Setting up a worm farm for large-scale use (such as for in a community garden) or home use is super easy, and can be done very cost effectively using reclaimed materials. Here are our recommendations and some set-up tips for both large-scale and home worm farms.
Farm for large-scale use
Large-scale worm farms are easily set up using an IBC - IBC stands for intermediate bulk container. These are plastic cubes (1 cubic metre or 1000L cube) that have a metal cage providing extra strength during shipping (here is an example). We are converting IBCs into worm farms and they are awesome for large-scale farming because they are the equivalent of 35 regular black household worm farms!
Our IBCs come from a food processing factory in Thomastown and general bulk liquids such as vegetable oil, vinegar and honey have been stored in them. These are suggested for community gardens or composting hubs, and can occasionally be used in people's backyards (especially if they are building a suburban farm like us!).
home worm farming
We have experimented with a number of different home worm farm set-ups and we recommend either running multiple black boxes (you can buy them at Bunnings) or checking your local council in case something awesome like this is happening.
We like the no cost version - which includes sourcing 1-2 old bathtubs from Gumtree (or the side of the road) and converting them into worm farms.
In a few easy steps, you'll have your worm farm up and running in no time!
The first step is to make a stand to keep it off the ground (so the worm juice can flow through easily).
The second step is to provide some drainage for the worms, usually by adding a layer of stones.
The third step requires some landscaping fabric or hessian (coffee bags are great) to provide a barrier between the worm bedding and stones.
You then need to provide a layer of worm bedding, which is the shredded newspaper or cardboard, existing compost and horse manure .
Then you add your worms and some food (green waste) for your worms!
You will need to add some water and keep it nice and damp and cover it over with hessian or anything made from a natural fiber.
This basic set up is the same for both the bath tubs and the IBCs.
Bath tub set up:
Bucket to catch worm juice
Stones x 15kg
Hessian x 1 coffee bag for bottom, 4 for the top
Horse poo (few scoops)
Compost (few scoops)
IBC set up:
Angle grinder to modify the cage and cut the plastic
Coffee bags x 2
Shredded newspaper x lots
Horse poo x 1 sack
10,000 worms to make your system run right away
You need to monitor the moisture level twice a week - spray with the hose or use a watering can as required.
There is a squeeze test that you can do on the compost - you need to pick up a handful of compost and when you squeeze it tight in both hands you should have a bit of moisture coming out (you don't want it to be muddy or dry).
Feed twice a week (when you check the moisture levels.) The amount of food you use depends on the amount of worms you have in your system. 4000 worms is about 1kg of worms - this many worms should be able to consume around 1kg a day (in the right circumstances). Click here for a list of things to include/not include.