Whenever anyone asks me where they should start when it comes to composting I always say get a composting worm farm.
Composting using worms would have to be the most cost effective, space efficient and hands off way to process your waste. The added benefit is the compost it creates, which just quietly, is our secret weapon to building beautiful soil that grows amazing vegetables.
We’ve had various setups over the past so in this post I am going to share with you what we’ve used and what we currently use.
It should be worth noting that compost worms are very different from regular garden worms. Regular garden worms prefer soil, they won't compost scraps like the composting varieties.
Types of composting worm farms
There are loads of different options commercially or DIY available for backyard worm farming. There are a few main types you may want to consider:
- Stacking Worm farms
- Basic Totes/ Containers
- Large Tubs
- Continuous Flow Through Systems
The Worm Can / Cafe
The can o worms was our first entrance into the world of composting, it’s a stacked system that works in the way that the worms eventually travel to the top and leave the castings below. We had our can of worms for near on 15 years. We also had lots of fails along the way as we find our feet around proper worm care. It’s been the place of mass worm genocide and a trapped rat that managed to gnaw it’s way out. All of which would not have been an issue had I ignored the instructions that came with it and learned about proper worm care in the first place.
I find the can of worms is great for harvesting castings. However, the castings are so wet and gross and full of yucky leachate that they aren’t the best candidate for applying directly to your garden. But having said that it is an easy way to enter the land of composting worms.
The Worm Tote
Once I learned more about the fact that juice from your composting worm farm is actually not ideal and means your conditions are bad I started experimenting with a worm tote. Essentially it’s just a bucket. I found this system far more efficient and the worms seemed far happier. And a bargain considering I just up cycled an empty washing powder bucket. Not to mention space saving - I had just as many worms as my can o worms and I could fit the farm under my kitchen sink.
The Worm Bath Tub
We had an unfortunate incident inside our house where a burst water pipe meant ripping out our bathtub. The bath tub inside still isn't fixed but instead we now have an amazing worm tub. The tub got a rodent and rain proof door and put it on legs so it’s at perfect height. The worms are thriving in the tub and the casting gold we are harvesting is next level. Not the soppy mess of the can o worms. The density of bedding is perfect for worm retreat so they don’t suffer from temperature variances and they are thriving without a lot of input from me, which is how you want it to be.
The Worm Bin
If you don’t happen to have a burst water pipe and lucky enough to score yourself a bathtub definitely check out Continuous flow through systems (CFT). A popular choice at the moment is the Worms Down Under product (not sponsored or affiliated just a local biz). You can make one yourself pretty easily, but that will depend on your DIY skills (mine is lacking incredibly).
If you’re not having much luck with worms, I’ve put together an ebook on proper worm care which you can grab from here, it also outlines a bunch of other worm housing options plus plans to the DIY options we’ve made in the past.
Do you currently have a composting worm setup? What type do you have? Leave a comment below