A worm farm - The vitamin for your garden

A worm farm
Would you like to convert your fruit and vegetable scraps into rich soil and brilliant organic fertilizer (worm castings) for plants as well as being environmentally friendly? If so, start a worm farm. We have three and they produce surplus of it. Most people would go and buy a black plastic worm farm and worms from a shop but you do not need to do that. We used a styrofoam (broccoli box) with a handful of worms from our friend’s worm farm. We are not only recycling a box (from a local fruit and veggie shop) which would otherwise go to landfill but also it’s all free.

How to make and start a worm farm:
- Get a styrofoam box with a lid and make a hole (with a pencil) in a bottom corner for draining of worm juice and two opposite holes at the upper part of the box for ventilation.
- Place the box on a stand so you can harvest worm juice into a pot under the drain hole.
- To start the worm farm, we put well wetted organic material (shredded cardboard newspaper, leaves or coconut husk (coir) plus a few kitchen scraps and the worms into the box.

Worm farming tips:
Our three worm farms

- Worms do not have teeth so they cannot bite chunky food. They wait until their food is partially decomposed.To speed up the process put kitchen scraps into a food processor and make a mash or place them into a plastic bag in the freezer – as they defrost, they go slimy – it’s ready for the worms to eat.
- Do not over feed worms. Give them food approximately every one to two weeks when they have nearly finished their previous food. If there is too much food, a composting process starts generating heat which might overheat the worms.
- Regularly add shredded newspaper, cardboard or leaves to keep a balance of organic nutrition (kitchen scraps) and carbon (cardboard etc).
Worms - hard workers

- You can add occasionally a bit of diatomaceous earth or fine sand or to help the worms’ digestive system.
- To harvest worm juice (plant fertilizer) water the worm farm with about 5 litres of water once or twice a fortnight or as needed.
- Worms like a dark and moist environment so put a hessian (potato) bag over them. After a while the hessian will also decompose.
- The number of worms depends on the amount of food available. When food is plentiful worms will reproduce rapidly, with little food, numbers will drop.
- Keep your worm farm in a shaded spot so the sun does not overheat it in summer.
- We found a styrofoam box worm farm works better than a black plastic one as styrofoam insulates; keeps worms warm in winter and cool in summer times.
Worm Juice - gold garden fertilizer

- Sometimes maggots appear in a worm farm. There is nothing wrong with that. They help with converting organic materials into rich soil.
- If a lot of worms are on the inside of the lid, it’s a sign of overfeeding or their environment has become acidic. Stop feeding them for a week or so and sprinkle a bit of dolomite on the top.
- If you want to harvest rich soil from a worm farm always take it from the bottom where there’s the most manure. To find any worms which are left in the soil, put it in a pile in the daylight /sun. Worms do not like light and will move towards the centre of the pile. A bit at a time, remove the outside layer of the soil pile. You will be left with mostly worms in the last bit of soil which can go back into the worm farm.
- Food which worms like: fruit and veggie scraps, tea bags and coffee grounds (they absolutely love them) cow, horse, sheep manures, mushroom compost etc. Avoid garlic, onions and citrus peels, meat and bread.
- The bigger the variety of foods you put into your worm farm, the richer the fertilizer and soil you get out of it!
- Worm farm worms are different from those in the ground. They are very efficient at converting their food into worm casting and they would not survive in the ground.

Hope this information helps to start a worm farm. Check our Easy to make worm farm video. We also run hands-on Worm Farming workshops, so you can make your very own worm farm. For more details and dates check our Events and Workshops.

Happy Worm Farming


  1. My worm farm was invaded by slaters. Is that a problem?

    1. Hi, we do not have a direct experience with slaters. However, sometimes we get (soldier flies) maggots which are not a concern as they do more less the same job as wormx - converting scraps into castings while aerating the wormfarm. So unless slaters eat worms, which I would not expect, I don't to see any problem. To avoid slaters to get into a worm farm I would suggest to seal a lid and put a mesh onto ventilation openings so they can not get in. Hope this helps.

  2. Hi,

    thanks for the video and information. I've wanted to have a worm farm but was worried it would be complicated, now I can see it's easy to set up. I also appreciate that you show ways to do things inexpensively - your blog is really inspiring :)



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