Who would ever think that a bunch of kitchen leftover and garbage could turn out to be something productive and useful- this is where the wonder of worm farms comes in.
Surprisingly, worm farms are a great way of turning leftover kitchen scraps into rich yet affordable and highly-potent organic fertilizer.
This is especially true if you happen to live in a small apartment where you can create your own worm farm right smack in your balcony, porch or small yard, since all that is needed is a cool and well shaded spot.
If you think that making a worm farm is difficult, think again, all you need are your daily kitchen scraps and leftovers and polystyrene boxes, better yet, even used broccoli boxes from vegetable and fruit shops.
Start off by choosing a nice spot for worms to live and make sure that the spot is not too hot nor too cold.
If you happen to use polystyrene boxes, you will need at least two with one needing a lid. If a lid is not available, one can make a simple piece using a breathable yet sturdy box boards or cement-bonded thin plywood-like sheets.
Since these polystyrene boxes do not have holes in them, you will need to make about 20-30 small holes the size of a 50-cent coin in the bottom of one box.
Then place the lid on the box with the holes and place this on top of the one without the holes, since placing one top of the other will maximize limited space.
The bottom box will also catch the liquid or urine produced by the worms, which is called the worm tea and is also a good alternative to liquid fertilizers.
In the box with the holes, place about 2 inches of bedding made from compost, which is a mixture of shredded paper, box cartons and withered leaves.
The compost bedding should be around 2 to 3 inches deep and you can add in around 1,000-1,200 worms per box.
You can find hundreds of worm growers all over America who cultures and sell worms for farming, you may look them up using the Yellow Pages or searching on the Internet, especially if you hope to find one within your locality or one that is close to where you are.
Worms used for worm farms are ideally called compost worms and are not the same as the the common earthworm that can be found anywhere.
Ideal ones that can be used for worm farms are the red wrigglers and tiger worms.
You may need to cover the bedding with a layer of newspaper, old torn carpets or any material that will keep the worm bedding dark and moist.
Once the worms start burrowing into the bedding, in about two to three days, you can start adding small amounts of kitchen scraps and leftovers like fruit peelings except from acidic fruits like oranges and citruses, vegetables, used tea leaves and ground coffee, but make sure to shred it into small tiny pieces for quick consumption and easy digestion.
Avoid oil-based foods and dairy products, since these are also acidic for worms.
Make it a point not to resume feeding after the previous feeding batch is totally or almost 95% consumed.
Adequate and balanced feeding allow worms to produce manure or a by-product which is a rich, soil-like substance called “castings” or “vermicompost” which is one of the best fertilizers that ensure productive and healthy vegetation.
To harvest castings from the worm farm bed, you can move the castings by gathering them to one side of the tray and add new food to the other side to allow the worms to forage on the new food source, which will allow you to scrape off the castings from the other side.
The liquid that collects at the bottom of the box is worm urine mixed and is also called the ‘worm tea’ and can be used as liquid fertilizer once diluted with water.
Nowadays, it would be best to make the most out of everything, including what could be recycled and redone – that is the wonder of worm farms.