Keeping a Worm Farm

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Keeping a Worm Farm

Worm farms are great for small gardens that would struggle to fill a compost bin.  They make nutrient rich castings (vermicast) that can be added to the garden as well as worm wee (vermiliquid) which is a fantastic soil conditioner and plant foliar feed. If you want to make your own worm farm have a look at the link below;,

If you are buying a worm farm, there are a number of options on the market. Personally, I like the Can-O-Worms which is a round layered design available at most garden centres and Ecostore.  You can buy square ones from The Warehouse or Bunnings, just make sure they have a tap on them for collecting the worm wee.

How to get your worm farm up and running

Level 1

  • So, assuming you have bought or made your worm farm, the bottom layer, with the tap, is the collector tray which catches the worm wee.

Level 2

  • This is the first working tray, put it on top of the collector tray and put cardboard on the bottom then ½ fill it with bedding. Use wet newspaper, peastraw or compost (if you have bought a worm farm use the coconut fibre bedding block provided). Spread tiger worms on top then cover with damp newspaper (you can buy tiger worms from in north island or in south island).  Put the lid on top.
  • Collect up your kitchen scraps daily/weekly and put them underneath the damp newspaper.  The smaller the pieces the easier it is for the worms to consume. Worms eat their own body weight every day and will regulate their numbers according to how much food is available.

Level 3 & 4

  • When you reach the top of level 2, add level 3, it has little holes in the bottom of the tray.  Put the new food scraps into level 3 and the newspaper on top of them.  The worms will gravitate towards the food, leaving you with nutrient rich castings in level 2.

What to Feed the Worms

  • Vegetable scraps, fruit and vegetable peelings
  • Aged manure
  • Tea leaves & coffee grounds
  • newspaper, dampened egg boxes, tissues (wet)
  • Crushed egg shells

Do not include;

Fish, meat, shellfish, garlic, onion, citrus fruits or any processed food.  You need to add lime powder every now and then and a cup of water.

NEVER ADD cut grass to the worm bin as it heats up and will cook the worms!

Collecting castings and juice

  • To collect the castings, take out the level 2 tray and cover ½ the tray with newspaper.  Tiger worms do not like the light and will gravitate to the side where the newspaper is.  Leave it for 30 minutes.  You can then use the (relatively worm free) castings as a plant feed.
  • Collect the juice from the bottom tray either through the tap or using a cup to scoop it out- dilute with water so it looks like weak tea and feed to plants.

Happy Gardening!

Kind regards,

Sarah Davies

Patch from scratch

10 comments on “Keeping a Worm Farm

  1. Berthe de Wild on said:


    I love this site so Much! So much that I will send it to my daughter in law Heidy, who just will start a wormfarm.
    How can I send this site to her. Can you help me please?

  2. Hi Berthe, Thanks for your feedback, it is much appreciated. You can let your daughter in law know by filling out the tell a friend form. And as a bonus you will be entered into a draw to win Hawthorne Coffee – please use the link below.

    Kind regards

    Tim Durrant

  3. Alison Anderson on said:

    Hello, I have a Warehouse worm farm and all seems to be going well. My problem is that we have run out of room and there is not much space to add food. How do I move out some of the “soil” without evicting the rightful inhabitants?

  4. Malcolm & Angela - South Africa on said:

    We have just started our worm farm this weekend. We purchased a three tray version from one of our local Nurserys here in East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa.
    We are keen to receive any advice that others may have to share with us.
    Regards and happy worming..

  5. carole carr on said:

    My worm farm has been invaded by little white
    maggoty creatures. These are in the bedding layer and also came through in their dozens when I drained off wee and castings today.
    All comments and advice welcome !

  6. Thanks for the easy to follow tips. We have a worm farm in our class made from a bath. It has a lid, but we think rain gets in and is diluting our worm wee. Does anyone know how we can test our collected liquid to prove whether or not it is mostly rain water or worm wee?
    Many thanks,
    Room18 Worm Farmers 🙂

  7. Leane - South Africa on said:

    I found your website when googling worm farming. I have just started my worm farm and you have given great advice. My bedding is too low so tomorrow I will enjoy topping it up. I have a three level farm and I can’t wait to move from level 2 to level 3!

    I too have tiny white mites (could be mites). They came with the bedding. What is the best way to make them ‘move out’?

  8. My worm farm has been contaminated with tiny nematodes (size about 1 cm in length).

    Do nematodes harm earthworms?

  9. Russel Klassen on said:

    Hi I stay in East London, Eastern Cape I would like to know where you purchased your worm farm i would like to start farming too.

    Russel Klassen

  10. landscapedesignnz on said:

    Hi Russell, We are NZ based so I really cannot help you sourcing worms – I found this place  

    Just Google around a bit and you should find somewhere – they can normally courier the worms to get you started – most garden centres have worm farm kits with layers and drainage etc. 

    Hope that helps


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