Completed Worm Farm

8:37 pm in Getting Started, How-Tos, made from scratch (without a kit), Nutrients, Nutrition, Other Cool Urban Ag. Stuff, posts with pitcures!, R&D-I-Y by Neal Nesbitt

So this post was supposed to come about a week ago, but I’ve been lazy… Remember this is still a patched together prototype. I’m going to let it go a while and see where the kinks are for when I build my next one.

Here’s a link to the first post, and how this all got started: Worm Farm


Last post I had 2 frames completed, and here’s what’s happened since:

First of all I was tired of using a chairs as sawhorses, so I got a 2×8 and made my own. Took maybe half an hour. They’re simple, they work, and they’re much easier on my back and legs since they’re lower to the ground.

Got those 2 frames nailed up and put a couple layers of netting on.

I’m sure there’s a better way to do this, but I thought about it for quite a while and this is the best I could come up with. I wanted to use plastic because I was afraid metal screen would rust or somehow get into the dirt and mess with the worms. I was also worried about sharp edges, and in general plastic seemed like the way to go. I stretched 2 layers of netting at different angles and tightened them each like a drum head over the frames. They hold moist dirt pretty well, and I like how I can take them off and replace them if the need arises. This begs the question though as to why I used dovetails for the frames if I was just going to use nails for the netting…maybe I just like dovetails, ok? =P

Be warned, dry peat falls right through this stuff. Line it with paper before adding, or make sure your peat is moist enough to clump up. You don’t want soggy peat though either, it’ll suffocate the worms: find your balance.

Anyhoo, with the frames done and netted it was time for a lid to keep out the light and a tray to catch drips and whatnot underneath. Simple plastic lid for the tray, scrap wood from making the sawhorses to hold the frames off of it, and more nails on the lid since I didn’t feel like chopping mortises. In general if I tried the whole peg and wedge thing I’m pretty sure I would have split the boards and blah blah blah, excuses.

So here we have it: a completed home for my new redworms! =)

They showed up in the mail today, and I was too worried about making sure they were safe to take pictures. I’m a little worried the peat is too dry, but they seem happy. I had set aside a couple buckets for pre-composting their food, and I used that on top of a layer of paper towels as bedding.

Food for worms is basically vegan with no acids (no onions, garlic, or citrus), and in general you want to stay away from fats and oils (they make things smell). Anything paper is good for a neutralizer as well. Worms apparently have gizzards, which means they need grit to digest stuff, and in general paper and peat are great for that and keep it smelling just like dirt. It’s kinda cool that they eat the same things I do. ^_^ …well, except the paper and dirt part

My first piece of compost was a tortilla I left out too long and it dried up. =( And then the inside of the farm.

Left the top two layers empty. Redworms live in the surface of the pile, so I was thinking if I filled it all the way initially, the bottom stuff would just rot and smell the place up while the worms went to the top. I’ll fill it as stuff gets broken down.

So there’s my final setup. Compost in the buckets, rainwater in the sprayer, paper scraps in the bag. And then there’s a little guy/girl (they’re hermaphrodites) checking out the outside world. =)

We’ll see how it works out. As stuff get’s broken up I’ll cycle the layers so the worms will always be moving up into new compost. The bottom layers are then the leftovers from the worms, which I’ll use to make worm tea for my windowfarm. I’ve also got a couple pots out on the porch I’ll put the leftover dry material in after the tea is done.

If you want to know about compost tea and nutrients, I’ve collected a few youtube videos in a playlist that’ll hopefully help. Check it out: Nutrients Playlist