Saturday, October 09, 2010

The Worms Crawl In, The Worms Crawl Out

Alpha Monkey asked me in the comments about my worm farm, and I very rudely did not reply, because I planned to post on it.  With Ethan’s arrival, there have been some delays, but finally, I’ve gotten my act together.  

A worm farm is a method of disposing of your organic waste if you don’t have room for a compost pile.  Of course, if you do have a compost pile, you can still have a worm farm!  I took a free class on worm farming through the Waverly City Council, and received a free worm farm and 500 worms to start one at home. 
The worm farm has three levels.  The bottom level has a solid floor and is known as the “bathroom”.  The second level has a floor with holes in it and is known as the “bedroom”.  The top level also has a floor with holes in it and is known as the “kitchen”.  The lid has holes in it for air.   
Worm Farm

 Here is the worm farm all set up.  The tap in the bottom is for draining the worm farm when it rains so the worms don’t drown.  This isn’t a problem if you leave it under a covered area, like I have.

When the worm farm arrived, it had a solid block of coconut fiber in it.  I soaked this in water, and after a couple of hours, it had turned into a peat-like mass.  I put this in the “bedroom” for the worms.

The bedroom

Most of the time, the worms live in the bedroom, but they will travel up to the kitchen to eat the organic waste you leave for them.  Their waste falls through the bedroom to the bathroom, where it can be collected to apply to your plants.  It sounds kind of gross, but realistically, good dirt is pretty much made out of ground up minerals and worm poo.  

The worms eat a lot of things, like celery leaves, carrots, banana peels, hair from you or your dog, paper (such as your old receipts) and eggshells.  They will not eat oranges, lemons or onions.  It is also inadvisable to put meat or cheese in the worm farm, as this attracts other animals such as raccoons (in the U.S.) or possums (in both the U.S. and Australia).

I had to let the worms settle in for about a week before I fed them.  Don’t worry, they were well fed at the worm nursery!  Today, I put a little bit of our organic waste in and covered it with an old cloth to deter flies and animals.  I’ll leave them to it, and check on them next week.  If I find worms in the kitchen, that means they’re eating the waste.  I hope this will be the case!

I was a little disappointed to find out that the worms are not very productive.  It will take them up to 6 months to produce enough waste to start putting it on my plants.  Obviously, this is more of a long-term investment than I thought!  Still, I thought it would be fun to get started with this, and when we leave, I’m sure it will not be too hard to find a good home for my worms.


mommysquared said...

cool! and i like the new look to the blog. sounds like you are settling in well! ~breana

L said...

Thanks, Bre!

Alpha Monkey said...

That is super cool!