Starting A Worm Farm Isn't Hard And Is Inexpensive

So you think you'd be interested in starting a worm farm? Great Idea! Not only can worm farms provide great fertilizer for your garden and bait to use on your next fishing trip, they can reduce the amount of garbage your household sends to the dump by almost forty percent.

Getting started in earthworm farming won't cost much. There are commercial kits available ranging from twenty dollars on up to over a thousand for those who want to make a home business out of farming worms.

You may have the materials you need to get started lying around your house. You'll need a couple of tubs or bins made of plastic, wood (not pressure-treated) or something else that's water resistant, and another bin or pan that will sit on the botton to catch runoff. You can replace the lowest tub with a flat pan - just use some spacers to lift the upper tubs up off it.

If you're not familiar with the types of worms used for worm farming, it's best to purchase the starter worms from a supplier. Certain types are much better suited to being cultivated than others. Some garden worms don't do well. You won't need to buy any worms in addition to your initial supply, as they will continually propagate, as long as you supply them with food.

What is food for worms? Well, they like items that are staples of composters everywhere: vegetable peelings, tea bags, egg shells, stale bread, egg cartons and other types of cardboard, hair, leaves, and paper. Some things you might be tempted to include, but should not, include manure, waste derived from animal products, citrus fruits, green grass clippings, acidic fruits such as onions (which will chase the worms away), and pineapple, which contains an enzyme called bromelain which kills the worms.

Make holes around the bottom and the lower sides of the two top bins. Start with some pebbles or gravel at the bottom of the top bin. Add a few layers of newspaper and cover it with a bit of soil. Moisten lightly, throw some food in, then add the worms and cover it, which will maintain moisture and exclude light (which worms don't like).

Add food when you have it, if there's room. Don't press down to get the food in, because you may kill the worms. Leave the materials loose, not packed. When the top pan gets filled to near the top, switch it out with the pan underneath, put some food in the new top pan, moisten it slightly, and put the lid back on.

Now the worms in the second (formerly top) pan will move up to the top pan to get the food. Eventually the second pan will be full of worm castings, which is what you want. This is actually worm poop, but it doesn't smell and is one of the best garden fertilizers around. You can dilute it with water, or make a tea by putting some in a bag and soaking it in water, just like regular tea. The bottom pan will also probably accumulate a watery overflow, which is called 'leachate' and is a great fertilizer in itself.

You also can build a worm farm to get the worms, rather than the castings, if you are a fisherman or know one, or want to make some money selling bait.

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