Managing Your Worm Farm
There are many aspects to managing your worm farm but a few hints based on our practice and experience may help you:
1. Use a cover, we sell organic jute covers (which the worms love but eat through in around 3 months) and our new Longlife covers which will last for years. The cover helps the worms to come to the surface to feed (always feed under the cover) as it keeps the top tray of the worm farm darker. By keeping the cover moist you are maintaining the correct moisture level in the worm farm which will keep the worms happy and provide you with around 200mls of liquid per week.
You can also use newspaper but avoid too much coloured ink and remember it does not breathe as well and dries out quicker. You can use underfelt/carpet offcuts but leach them first thoroughly, for several days at least, changing the water regularly, as there may be pesticide/ chemical residues. We recommend our covers above these other options.
2. Feed under half the cover only each day. By alternating from side to side you will soon realise how much your worms are eating. Theoretically worms eat their body weight each day, therefore if you started with 1000 worms (weighing 250grams) they should eat 250grams per day but in reality this will vary with the season and a more accurate figure in practice is more like 125 grams per thousand worms per day. This is why we recommend starting with 2000 worms as the average household is likely to generate up to 1kg of worm food per day so you make a more significant impact on that waste quicker. Remember DO NOT OVERFEED as it will lead to smelly sour crop (anaerobic decomposition).
If your worms did not eat at least half the food left on day one by day three in the alternating feeding method described above – DONT FEED THEM until at least half the food is gone.
3. Never cover the whole surface area with food – always allow an area on the edges to remain food free so the worms have somewhere to retreat to and then return to the food from. See point 2 above also. Remember that feeding may slow in hotter and colder weather so try to ensure your worm farm temperature is regulated eg, a wet towel over the farm in summer; a new position in winter to catch a little morning sun may help with the extremes.
4. SCRAP advises getting up into your second bedding/feeding tray quickly (say within 4-6 weeks of starting) as this increases room for the worms to breed and feed thereby increasing the amount of food they can convert. The original coconut fibre (coir) bedding will ensure the second tray sits flush to the surface of tray 1 and you can begin feeding directly into the second tray as the residue of foods in tray 1 are finished off.
The above advice relates primarily to the Reln/Tumbleweed range of worm farms but can be generally applied to almost any design of worm farm. In future editions we will add to the range of hints and advice and welcome your feedback by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
SCRAP 380 Worm Farm for larger organisations up to 300 people.