Friday, July 18, 2008

Feeding Worms.

On Wednesday of this week, a fellow gardener from Tasmania paid me a call in person to see my little vegie patch. biggrin

One of the topics Jaxter and I talked about was worm farms and how I look after them. I thought I'd give you a blow by blow on how I feed them over a fortnight.

For years I was using an old food processor for chopping up their food scraps. Worms don't have teeth and they have to wait for their food to become soft and mushy for them to digest it. The old processor finally packed it in and so I had to think of a new system for feeding them.

How I worked this out is thanks to Josh Byrne from Garden Australia when their expo was in Adelaide early this year.

So lets take a look at what I do.

I've posted this 500 gm size bucket on my blog before and it's still a great way of collecting food while in the kitchen for my 3 worm farms.

Each morning the 500 gm bucket is emptied outside into a larger bucket. This bucket sits on the worm farm with a lid on it to keep flies and ants out of it. While this bucket is being filled up over a few days. The outside atmosphere is helping to start the breaking down of the food, while I wait for enough food to be collected. Having the scraps breaking down before its put into the farm, helps the worms to have food mushy enough for them to start eating.

The yellow handled claw tool is for me to not only spread the food around the food tray, but to remind me which farm is to be fed on that day.

Once this bucket is full of food scraps into a bigger white bucket it goes, I use to chop the food up. Enough room in the last bucket to fit the garden spade into it. Once the food is chopped up to a fairly fine mush.

Into the worm farm it goes for the worms to start eating through.

There are I am sure, so many different ways people have a feeding system for their worm farms. If your feeding system isn't working for you. try my system and see if it works for you.

Started another person off with some worms.....but that's another story mrgreen

Until next time....hoo roo

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Savvy Mummy said...

Hi, Scarecrow gave me your blog and told me you are a worm enthusiast! Hoping you can help me as I have just set up my worm farm using the Can-o-worms system end Dec 08.

Right now, worms are on the first working tray (worms + coir fibre + bedding/stuff from the box they came with). I give them a bit of blended vege scraps from kitchen once every few days. Some of the worms do clear them but I am quite sure there is still food (coir fibre + bedding) for the worms to clear at the first working tray.

Question : How do i know if there are any worm castings to collect? How do I know if the stuff in the first working tray is ready to be used for my growing vegetables? Do I need to manually dig into the stuff to find castings? Or do I wait till the whole stuff becomes black and have a forest smell?

Thanks so much for your help! I have emailed the distributor and not got any reply.

:) Audrey

Lucky-1 said...

Hi Audrey,

First off congrats on your worm farm:D I think all gardens need a worm farm or 2. It's a great gift to the planet and your families helth.

Worm castings are ready to collect when the food has been eaten and doesn't look like food anymore.

First off worms are very tiny and don't have teeth. So if you can chop up their food, this will help them eat the food faster and produce worm castings a little bit quicker. Worms can eat up to 1/2 their own body weight a day.

So keeping this in mind, it will take a while for your worms to make enough castings for you to collect. But once you start to harvest castings and have kept up the feeding, you'll have a regular supply.

Worm castings look dark and is soft to touch with your fingers. I'd give it a few months before I even thing about harvesting.

With summer here, they do need some good damp bedding to burrow down in, on those hot days. So wait until the cooler weather.

On my blog I have labels and if you click on the "worms" label, you'll find lots of posting about my worms. There are lots of photos and tips on how to care for your worms and what to do with the castings.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask:)


Savvy Mummy said...

Thank you Lucky for your advice!

I blend most vege scraps so I need to add a little water when doing so. That means the worms get a pour of watery food. I hope that helps to cool them down and also keep the bedding damp.

Thanks so much for giving my questions attention! I shall wait a few months then.



Savvy Mummy said...

Lucky, thanks!

I do collect worm tea now and then. One question : Can my plants get too much of the tea and be poisoned? I know over-fertilising with commerical fertilisers can kill my plants, but how about too much worm tea?

I think the worm tea I collected may not be purely worm pee, but could be a combination of their pee + water + juices (from the blended vege scraps I give the worms). It is surely dark brown in colour. Would that be fine for my plants?

Lucky-1 said...

No the worm wee is gentle enough to water your pots weekly, if you want.

I usually have 1/3 worm wee and 2/3 water.... that way the worm wee goes that bit further.

I swear by worm wee on all my plants, be them vegie or ornamental. :D