Building a worm farm has many benefits. The soil produced from worm farming has more nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium than ordinary soil, lending to the improvement of soil structure and improved taste in crops after seeding. Earthworm-farmed soil also can increase a farmer's yield. Known as vermicompost, a worm farm can be an expensive purchase if bought pre-made. Building a small worm farm is simple and inexpensive with the investment of a few materials.
Gathering the materials
Buy some plastic storage bins in which to store the compost. The bins require some space, but they are stackable. Try 45- or 55-litre storage bins so that there is enough room for the soil. Depending on the amount of soil desired, three stackable bins and an area for draining underneath are the equivalent of a small DIY worm farm. Also needed is an electric drill, old newspaper, and approximately 0.45 kilogrammes of redworms.
Preparing the bins
Drill approximately 20 holes in the bottom of each bin with an electric drill, except for one. The holes should be roughly 0.6 centimetres in diametre. This provides drainage for the bins, as well as room for the worms to travel from bin to bin. Also required for every bin are ventilation holes. These holes should be 0.15 centimetres in diametre. Drill approximately 30 ventilation holes in the top of one lid, as well.
Worms require moist bedding inside of the bins. Take pieces of newspaper and shred them by hand. Moisten them with water, and then remove any excess water from the newspaper. Put the strips of newspaper in each bin as bedding. Add a small amount of dirt or leaf compost to the top of the newspaper so that the worms better digest their food.
Adding the worms
Once the prepared bedding is complete, add approximately 0.45 kilogrammes of redworms. To gather worms, a wet piece of cardboard placed on the ground overnight is an excellent worm catcher. Place this cardboard on the top of the bedding, if desired, with the worms attached. If purchasing worms, purchase redworms or tiger worms. Earthworms are not as beneficial to compost. Worms are attracted to cardboard, and it breaks down into the bedding within a few moments. Continue until all bins are complete, and then stack the bins. Place the ventilated lid on the top bin.
The bins need placement in a highly ventilated area. Indoors, a laundry room or garage is acceptable. For outdoor storage, place the bins outside in the shade. Ensure that the inside of the bins does not get too wet, as this may kill the worms. Alternatively, worms dislike sun, and if the bin is too hot and dry, this may kill the worms.
Feeding the worms
The worms need feeding in order to multiply and enhance the soil. Worms prefer a diet with vegetation. Worms do not like meat or dairy, or oily and fatty products. Worms will also baulk at onion and garlic. Feed the worms items such as bread and grains, coffee grounds, cereal, fruits, and vegetables. Worms also eat used tea bags and coffee filters. The worms can be fed table scraps as long as it fits within the guidelines of what they like to eat.
Known worm farming issues
Some issues may arise with the new worm farm. If the worms are dying or are trying to escape, the bin may be too wet or too dry. Add more bedding if the bins are too wet, and moisten the bedding if the bin is too dry. If the bin has an unpleasant odour, there may be too much food and too few ventilation holes. Feed worms slowly at first, and add more ventilation holes if needed. If fruit flies flock to the bins, hide the food underneath the bin bedding. Mouldy leaves are beneficial to keep away flies. Eggshells and shredded paper are also good sources of bedding.
How to buy worm farm supplies on eBay
The reliable sellers on eBay have a vast amount of storage bins and other supplies that you need to begin your worm farm. Use the site's advanced search functions for exact results. For example, instead of "storage bin", try "45-litre storage bin" to find exactly what you need. Look for experienced sellers with a long history of positive feedback to ensure a great transaction. Never be wary of asking a seller for more information on an item prior to purchase.