Worm castings (also called vermicompost) are in my opinion the very best soil amendment that you can use in your garden. I have bought worm casts for years and the results have always been impressive, especially for seed sowing. Worm castings can be incredibly expensive though.
This brings me to today’s post. I intend to build my own womery in order to produce my own worm casts.
Before we begin I want to quickly just mention a few key points.
- Worm bins do not smell if done correctly. Many people keep a worm bin for their kitchen scraps under the kitchen sink (keeping outside, in a cool greenhouse or shed seems like a better idea to me though).
- Worm bins do not take up a lot of space. They are much much smaller than the average compost bin and can be harvested from more regularly.
- Worms can eat a huge amount of material, almost half their weight everyday.
- You do not need to spend a lot of money to begin creating your own worm castings (expensive worm bins are NOT required).
You can purchase a (quite expensive) wormery from a lot of different companies online. This article however will focus on making your own womery. Making your own only requires a few tools and very little finacial outlay.
First of all you will need two plastic boxes. Ikea sell some fantastic boxes ideal for a wormery. Ideally you are looking for two boxes at least a foot wide and deep, they must also have some sort of lid. Worms require darkness so the tubs MUST NOT BE CLEAR.
Using a 8mm drill bit to create holes in both boxes, drill 20 holes in the bottom and 10-15 on the top of the sides of the containers. These holes are essential for both drainage and to provide essential air the worms need.
Next is the time for the worms , I got 500g of worms from Yorkshire Worms, the service was fantastic and the worms have now been happily living in my wormery for about two weeks. I would really recommend them, you can visit their site here. I’ve seen people recommend anywhere from 300-500g of worms for the average family.
It’s essential that you buy worms that are specifically for composting. Garden worms are not suitable for using in a wormery. Worms from the garden would probably die in a womery.
Now is time to begin adding kitchen waste. Initially I added some finely chopping cardboard and kitchen waste to the wormery. After a few days I added more and the worms seem to be processing it nicely. The key is to add little and often and make sure everything is cut up (at least initially, larger items can be added once established). Cardboard also seems to be the worms favourite.
The idea is to remove the lid from the bottom plastic container once it’s full, place the second container on top and begin to fill that. After a few weeks the worms will have evacuated the bottom container in search of fresh food leaving you with a tub of black gold.
Although I am new to wormeries I have done a lot of research. This article will be updated regularly as I gain more practical knowledge.