Frequently asked questions
Vermicomposting is the process of using worms (usually compost worms) to assist in composting organic matter, such as kitchen scraps and dried leaves from the garden, to create what’s called vermicast. This end product (a rich, soil-like substance) is made up of all the good stuff from your organic matter, and can be considered literal gold for your garden.
All specifically designed to thrive in a worm farm environment, we use a mix of compost worms, including Reds, Tigers, Blues, Gardener’s Friend, and European Night Crawlers. We use such a variety in our compost worms mix because some species do better in warmer or colder weather than others. By combining these species, your worm farm will remain active, and work more consistently throughout the different seasons. Strength in nature comes from diversity, so the more diverse your worm species, the stronger your worm farm will be.
As a general rule, worms will process anything organic (that was once living). As worm farms require a good ratio of carbon and nitrogen inputs, we suggest applying equal inputs of carbon “browns” and nitrogen “greens” to assist in keeping a balanced environment.
Worm farm management
There are only a few basic things that need to be maintained to ensure your worm farm is processing organic waste effectively and efficiently. It’s best to ensure you have someone who will be in charge of overseeing it (‘Head Urban Worm Farmer’!) to ensure the conditions are being monitored regularly. The main factors to maintain are moisture, oxygen and acidity levels. We provide a full comprehensive guide with all our worm farms to set you up for a successful worm farming journey.
Temperature and pH
Add thinner layers of feed to minimise the heat generated by decomposing food.
Limit feed to certain sections of the bin so that there are cooler areas for the worms to escape decomposing, heat-conveying food.
Your instinct may be to cool down the bin by adding water, but that can actually cause the bin to heat up because water will fill in the air pockets in the bedding, bringing about anaerobic conditions. Therefore, instead of spraying water to soak the bedding, give it a fine mist.
Freezing your scraps before adding them to your habitat can assist in dropping temperature levels.
Always ensure your habitat is located in a fully shaded area.
The large thermal mass design of our Worm Habitats assists in managing temperatures as it allows space for worms to burrow and escape extreme heat or cold.
You can check the moisture levels by performing the ‘squeeze test’. Take some of the bedding in your hand (preferably with no worms!) and squeeze, if only a few drops of water come from the bedding your moisture level is spot on.
Refer to our YouTube for a quick how to video.
Worm cast extract
Calculating the cast output from your worm farm depends on a number of variables including your worm numbers, the environmental conditions of your worm farm, climate, what your feeding your worms and the density of those inputs. For example, food scraps will reduce by approximately half whereas your carbon “browns” inputs will reduce by approximately a quarter.
As you can see, this is a tricky one to give an exact answer to! But you can expect to get anywhere from 30-70% ‘black gold’ cast production from your inputs.
Managing other critters
You’ll soon discover that worms aren’t the only living critters in your worm habitat. These newcomers likely hitched a ride on the organic materials you added to the bin. Most other critters will not harm your worms, so don’t be too concerned with trying to control their populations. These decomposers are part of the soil food web and will actually improve the productivity of your worm habitat. Other critters are generally only an issue if the population starts to become excessive and overtake the worm population.
Mould generally appears when conditions are too acidic. Refer above on how to manage acidic conditions.
Our Grande range is manufactured from sustainable, long lasting and lightweight aluminium frame and panels.
Our Domestic range of wheelie bin style habitats is made from polyethylene grade material (no BPA) sourced from local Australian suppliers.
Worm farms for dogs
Recent research by one of our large-scale worm growers has shown that modern animal worm medications have little to no effect in harming compost worms. Therefore, we suggest recently wormed animal waste is safe input for your worm farm. Balance dog poo with plenty of high carbon materials such as shredded cardboard, dry leaves, peat moss etc. Ironically these high carbon materials are called “browns”, yet dog poo is considered a “green” food because it is high in nitrogen.