Compost Worm Farming

Everybody likes the idea of growing an organic garden, but they also want to know, how am I going to fertilize it, how am I going to keep it productive? Well, you can make your own fertilizer, well you can work with something that makes fertilizer, and that’s compost worms. We all have some food scraps to deal with. Not everybody has a recycling system where they live, set up by their local government. But you can recycle it yourself. You can set up a system that continuously creates fertilizer, both liquid and solid fertilizer, that’ll keep you eating from your own garden. This is closing the waste stream loop of your own food system.

Now, the little guys that do the work are these. They’re not earthworms, they’re compost worms. There’s quite a few different types, red wrigglers, brand lings, tiger worms, Indian night crawlers, African night crawlers, Indian blues, there’s all sorts. This one’s going up my arm a little bit here. They’re pretty friendly, look. They eat their own weight every day. So the amount of worms you’ve got, or the amount of worms you’re going to end up with is going to equal in weight, the amount of food scraps you’re going to dump in there. What you produce out of your kitchen. The only thing they don’t like is citrus peel and onions, anything in the onion family. Citrus peel, you can actually burn and make a good fertilizer from the ash if you want to know the product. Every day you can get a few liters or a half a bucket or so of good quality liquid fermented worm juice. This is coming through the worm farm. You don’t have to water it down, but you can, you can extend it twenty times with water, or you can use it neat. The other product, the other great product is this one. It’s a whole bucket and it’s heavy, right. This is worm castings this is a solid material. This is better than compost in some ways. It’s kind of sticky, it’s gluggy. I can kind of make almost like a ball, like a clay ball out of this. This is high quality, solid fertilizer. There’s a little worm still in there. This has humates and mesylate sand sticky gels in it, that all come through the gut of the worm.

 

Earthworms eat the manure of compost worms. That’s how rich it is in beneficial bacteria. Not so much beneficial fungi, a little bit of fungi mostly beneficial bacteria. This is great fertilizer solid fertilizer and liquid fertilizer. Every three months you can empty this bath and get a bath full of this stuff out and reset your worm farm. And every day, you get your liquid fertilizer coming out. You’re in business. You can grow your own food in a very high nutritious, high quality, healthy way, by recycling your own waste stream. Let me show you what you’re going to need. You can use just an ordinary bath. You just get it set up at the right height, so that it drains down to the normal drainage point of the bath. Then I just use a piece of old chicken wire, and a scrap piece of shade cloth. And all I do is wrapping it up. The wire just gives it a little bit of strength and integrity, I just want it to stay over the bath plug. I’ll just fold the wire in bring the loose ends together, and that’s our filter. You don’t want this bath to get clogged up, so that the water, any moisture in there, can’t drip through to the bucket, and the worms then get flooded up to the surface. Takes a while to drain it so I just stick that over the drain hole of the bath and all I use is a house brick. That’s my filter. It’s that simple. We’re going to use manureas their base food. That’s one of the secrets of keeping it simple. Half fill your container with cow manure or horse manure. If you’re going to use sheep or goat, you’d make sure it was quite old, especially of it was desert manure, which is very rich. If it was chicken manure, it would have to be very aged.

Cow and horse manure are great because they’re partly decomposed vegetation. So here are some of our worms.

 

They can go straight onto that manure. They’ll thrive on that manure there. They’ll dive right in. And I’ve got a wheelbarrow here of the residual worms from the last worm farm. Now there there are hundreds of worms here. And they’ll be hundreds of worm eggs as well. We don’t want to mix the fresh scraps into the manure. It’s cause it will go airless. And that means it will go anaerobic, and it will give off methane, which won’t be good for the worms. It could kill them. So we keep it in layers. So now we’ve got all our worms in, and they’ll all dive down. They’ve all gone for cover. We bring up our food scraps, and every day, we just drop our food scraps onto the worm farm. We spread it out a bit, that’s it. That’ll build up because every single day for three months, you’ll be adding a bucket half a bucket of food scraps, whatever you’ve got. And your worms will come up, and they’ll convert that into fertilizer. Now I’m going to wash it all down, clean it up a bit. And we’re going to spray the entire farm down, we’re going to water it down, so it all goes wet and slushy. Because the worms like that the liquid coming out, is definitely more nutritious for plants, because it’s very high in bacteria. The gut of the compost worm has enormous diversity of beneficial bacteria, that’s really good for the soil. It’s quite different from to manure tea, which can be quite anaerobic, and have anaerobic bacteria, which is not so good for the soil, and we don’t know how old it is and how acid it is. But the worm castings and the juice that comes from the water, filtering through this worm casted mix, this is neutral, it doesn’t have an acid or an alkaline pH. It’s very neutral and it’s very high in beneficial bacteria. So you’re feeding the soil. There we go. We’re going to really get a good test on our drainage here as well. There we go, we’ve got it really nice and wet, and as long as it’s draining, we’re right, we can keep topping this up for three months and get constant fertilizer every day. So here’s our final move. I’ve got to, just a scrap piece of shade cloth, keep them nice and shaded.

 

 They don’t like the light and move away from the light. I’m just going to keep it simple, and just weigh it down with four house bricks. I’m just going to put an extra piece of weed mat here. This is even more shaded. Could be an old carpet could be an old blanket. As long as it lets the rain through, I don’t like the worm farms to be covered up from the rain. I like the rain to come through the worm farm. Little bit of extra juice little bit of diluted juice. That’s fine with me. The more juice we get the better. The more I can fertilize my garden. So there we go. A very simple way to make a worm farm and it’s guaranteed to work couldn’t be easier than that so here we are. After three months, our worm farm is ready to be harvested, and all the castings can come out. It’s like compost but it’s more sticky. But we’ve got to capture our worms. So, if we take the cover off, and just cover one end, and put fresh food, only on that end, they have to dive away from the light and they eat their own weight, every day, in food. So they got to get towards that food. So the majority of our worms, most of our worms, are going to be in that fresh food, within two or three days.

 

Now, we’re ready to harvest. So we can pull out our worms, put them in a wheel barrow reset the farm with manure, and fresh food. Put our worms back and we’re ready to go again, for another three months. Okay, let’s get onto it. Take the bricks off, they’re just weighing down this shade cloth. Uncover our worms. Now we’ve got to move quite quick, cause they’ll also dive away from the light. So we’ll start to pull them out, here they are, they’re in that fresh food, and there’s thousands of them. Just look at them. It’s wreathing with worms here. They’re all coming for that fresh food. These are your classic worm castings, and they’re sticky they’re glued together. It’s much stickier. There’s one worm left in there, there he is. But that’s worm castings. It’s a beautiful, solid fertilizer. And every three months we get a whole bath full of this out, and we reset and we empty again, every three months every 12 weeks. This system closes the waste cycle of your food supply. So you can produce good high quality fertilizer, solid fertilizer every three months. You get a bulk load. And every day, you can get liquid fertilizer coming through this worm farm. It doesn’t take up much room. It’s a constant supply. And it will run as long as you supply it with waste stream, it will run. Now if you don’t have enough food scraps, you can use grass clippings. You can put clipped weeds in here. If you want more nitrogen you can use bean crops, or cover crops that are nitrogen rich. If you want more phosphate, you put phosphate rich crops in here. If you want more potassium you use potassium rich crops, or weeds. It’s just vegetation.

 

They’ll even eat shredded paper. Best if it’s something nice and lush. But you can design the end result, to emphasize in one direction or another. This is designer, organic fertilizer day by day, year by year, running indefinitely for your food supply, to make sure that you stay healthy, with nutritious, valuable food

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