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Do you have a worm farm?

Worms are wonderful workers. We reckon that a thriving worm farm is the best (and cheapest) way to produce high-quality organic fertiliser for your trees.

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But like all workers, they’ll only give you their best if they have excellent working conditions.

Through summer (and particularly in a heatwave) it’s really important to give them some extra care and attention.

Hugh explaining how to care for your worm farm at a Connecting Country soils workshop held at our place
Hugh explaining how to care for your worm farm at a Connecting Country soils workshop held at our place

What conditions do worms like?

Generally speaking, worms don’t like extremes like:

  • too hot,
  • too cold,
  • too wet, or
  • too dry.

However, climate change means that summer conditions are becoming more extreme, and more variable. We’ve already noticed that here on the farm.

That means your worms are more likely to experience the sorts of weather they hate, more often.

Here are our top 5 tips for keeping your worm farm happy in all weather

  1. Keep it as cool as possible.

Worms don’t like extremes of temperature if it’s too hold or too cold. It’s best if you can put your worm farm somewhere where the temperature stays relatively constant and doesn’t fluctuate too much. A cellar is ideal, but a garage or even laundry is also good.

2. Position it out of the sun.

If it’s outside, make sure your worm farm is not in direct sun at any time of the day. Sunlight can quickly cause it to overheat, and worms hate direct light.

3. Cover the top of your worm farm with something.

This helps to keep the moisture in and the hot dry air out. There are lots of things you can use, such as newspaper, cardboard, old carpet, or underfelt (woollen). Give them a good soak, and then place them directly on the surface of your worm farm. It’ll make a huge difference. (Just be careful with old underfelt as sometimes it might have been treated with insecticide.)

4. Keep it moist.

This is probably the main reason worm farms fail. There should always be a bit of moisture dripping out of the bottom. If you grab a handful of the contents it should feel very moist. You should even be able to wring a couple of drips out.

5. Provide adequate drainage

Too much moisture is as bad as not enough. If water can’t easily drain through and away, you’ll soon find that the occupants either drown or disappear.

If you follow these tips there’s no reason why your worms won’t happily keep devouring your kitchen scraps and other organic waste right through the hottest weather.

A lovely moist handful of worms, babies, and eggs
A lovely moist handful of worms, babies, and eggs

Troubleshooting your worm farm

It sounds simple, right?

Unfortunately, we find that a lot of people have trouble with their worm farms.

But even worse is when people assume a worm farm is too much work, and don’t try to start one in the first place.

Luckily, the same principles for creating a successful worm farm apply, no matter how big or small your worm farm is.

If you’re yet to venture into the wonderful world of worms, it’s worth your time to find out more.

You’ll soon be reaping incredible benefits from these powerhouse workers in your garden.

A miracle-worker worm in the compost
A miracle-worker worm in the compost

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