Invest in a worm farm

30 Sep 2022
3 min read

If you’re squeamish about worms, look away now. This is a homage to the wondrous work the wiggly wonders do in all gardens and window boxes to help combat climate change. And how you can harness that work to improve your garden.

Way back when, my partner bought me a worm farm for my birthday. It’s possibly the least romantic gift ever, apart from perhaps spark plugs or a pressure cooker. 

Food waste and rich soil

This is a great project to do with kids to introduce them to the idea of food waste and composting

But it has proved to be the most useful item anyone has given me.

All the fruit and veg peelings, banana skins, coffee grinds and tea bags from our kitchen get saved for the wormery, which we keep by the back door. 

This reduces food waste. We stick the scraps in the top layer of the farm and the wiggly wonders work their way up, nibble on the scraps, then pass them out of their bodies as worm casts – the richest, most nutrient-dense compost you could buy.

Put bluntly, worm poo provides the perfect balance of potash, nitrogen and phosphates, all essential for good growing, without needing chemical fertilisers. 

Food waste going in the bin

If I’m planting in my postage stamp garden or a window box, I take a trowel-full of this black gold and mix it into the soil. It really is miraculous stuff. It’s even got a fancy name: “vermicomposting’.

You can’t just use any old wrigglers, the best composters are red worms because they produce the best nutrients.They cost about £15 for a bag from online suppliers but if you treat them well they multiply and you don’t need to buy more.

Keep them warm in winter and moist in hot summer spells.

The farms you can buy online are designed like luxury flats or apartments for worms. Mine is black and about the size of a bee hive on legs and is formed from four stacked levels. 

New versions come in bright colours and have just three layers.

The bottom layer, the sump, is where the compost collects, It has a tap on the side to release worm wee. I’m not kidding. 

The worms hang out in the middle tray and the top layer is for food scraps. The wrigglers inch their way up to help themselves.

A deluxe starter kit, including the worms, costs about £140.

Cheaper options can be found here

Or you can make your own out of three small, plastic bins, preferably ones you own already. Drill one hole in the base of the bottom bin and several air holes in the bottom of the second and third bin.

Sit them inside each other with a lid on the top bin. Rest the whole thing on bricks then add food scraps and ripped up newspaper to the top and worms to the middle layer.

This is a great project to do with kids to introduce them to the idea of food waste and composting.

We had an incident where the farm toppled over in high winds and the critters made a break for it. But if you make the wormery as comfy as possible for them they’ll generally stay.

You’re never going to remember all their names but you will love them nonetheless.

The bottom line:

Prevent food waste in the kitchen and the use of chemical fertilisers in the garden by using a worm farm.


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