Get recycling with a worm farm

Monday August 21, 2017 Written by Published in Environment
Provided you choose the right kind of worms, setting up a worm farm can be easy. 17081825 Provided you choose the right kind of worms, setting up a worm farm can be easy. 17081825

This weekly column is supplied by Te Ipukarea Society. It deals with conservation and environmental issues of interest to the Cook Islands.


Here’s some food for thought.

Did you know that every 6kg of unsorted rubbish sent to the landfill emits nearly 5kgs of greenhouse gases into our atmosphere?

Fortunately, most of this waste can be sorted and disposed of in an eco-friendly manner.

One fun solution to solving this problem includes building a homemade worm farm of your

own. Worm farms have many benefits. Not only are they an easy and fun way for people of all ages to get hands-on in recycling kitchen waste, but because they produce rich natural compost for your garden, and valuable “worm tea”, both of which act as an effective fertiliser for your plants.

Making a worm farm of your own can be a whole lot of fun and more importantly very cost effective. You can recycle or make a suitable worm farm from wood, plastic or metal, old tyres and even bath tubs make for great worm farms.

Cook island resident Karen Tairea has taken the initiative to build a worm farm of her own and has achieved this through the use of five recyclable materials. They include three plastic tubs, one small pot plant, one tap (can use hose), one 44 gallon drum lid and one potato sack. Here’s how she does it:

Ensure your three containers are around 20-40cm deep with a relatively large surface area (about 40x40-60cm), because worms like to work near the surface.

Worms need air to live, so put a few small holes in the bottom of two of your containers and in the centre of one of your containers to allow for aeration and drainage. If the contents get too wet, more holes will have to be drilled.

Your bin with holes in the centre of the container will act as the base for your worm farm. Place a small pot plant over the centre of your drilled holes to act as a plug to prevent worm tea from dripping out but allowing for air to pass through the bottom of the worm farm. Insert a small tap or hose at the bottom of this container for your worm tea to drain out of.

Place one of the other containers with multiple holes on top of the base container. Ensure to lay a potato sack at the bottom of this middle container to prevent any solids passing through to the base container.

Place the last container with multiple holes drilled on top of the middle container. Fill this container up with compost three quarters of the way.

Now it is time to find your worms. However, you can’t just put any old worm into your worm farm, you need a particular type of compost worm also known as a “red wriggler”.

These worms feed on the surface of the ground. You can usually find them around muddy pig pens or under puru piles. These worms are different to earth worms as they are typically skinnier and wrigglier.

You will need about 100 of these worms to start off your worm farm bin. From this population they will multiply into thousands if looked after correctly.

Once you have placed your worms on top of the compost in the top container, ensure you feed them with your vegetable and fruit scraps. Then place a lid on top of your worm farm to let all the composting action begin!

If you need any more information in how to maintain a healthy worm farm swing by into the Te Ipukarea Society office, main road Tupapa, so we can provide you with more information.  And a big Meitaki Maata to Karen for sharing her experience and photos.


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