Did you know that worms are one of the most useful pets you could ever have? They’re highly skilled recyclers who have mastered the art of turning organic waste into nutrient rich fertiliser. So, having a worm farm at home is a fantastic way to reduce your family’s organic waste and give your garden a health boost.
In Australia, about 6.7 million tonnes of organic waste is sent to landfill every single year! What’s worse is that once it’s in landfill, organic waste starts to slowly break down, releasing lots of methane gas into the environment. Besides being extremely smelly and highly flammable, methane is a greenhouse gas that’s much worse than carbon dioxide.
Redirecting our household organic waste into a worm farm is a very simple way we can help reduce the rate of global warming.
And it’s pretty simple: you put organic waste (which includes things like food scraps, garden clippings and paper) into the worm farm, and your worms happily munch their way through your scraps – turning them into ‘compost’.
So, let’s get to it!
Activity 1: Build your worm farm
Start by exploring around your home with an adult to find a good spot for your worm farm. To keep your worms happy, you want somewhere that is temperate and shady.
Draw a plan of your worm farm or use our template to start to bring your plan to life and understand all the different parts you’ll need.
You can start with a pre-made worm farm set or try to build your own from scratch!
Make sure you wear gloves when handling your worm farm – especially when you’re harvesting the vermicast or the liquid runoff. The vermicast and liquid runoff are full of bacteria that’s good for your garden, but that doesn’t mean they’re good for your body!
Feeding your worms
Do not overfeed your worms. Before you add more food to your worm farm, make sure that the previous meal has been consumed.
Your worms will love most of your kitchen scraps including eggshells and coffee grounds. However, worms aren’t very big fans of citrus and onion, so try to avoid them if you can! It’s also best to avoid feeding your worms meat and dairy products because they can attract unwanted creatures like rats and flies. Besides leftover food, you can also feed your worms small amounts of:
leaves, weeds and grass cuttings
paper and cardboard (unwaxed and slightly wet)
vacuum cleaner debris.
Keeping it clean and healthy
As your worms feed on your food scraps, the container will start to fill up with vermicast (also known as worm poop!). And the worms will want to move into a new clean home.
Prepare the container #2 with a layer of wet paper and compost, just like you did with the first container.
Stack container #2 on top of container #1.
Add some food into container #2 so that your worms know there’s a new clean room to move into! It will take a few days for all your worms to move into container #2.
Once all the worms have moved into container #2, you can remove container #1 from the stack and use the vermicast in your garden.
After you’ve removed the vermicast from container #1, make sure to give the container a good wash.
Once container #2 is full of vermicast, you can repeat steps 1-5 with container #1.
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Activity 3: Using vermicast and worm tea
Vermicast is one of the best fertilisers you’ll find for your garden. It’s packed full of nutrients, so you only need to sprinkle a handful around your plants. After you’ve applied a layer of vermicast to the soil around your plants, give them a little bit of water and watch them grow.
Over time, container #3, will fill up with a dark brown liquid – the key ingredient for worm tea.
To make worm tea, simply:
Pour a little bit of the worm tea into a watering can
Dilute the liquid with water until it’s the colour of tea
Water your garden and watch it thrive!
We’d love to see what you create! Share your worm farm with us by tagging #ScitechAtHome on social media.
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