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How to make a wormery

Updated April 17, 2017

A wormery is an environmentally friendly way of disposing of organic waste. Worms will eat much of the daily waste you encounter in your kitchen, and by adding a tap to your wormery you can use the liquid produced as a fertilizer for the garden. Wormeries are available for sale, but using an old plastic dustbin you can create your own without spending a lot of money.

Decide whether you will use your wormery for fertilizer or not. If you plan to tap off the liquid, drill a hole near the base of the dustbin and fit a screw tap, available at most do-it-yourself stores. Drill some drainage holes in a circular piece of wood and place this 8 to 10cm (3 to 4in) from the base of the wormery so that it is wedged in place and the liquid can gather in a reservoir below. If you are not using the liquid from your wormery, drill drainage holes directly into the base of your dustbin and fill with 8 to 10cm (3 to 4in) of coarse sand or gravel before wedging a circular board with drainage holes on top of this.

Add a layer of well-rotted compost manure or leaf mould about 8cm (3in) thick on top of the board.

Introduce at least 100 Brandling or Tiger worms to the wormery. These can often be found in well-rotted compost and are available for sale from garden centres and online specialists.

Place a litre of chopped food on one side of the bin. Worms love vegetable peelings, salad and fruit but you can also feed them cereals, egg shells, coffee grounds, cheese, bread, rice and pasta. Meat and fish should be avoided, as they are likely to attract vermin. Grass cuttings should also be avoided, due to the ammonia produced as it heats, and any diseased plant material, seeds or faeces should not be put in the wormery. Once you have chosen your food, cover it with a layer of well moistened newspaper.

Leave the wormery for at least two weeks for the worms to settle in. After this period, begin to add more food. You should feed your worms a variety of food but never overfeed as this can kill them. If there is a lot of food in the wormery, refrain from adding more.

Tip

You should only use Brandling or Tiger worms in your wormery as these will eat through the food you place in the bin faster than other earthworms.

If your wormery begins to smell, it is probably too wet. Empty the contents and mix well with compost before returning to the bin. Conversely, if the wormery is too dry and not decomposing food, empty the contents and mix well with food before returning to the bin.

Warning

Keep your wormery covered at all times as any decomposing matter can attract flies.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic dustbin with lid
  • Drill
  • Circle of wood
  • 100-plus Brandling or Tiger worms
  • Compost or leaf mould
  • Newspaper
  • Waste food or produce
  • Tap (optional)
  • Coarse sand or gravel (optional)
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