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So in Part 1 I hopefully made a good case for you to introduce a worm farm into your productive garden. The little wrigglers eat your waste and leave you with some fantastic leftovers to feed your plants.
I also spoke about the types of worm farms available, so let's have a closer look at one I've been using for about 12 months.
Here you can see the multiple tray system of my worm farm.
Now I'm not allergic to dirt, but if feeding your worms becomes a messy ordeal then I reckon you pretty much won't keep it up. For this reason, my worm farm is located right near my front door. It's also an area that gets almost full shade in summer, helped along by the evergreen passionfruit climber which blocks the afternoon sun. This means I have only two steps to get to my worm farm and it's under cover so even on a cold and wet night I can make the pilgrimage in socks if necessary!
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Just under the front of the worm farm is the drainage bucket to collect the FANTASTIC worm juice. This model originally came with a tap, but I've removed it so the farm can drain free all the time and there's no chance of the worms drowning. The only downside is if you forget to empty the bucket regularly, you may find it overflowing. This has never been a problem for me as the concrete slopes towards my passionfruit vine…in fact it may explain why I've had a bumper crop this year!
Okay now it's time to look inside...
You can see I've used a hessian bag to cover the food scraps and to keep the moisture in. Eventually the worms will eat through the hessian and it will be time to replace it - I picked this bag up from a local coffee roaster. You could also use a thick slab of newspaper or one of the purpose built worm farm covers. Feeding your worm farm can be a messy business so a feature I've really come to like is the self holding lid on this model. It means you only have to lift the hessian and put the scraps under and can all be done with one hand.
Lifting the hessian you'll see the scraps recently put down. This is a fair amount, but after 12 months my worms will make light work of this in a few days. Start with small amounts of scraps and if they're still visible largely untouched in a week, you're adding too much.
So now I've removed the top tray and you can really start to see the chocolate pudding-like worm castings. There's still a few worms in the top part of this tray as you can see.
In the very bottom of this worm farm is the base which collects and directs the worm juice to the outlet. Note the raised section which allows the worms a dry place to rest if the more adventurous of the bunch find themselves down here…
Apart from feeding your worms, you need to make sure they remain moist at all times - especially during hot weather. I use a normal watering can over the hessian - usually a litre of two of water a week.
This will start to fill your worm juice bucket. Obviously the more water you put through the farm, the more diluted the juice will be. Here I've used a litre of concentrated worm juice diluted with 8 litres of water to liquid feed fast growing asian greens and lettuce in my vertical wall garden.