Knowhow-Now Article

What Is A Wormery And How Does It Work?

Unless you eat out at every meal, you probably have kitchen scraps. It’s likely that your kitchen scraps end up in the city landfill or washed down the sewer line from the garbage disposal. Perhaps you add them to your compost pile, but they build up and you don’t reap the benefits for several months.

One way to use your scraps to benefit both your garden and your houseplants, while reducing the amount of trash you dispose of, is to create and use a wormery. You will get a quicker return on your composting efforts as well.

Tip: Use compost to feed your crops. In organic gardening, compost is necessary for the survival of your plants.

A wormery is a type of compost bin that is usually kept smaller than standard compost bins and is contained within a box or a tower of boxes. The best container is about 1 ½ feet high and no more than 2 to 3 feet wide. Holes are punched in it to provide air for the worms to breathe.

To start it off, the contents of a wormery include damp shredded newspaper, a small amount of soil or compost, and kitchen waste. Vegetables, fruits, egg shells, coffee grounds and filters, tea bags, and just about anything except meat, fat, and dairy products are the typical scraps included. Scraps should be chopped into small pieces, and egg shells should be crushed.

Tip: If you are going to go organic in your gardening efforts, be sure to mulch your garden with at least 3 inches of organic material. This will help to conserve water, add nutrients and humus to the soil and will discourage weeds.

The worms themselves are the vital ingredient. The fat red worms are the best ones to buy, add them in and they will go to town eating and processing the contents. Continue to add a small amount of scraps on a daily basis so the worms will have plenty to munch on.

Once the worms are eating, the interesting part begins. At the bottom of the wormery is a liquid byproduct, often referred to as “worm juice.” Remove this liquid regularly, mix it with water, and spray it on your plants to give them a fertilizer boost better than any you could buy in the store.

Tip: When designing your organic garden, use a lot of different plants, creating more diversity. With more diversity in the garden, you are inviting diverse populations of insects which could be very beneficial within the garden and around the home.

After a few months, your worms will also leave you a nutrient rich soil that is perfect for planting or mulching. When you remove it, be sure to begin again with your wormery process.

Construction of a wormery can be done two ways. The first is a simple box or other container which requires you to dig out the contents while not harming the worms. A better option may be a wormery tower.

Tip: Mulch should be your best friend when it comes to caring for your organic garden. Try to think of mulching as a way of maintaining the "floor" of your garden.

To build a wormery tower, simply use 3 plastic bins in the appropriate size. Drill holes in the tops and bottoms of each bin. Place a drainage pan underneath to collect the worm juice. Stack all 3 bins in the drainage pan, putting the lid only on the first. Fill the top container with the necessary ingredients and let the worms do their thing.

Once the top bin is full, pull the bottom bin to the top, keeping the lid only on the top bin, and begin filling it again. As the worm juice is created, it should drain into the drainage pan for your use.

Tip: You can use mulch for effective weed control in your organic garden. For the most effective weed killing application, try using a layer of mulch that is very coarse and up to three inches deep.

Continue this process until all 3 bins have been used. By the time the top bin is filled, the bottom bin should be useable soil. Remove it and use the soil as needed or store it in a separate container. Take the empty bin and place it at the top of the tower and continue the process.

Whether you use a single container or a tower, your wormery will produce rich soil and worm juice that will have your garden growing at an amazing rate.

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