Worm composting is an environmentally friendly way to recycle organic household waste into a valuable soil conditioner called worm compost (vermicompost). Most rubbish collected from homes in the UK is buried in large holes in the ground (often old quarries) called landfill sites. Many of our current landfill sites are nearly full and we are rapidly running out of suitable land to create more. Landfill sites give off a gas called Methane this is both highly inflammable and a major contributor to global warming.
Approximately 30% of an average rubbish bin is made up of organic waste. This waste is usually deposited in landfill sites, contributing to the millions of tonnes per year that are disposed of in such a way. However, there is an alternative - worm composting!
A 'worm bin' or 'wormery' is used to hold the waste material and worms. They are easy to establish, and with regular feeding the compost produced in the wormery is usually ready for harvesting after about eight to 12 months. Kids love them, they are fun and educational too
What is a wormery?
A wormery is a box unit that contains composting worms, that love to munch away on your kitchen and garden wastes. The bi-products produced consist of worm castings (worm poo an ideal compost medium) and leachate (liquid fertilizer) These are excellent feeds for your indoor and outdoor plants, shrubs and prized vegetable patches. Composting with worms is quicker than traditional methods and allows you to dispose of greater volumes of wastes whilst reaping the benefits from using the compost and liquid fertilizer too.
Worm composting is an easy, convenient, environmentally-friendly and efficient way of turning your waste kitchen scraps into high quality super-rich compost all the year round. This type of composting is particularly good if you live in a flat and don't have a garden, or if you don't have enough room in your garden for a proper garden composter. The compost, thus produced, can be placed in planting holes when planting out new plants in the garden, added to houseplants and containers, used a top dressing (mulch) or it can be used as an ingredient when making up your own potting compost.
In optimal conditions worms can eat half their own weight of waste each day. They are also photosensitive (don't like light) and can live up to 2 - 3 years. Worms mature in about 3 -6 weeks after hatching from cocoons and will breed every 3-4 days throughout the spring through to autumn. Fresh worm cocoons look very much like tiny lemons that darken in colour as the worm grows in the cocoon these cocoons take around 3 weeks to develop before the baby worms hatch. Worm cocoons darken as they get closer to hatching
Can I collect the worms from my garden to use in my wormery?
No! The most commonly found worm in the garden is the lob worm. Lobs are deep burrowers and will not survive in a wormery. A few red worms can usually be found in a well established garden compost heap and could be added to your wormery, but why not leave them to help in the compost heap?
The worms that we supply are called dendras and are ferocious eaters. The natural habitat for dendras is in the leafy waste of the forest floor so they are less likely to be found in a normal garden.
Do I have to keep buying worms?
No, worms are prolific breeders and will expand their numbers to suit the conditions they find
What can I feed them?
Anything you eat, The best results our obtained from soft organic waste such as left over vegetable scraps, fruit and vegetable peelings, tea leaves/bags and coffee grounds, vacuum dust and hair (including animal) shredded newspaper, egg box type cardboard (pre-soaked), newspaper, crushed egg shells and stale bread. The greater the variety of organic waste the better the resultant worm castings will be.
Worms cannot eat material such as glass metal or plastics. You should also avoid some organic material such as animal manure (the animal may have been 'wormed' and the residue can kill your worms) highly acidic fruit such as citrus fruits and onions should be avoided. Also avoid meat and bones - products covered in fat, vinegar, garlic and spicy foods, eggs (egg shells are excellent) and dairy products.
All waste material should be broken into small scraps before being added to your worm composter and when feeding your worms it is important to feed them 'little and often' rather than giving them large quantities of food at once, as this can cause overheating and this can kill the worms.
Will the wormery smell?
Bad smells arise when the food starts to rot and your wormery becomes anaerobic (no oxgen in the wormery) Although the food needs to break down to be digested by the worms, too much rotting food causes problems. to counteract this problem simply stop feeding, remove any rotting food, and mix in lots of shredded paper or corrugated cardboard.
Where can I keep my wormery?
Womeries can be kept almost anywhere. Worms prefer a temperature of between 13C to 20C. They are best kept where the temperature doesn't vary too widely; a utility room, garage are suitable and they don't require light. They can also be kept outdoors so long as they are kept in a sheltered position away from strong winds, and out of direct sunlight. In the winter insulation maybe required.
- Worms dont have eyes. They are very sensitive to bright light. They will try to hide as soon as exposed
There are approximately 2,700 different kinds of earthworms.
In one acre of land, there can be more than a million earthworms.
The largest earthworm ever found was in South Africa and measured 22 feet from its nose to the tip of its tail.
Charles Darwin spent 39 years studying earthworms more than 100 years ago
Worms are cold-blooded animals.
Worms can grow a new tail, but not grow a new head if they are cut off.
Baby worms are not born. They hatch from cocoons.
The Australian Gippsland Earthworm grows to 12 feet long and can weigh 1-1/2 pounds.
Even though worms don’t have eyes, they can sense light, especially at their anterior (front end). They move away from light and will become paralyzed if exposed to light for too long (approximately one hour).
If a worm’s skin dries out, it will die.
Worms are hermaphrodites. Each worm has both male and female organs. Worms mate by joining their clitella (whitish band near the head of a mature worm) and exchanging sperm. Then each worm forms an egg capsule in its clitellum.