Tips and Tricks
by Tony McCarthy
If you purchased your worm farm, followed the basic instructions in and in time experienced unpleasant results then read on because all you need to do is tip out all the ‘manky’ smelly contents and start again.
Worm Farming Tips and Tricks
Constructing or buying a worm farm means that you have volunteered to be a ‘Farmer of worms’. ie. Just like any farmer you need to provide ideal conditions to a creature that was not meant to be contained in order to get the results you are looking for. Wether its to recycle food waste and or to gather the resultant vermi compost or leachate then understanding a few principles will assist you in this.
Worms survive on food, moisture and oxygen. However an essential element of ‘Bacteria’ is necessary to break food waste down (rot) and without it being in abundance in a healthy symbiosis with other chemical matter then worm population will lag and smelly odours will occur.
Worms eat Rot
A healthy microbiology of Bacteria or ‘Compost’ is the beginnings of ‘Ideal Conditions’. It is the healthy happy home for worms to live. An oxygenated compost of elements interacting together, predating on each other and pigging backing each other around produces trillions more bacteria which in turn transform organic waste into rot.
Tip 1 House and re supply your worm farm with compost
Worms habitat naturally in compost not a coir fibre brick. Home made compost is easy to make and will provide the platform for a bio diverse community of microscopic creatures to interact and present the means of making organic waste viable for worms to eat.
Anything organic, however worms favour some foods over others such as vegetable waste and farm animal manures.
Tip 2 Process food waste in a blender. The finer the material the quicker it will rot down.
Worm take their oxygen from water and use it to assist their travel. Worms mostly passively breed by passing sperm on the moisture of their skin to an opposing worm.
Tip 3 Keeping worms feed and together means greater breeding conditions.
This is the most important element and it is the one thing missing from many worm farm designs.
Tip 4 Use a ‘Flow through’ system or manually aerate the worm farm contents regularly. This ensures bacteria will continue to break down waste and reduce ammonia off gas which slows down worm activity.
Tip 5 UV light attacks a worms nervous system causing them to rapidly retreat. Maintain a blanket cover of hessian or cardboard on top of the food layer to once again maintain the colony together on top of the compost under the cover of light.
In Summary. Keeping your worms together in an oxygenated bedding of compost and maintaining a supply of organic waste in an moist environment under the cover of light means your worms will passively breed. If you want to increase your results then just increase the surface area of the worm farm.
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