Have you ever considered getting a wormery but were put off because of worries about smell, mess and of course having to handle the little wrigglers? I am hoping that this article will help dispel many of the myths about worm keeping and encourage you to give a worm or several thousand a home!
A wormery is a container which contains special composting worms who munch their way through your leftover food and turn it into rich black crumbly compost, another by-product of all this activity is a black fluid called leachate which when diluted makes an excellent plant food. The compost can be used in your borders or potted plants; the leachate needs to be diluted 10:1 with water before being used as a plant food.
There are many types of wormerys on the market many of them designed to make harvesting of the finished compost and handling of the worms a doddle. One of the best is the Can-O-Worms Kit from Evengreener. The system consists of a base tray with legs and a tap for collecting the leachate. There are three trays with holes for the worms to move through, a lid and of course the all important worms! When the first tray is full of food the second tray is added and so on, as the worms eat the leftovers and turn them to compost they move upwards to the new trays leaving behind the lovely compost. The kit also comes with full instructions on how to care for your wormery.
Will they escape?
The wormery has a lid which will discourage escape attempts but if the worms are all gathering on the inside of the lid there may be something wrong in the wormery, perhaps something has been put in there which the worms don’t like such as citrus fruit.
What do they eat?
Worms eat leftover cooked and raw vegetable and food scraps, pizza, pasta tea bags, fruit and veg (but NOT citrus fruits), rice, egg shells, bread, cereals and small amounts of paper and card. Do NOT feed them salts, oils, eggs, onion, garlic, bones, meat, fish, curry, weeds or animal faeces. They will not eat these items and they will make your wormery smell bad, some of them will actually harm or kill the worms.
How much do they eat?
The rate that they consume the food will depend on the amount of worms in your wormery. A single worm will consume up to half its body weight in food per day. A KG of worms will consume about 500g per day.
Do they smell?
As long as you are feeding the right sort of food and there are enough hungry worms in your wormery it won’t smell so can be kept near the back door in easy reach of the kitchen or even kept on a balcony.
Will I have to add more worms?
No as long as conditions are good in the bin the worms will multiply all by themselves and their numbers will be dictated by the amount of food that is available to them.