Discovering a hidden haven in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria, Australia

Warning: Post contains images of wriggly (and out-of-focus) worms!

My ‘re-conditioned’ worm farm has been up and running for a couple of weeks now. Here are my early discoveries:

1. 499 housemates really aren’t enough (when you’re a compost worm).

Blurry happy worms

Having read several different suggestions of how many worms a worm farm should be started with, I have since found Red Worms informative blog which told me two very  important things. apparently worms eat half their body weight each day and it takes 90 days for worms to double their number.  I realised from this that if I really wanted my compost turned into wonderful worm tea in the foreseeable future, I needed more worms! Another 500 worms have just moved in to the apartment today.

2. Strawberries are favourite.

So far the worms have tried potato peelings, bananas and few strawberries that have gone mushy. They like the bananas, but they looooove strawberries. They are not particularly fond of potato peelings, but I guess I wouldn’t take those over strawberries and bananas either! I am however a little worried that too many strawberries might be a bit acidic, so I won’t go too overboard with them.

3. Don’t overfeed the worms!!!

A little too much food. Hopefully the new worms will deal with that!

OK, so I said in the original post that I stared the worms off with about a cup full of food. Well, that was a little inaccurate. An over-generous hand of what was probably closer to three cups was too much for my newly settling worms who don’t need much in their first week or two. The compost was rotting quicker than they could munch it and this resulted in a need to distribute a little garden lime in the farm to get things sorted.

4. Learn a little patience *sigh*

Now I just have to be patient and wait for my worms to settle and re-produce and, most importantly, start producing some wonderful worm wee for my garden!

More later on how things develop!

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Comments on: "Worm Learnings: When 499 Housemates Isn’t Enough." (16)

  1. This is fascinating! I wonder why the strawberries are so appealing?
    It would never have occurred to me that you could overfeed worms, but of course.
    Keep us updated on how they go!

    • Hi Karly 🙂
      I’m not sure about the stawberries myself, I’m thinking it might just be because they become nice and soft very quickly!
      As for the overfeeding – we seem to do that to everything in our house 😉

  2. I am learning so much from you about worm farming. Definitely a subject that prior to reading your blog, I knew nothing about. 500 more? I can’t wait to hear how things progress :^)

  3. Thanks for such a lovely comment Noelle 🙂
    Of course the million dollar question is will 1000 be enough?!

  4. A worm farm – how wonderful. I’ve never cultivated the worms themselves, but I do love finding them in a spadefull of dirt. My 4 & 5 year old boys just found a small family in my indoor ficus tree – it was such a fun discovery for them! Worms in the living room – a whole new experience for all of us. Thanks for visiting my site and best of luck with the worms. Kelly

    • Hello Kelly and thanks for coming by for a visit!
      Worms in an indoor plant? I’ve never heard of that before! They’re probably doing the ficus a world of good and who knows – it might start a new trend for indoor plants 🙂

  5. I’ve been considering starting a compost bin (something we should have already been doing)…and I’ve wondered how things progress when you add worms. It’s very interesting. Keep posting on your progress;-)

    • Hi Jan and thanks for stopping by and commenting 🙂
      Are you thinking of starting a composting worm farm or adding them to a freestanding compost bin? It would be interesting to compare notes!

  6. I have always wanted to have worms in a bin. The worm castings would be a fantastic organic amendment. You look like you have your hands full!

  7. I forgot to say I bet there is Freecycle in Austrailia. I believe there are groups all over the world. I love it.

    • Hi Tina and thanks for popping in! I am quite taken with my wriggly worms (my family is a little concerned :D) I’m just far too imatient for them to produce castings and ‘worm tea’!

      Thank you so much for the info on Freecycle – it turns out there are groups in Australia and even one quite close to me which was quite a surprise! I’m off to investiage further 😉

  8. Hi
    I love your blog. I also have a question. My 2nd layer of worm farm is very smelly, I think from overfeeding.What should I do? Have already applied lime
    regards
    Robyn

    • Hello Robyn and thanks for visiting 🙂

      I’m learning by trial and error with my worm farm, so I’m no expert about them, but my thoughts would be checking the following things:

      How many worms do you have? Do they need more housemates too?

      Is the food that is waiting to be eaten rotting before it’s munched? Maybe more lime and physically remove some of it.

      Don’t give them any more food until they’ve eaten what’s on their plate 🙂

      Is there any onion or citrus in the food? I understand that they will eat only a little of these, so pull it out if there is too much, or it will get smelly.

      Other than that I’d maybe a have a look at http://www.reln.com.au/pdfs/Worm_Factory_Booklet.pdf It’s an instruction book for a worm farm, but if you scroll through it you will find some good Q & As about feeding and maintaining the worms.

      I hope this helps and I look forward to hearing how you go!

  9. We don’t have worms in an indoor bin, but our clay soil is rich in earthworms and other soil fauna, mainly because we enrich it with compost and manure and never use pesticides. I love worms, and to turn the compost heap out behind the barn and find it full of assorted worms just makes me happy. I hope the new arrivals do as well as the first 499 housemates.

  10. Hi Jodi and thanks for stopping by 🙂

    I have earthworms in some of my garden where we’ve managed to add a bit of organic material, but our soil is so poor it’s going to take awhile to get things up to scratch in that department! In the meantime I hope the little composters can give a few plants a boost!

  11. […] up and working out how much compost to feed them. I worried that I would accidently starve them so I overfed them more than once, but I think it is a pretty standard mistake to make.  Worms eat very little when they are […]

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