Starting a worm farm

I’m very slap dash when it comes to starting a new worm farm. Traditional instructions for starting a worm farm are quite careful and prescriptive. If you’re new to worms (or you’re in an apartment), I’d recommend that you follow the sensible advice on other sites.

So here is my cheap and easy way to raise worms:


  1. Find a suitable farming container. A 50-60L plastic garbage bin is perfect. They are UV stabilised, and relatively cheap. Important! Make sure that your bin has a secure lid to keep vermin out. If you’re a beginner, have a bad back or you’re not very strong, I suggest you buy a commercial worm farm from the garden centre or hardware store, as these are more manageable than using a large garbage bin.
  2. Drill 8x 5-10mm holes in the base of the bin (remove the legs if your container has them, so it sits close to the ground). These are for drainage and to let the worms escape. If you have a commercial farm, you may not want to drill the bottom, just leave the tap open so that liquid and worms can escape.
  3. Place the container in a shaded area (under a deciduous tree is perfect, shade in summer, sun in winter). If you place the bin under trees, you might like to raise the bin a little by sitting in on bricks, or placing a piece of carpet underneath to stop tree roots from invading the bin.
  4. Place your worms in the bottom of the bin and cover with a layer of straw, shredded paper (non toxic inks), or loosely balled newspaper.
  5. To start with, feed your worms a cup full of food a day until their population gets established. Feed your worms all food scraps except:
    • Solanums: Tomato, potato, eggplant, capsicum
    • Sweets: cakes, cookies, or other sugary foods
    • Dairy: cheese, cream, butter, etc.
    • Citrus: lemon, mandarin, orange, grapefruit, lime, etc.
    • Alliums: onions, garlic, leek, etc.
    • Meat, or seafood scraps.
  6. Feed your worms paper! They love it. Unbleached, non-toxic.
  7. Water your worms regularly. The easiest way is to tip your unfinished tea or water into your worm food bin. The holes in the bottom of the bin will ensure that the worm farm is well drained, and the worms don’t drown. It’s also a good way to dilute the worm wee and feed the tree your worm farm lives beneath.

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