Worms can turn organic material into rich soil, which can then be used for growing plants.
Starting your own will allow you to recycle waste and help improve the quality of life on earth! In this blog post, Simple Grow Soil covers everything you need to start your worm farm: supplies needed, problems that may arise during setup, tips, and tricks for successful farming!
For additional reading, check out where you can use castings for healthy returns.
What Is A Worm Farm?
A worm farm is any system that allows worms to consume organic material and produce soil. A typical setup will consist of a container full of vermicomposting, with worms living in it. The dirt can then be used for planting plants (or other purposes).
The primary benefit: It's an environmentally friendly way to recycle waste! Using the nutrients found in compost, you're reducing your reliance on fertilizer - so fewer chemicals are needed. Plus, there are no harmful side effects from improper disposal or chemical fertilizers like we see with traditional farming methods.
This type of farming also helps promote biodiversity by providing habitat for many different organisms typically not seen in commercial settings. Some studies show that this method could provide for as many as 13,000 unique species of insects.
How to Start Your Own Worm Farm In 6 Steps
Step One: Choose Your Spot
A bit on the location of your worm farm. The tip for finding a good spot is finding an area with stable temperature and natural light and no access to human or household waste.
Worms also need oxygen, so try not to place them too deep in moist soil (where there may be less air). A garden bed can work very effectively because it's already raised off the ground, promoting aeration.
In addition, choose a site that can drain water away from your worms when you bury them below grade level. This will avoid creating stagnation points where toxins like nitrates accumulate over time.
If you don't have space outside, then you can put your worm farm in a garage or basement, as long as the temperature remains stable.
Step Two: Get Your Supplies
What you need to start your worm farm and where to get them.
A kit for small-scale vermicomposting that includes some (or all) of these items is available at most garden centers - but if you prefer to use DIY materials, then read on!
You will need soil and compost starter mix; EcoVerm earthworms; red wiggler worms; peat moss, coco fiber or shredded newspaper mulch bedding material such as bark nuggets (oak, maple), sphagnum moss balls/shreds, rice hulls, or chopped straw; a container for the worms (any size), bin, or aquarium with an airtight lid that contains holes for drainage and aeration.
Step Three: Adding Bedding Material
It is important to add lots of organic materials like shredded newspaper or bark nuggets as bedding material. This will provide food and moisture while also trapping excess waste products in between the layers. The top layer should be about one inch deep to dry out quickly before being added again. Since you are using EcoVerm earthworms, peat moss can also be used on its own without needing additional compost starter mix. *If you have more than one worm farm, use different colors of bedding material - this will help identify and manage different worm farms.
Tip: If you are using EcoVerm earthworms, then the bedding material can also be used as a food source. After some time, it will turn into compost, so there's no need to add nutrients from outside sources.
Step Four: Add Worms
You should start your farm off with two to three pounds of worms (about one thousand). This may sound like a lot, but they reproduce quickly once conditions are right. The most common method is to find an old apple or tomato box that has been discarded by someone else - this way, you have already reduced packaging without even purchasing anything for yourself! Be sure not to keep too many in each container, though, because crowding will lead to disease.
Step Five: Add More Bedding Material
Now you need more bedding material - this is the food for your worms and something they can burrow around in. The best option is a mixture of shredded paper products and organic matter such as leaves, hay, or straw. Remember that if you are using EcoVerm earthworms, then there's no need to add anything from outside sources because the bedding can also be used as a food source to turn into compost after some time! Just make sure not to keep too many in each container, though, because crowding leads to diseases that could kill all of them before long. Apple cores work well, but it has been found that onions do not work so well because it's been found that they can't digest the cellulose in them.
Step Six: Add More Worms!
You need to add more worms, so your worm farm has a good workforce population for all your feeding needs. You should start with around two pounds per square foot. Then you will want to reevaluate things every few months or quarter depending on how many worms die-off from disease, too much crowding, or other accidents which happen when there is close contact between species like this - such as diseases being spread easier through bodily fluids (such as droppings). If one pound doesn't seem enough over time, get another pound and let nature do its thing! Do not worry about adding too many at first because you can always just put some back into the wild to replenish your local populations.
Where Can I Buy Worms For My Worm Farm?
Many places will sell you worms for a worm farm, but it's important to note which type of worms they are before buying. You can buy earthworms, German nightcrawlers, or red wiggler worms, and each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages and different needs to thrive during this time.
Earthworms bury themselves into the ground when scared, so if your bedding is too deep, then it might be hard for them to burrow down far enough where there isn't any light coming through from above -. In contrast, German Nightcrawlers like things more open with little barriers between food sources, and red wigglers don't mind being closer together because they breathe better at higher levels of CO² production (such as when they are crowded).
8 Tips And Tricks For Maintaining Your New Worm Farm
With a new worm farm, some general tips and tricks can help get you off on the right foot. Some of those tips are:
- Put a lid on top of the container and punch holes in it to let air flow through.
- Make sure you have enough bedding material - about one inch thick is suitable for most purposes.
- Keep your worm farm out of direct light, but be sure there's plenty of airflow around them inside their home (there should be some holes punched into the container).
- Give your worms fresh water every day or two by taking off the lid and adding more dechlorinated water until they are at least halfway covered with liquid again. You can also add things like tea leaves, fruit peels, or coffee grounds if that interests you as well! This will keep vermicomposting from smelling bad while making your worms happy.
- Add food to your worm farm: worms eat vegetable scraps, paper towels, and even a tiny amount of grains like wheat or barley if you're feeling daring (be sure not to feed too many). This should only be done about once every two weeks as it can make the bedding material rot faster.
- Use a spray bottle with water for spraying bugs off the outside surface of your container instead of using pesticides or other chemical sprays that will harm healthy animals living close!
If there is some "problem" issue inside your worm factory - such as an ammonia smell coming from them that could indicate they are being overfed or have been starved, remove some layers from their bedding and make sure they have enough liquid to drink.
- Take care not to put too many worms in your worm factory, as overcrowding can cause them stress and lead to disease or death.
- Your finished product is an excellent fertilizer for plants - add it directly on the soil around your plants instead of having a pile that will attract pests like rodents who might attempt to steal from you!
Starting your worm farm can be an exciting and rewarding experience. As long as you follow the steps in this article and take care of your worms, they should live a happy life!