Reduce - Wormery


Reduce - Wormery

I have only recently been made aware of this concept, so I am still very much learning. However, after some research here is what I have learnt.

 

What is a wormery?

A wormery, or worm bin, works similarly to a composting bin, however, they usually raised off the ground unlike a compost bin and can have either a single compartment or multiple sections. 

How do the worms survive?

The worms require require food, oxygen, water and warmth which are provided as follows:

  • Usual composting of "greens and browns" provides food to the worms, it is good to stick to a 75% green waste and 25% brown waste, see more details below.
  • The composting "greens" and tap water which the browns are soaked in provides water to the worms
  • If placing the wormers in a sheltered spot outside of direct sunlight this will provide a good, warm temperature for the worms to be able to work on the waste
  • The air trapped within the brown waste provides oxygen to the worms

How does a wormery work?

If you are using a section wormery then start at the second to bottom layer, the bottom layer is for water and this is where your leachate (worm tea) is produced. Start by placing your food waste in with the section with the worms, they will start to eat their way through the waste, digesting it and transforming it into compost. The worms then tunnel their way through the compost which earates it. 

Worms like to eat little and often, so ensure to get the right sized wormery for your kitchen waste. This will avoid build up of waste and if the worms aren't overloaded with too much waste the wormery shouldn't produce any bad smells, it should smell like moist soil. If you are unsure what size to go for, speak to the company who you are looking to buy it from and they will be able to offer you advice. 

What to feed the worms?

Worms prefer 75% green waste to 25% brown waste. Soaking of the brown waste helps to keep the wormery moist, but avoid creating a soggy habitat.

Brown waste is dry or woody plant material that is brown or naturally turns a brown colour, examples are:

  • Fallen leaves
  • Pine needles
  • Twigs
  • Straw
  • Hay
  • Sawdust
  • Paper
  • Corrugate cardboard

Green waste is usually green or comes from plants that were green at some point, examples are:

  • Grass clippings 
  • Coffee grounds
  • Vegetable and fruit scraps
  • Eggshells
  • Animal manure (from cows, horses, sheep, chickens, rabbit etc. It isn't safe to use dog or cat waste)

Leachate

A natural by-product of making worm compost is a liquid waste known as leachate or 'worm tea'. The worm tea must be removed regularly to ensure it is kept seperate from your other sections ensuring the worms don't drown. This liquid is very concentrated but if you dilute it it is a great liquid fertilizer for your plants. Make sure to store this away from children and pets.

Keeping the worms happy

Finally, a happy worm colony will multiply to fill the space available to it and no more. It is beneficial to reduce the colony size occasionally to keep a healthy colony. If you have a cold composting bin the worms can be transferred there to live happily. If you do not have a compost bin then you can release the worms in a sheltered leafy place where they will quickly sink into the ground.

Where to buy a wormery

You can make your own wormery, however if you would like to purchase one here are some great companies that sell them:

Original Organics Ltd

The Organic Gardening Catalogue

The Recycle Works Ltd.

Wiggly Wigglers

Worms Direct UK

Yorkshire Worms

 

Do you have a wormery? Feel free to add any information below!


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