worm composting

Statue at Barnsdale

I’ve used an old wheelie bin to make a worm bin. It was a quick and painless operation once I’d found the bits I needed. When the worms do their job and eat the waste you feed them there is an excess of liquid from the broken down organic matter which is your liquid gold. This needs to be drained off, so the first thing I had to do was add a tap to the base of the wheelie bin. I used one sold for rain barrels. Once this was fitted I needed a way to suspend the worm’s home within the bin, and found a wire basket that just fits, inverted in the base. On top of this I simply added a layer of damp cardboard then some compost out of my normal compost bin, still active with tiger worms. This is their bedding.  Lastly I needed some worms. Digging around in the compost and under the woodpile we’ve accumulated did the trick. Worms installed, I fed them with a small amount of coffee grounds, tea leaves, a bit of cabbage leaf and a few potato peelings. They’ve been in there about three weeks now. If I come across and tiger worms I add them.

If I listen closely when I feed them, I can hear them moving around. The underground world isn’t as silent as you might think!

For those of you new to organic gardening, worm compost and the liquid yielded by making it are in fact gold for the organic grower. The liquid should be diluted about 1:10 with water before feeding your plants with it. The compost that results is very concentrated feed, too, and should be blended with ordinary compost or used in the border or vegetable bed. It will scorch plants if used on its own. Be careful not to feed too much at first, until numbers of worms have built up, as this will result in the organic matter heating up, which will kill the worms.

As worms don’t make a pretty picture, today’s photo is from our recent visit to Barnsdale (see last post), the late Geoff Hamilton’s gardens in Rutland.

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2 responses to “

  1. As I remember, the wire tray that sits about two feet from the bottom of the bin was an old one from a long-dismembered kitchen cabinet? I think I’d previously used it to store old computer cables or something. I also remember you saying something about not feeding the worms too much at one time because when kitchen waste rots it generates heat, and the tiger worms will escape it by hiding inside the bin lid instead of munching stuff. And isn’t there stuff you shouldn’t put in a wormery because the worms don’t like it?
    Looking forward to tasting the veg grown with the ‘liquid gold’. If they’re anything like the carrots and tomatoes you fed me recently they’ll have twice as much flavour as shop-bought ones.

  2. Yes Jon, I have mentioned not overfeeding. And you are right, worms don’t like onions, onion skin or anything too acidic, like orange peel. The best foods are tea leaves, coffee grounds, potato and other root vegetable peelings, and green vegtable leaves. Kitchen waste not wasted. Cool, don’t you think?

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