Building and maintaining a worm farm is a relatively easy task. This could be a very profitable business venture; startup costs are low, worms eat organic waste that would be thrown away anyway and you can harvest and sell the worms, worm castings and the worm egg capsules for an easy profit.
And if you only want to raise worms for your garden you will get all the worm castings you will need for a soil supplement or worm tea.
So what do you need to start a worm farm? First off you need an opaque container for your farm because worms despise light.
A plastic bin can be converted into a farm as long as it has air and drainage holes as well as holes in the lid for the worms to migrate upward into the next bin.
Or you can buy a premade system complete with usable equipment and directions. If you decide to build stay away from oily woods that may leach out and be toxic to your worms.
Once you have a farm bin ready prepare it by adding a few handfuls of bedding such as compost, cocoanut husks or just plain dirt. On top of this place some shredded, damp newspaper then add worms.
Obtain worms from an online store or your local bait supplier, put them in the bin, cover and let stand undisturbed for a few days. This lets the worms become accustomed to their new home.
After a few days add organic kitchen waste such as vegetable peels or any vegetable waste. You can also add coffee grounds and tea bags to your bin but stay away from acidic waste such as garlic and onions.
Keep tea bags and coffee grounds to a minimum to keep the acidity down and do not add dairy, meat or salted items. Egg shells can be thrown in but need to be cooked first. Raw egg shells can be cooked in water in a microwave if need be.
As for how much food to feed the worm farm keep in mind that worms will eat one half to their entire body weight in waste every 24 hours. So 1 pound of worms requires one half to 1 pound of kitchen waste to eat per day.
As kitchen waste is eaten and worm castings begin to fill the bin, keep adding layers of bedding and damp, shredded newspaper (cardboard, the unwaxed kind, can be considered a worm delicacy).
Worms and egg casings can be harvested at anytime because your worms will easily reproduce in the proper conditiions. But the biggest 'gold mine' here is the worm compost or castings.
Harvesting castings can be done by any of the following methods:
Any drainage you may get from the worm bin is termed worm leachate. Sources differ as to its worth. Some say this is concentrated fertilizer while others maintain that it is loaded with slimy anaerobic bacteria that should not be put in your garden so what you do with it is up to you.
My personal opinion is that this slimy, anaerobic mess should be discarded.
To wrap up this discussion do not forget to keep your worm farm moist but not wet so you will need to water it now and again. Also, your farm should not aquire an unpleasant odor because it is loaded with aerobic bacteria.
If it does begin to smell then you are starting to brew a colony of anaerobic bacteria. Leave the cover off and let the farm dry up some and the problem will correct itself.
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