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How to Create Your Own Eco-Friendly Worm Farm

written by: ttwriter•edited by: Paul Arnold•updated: 4/8/2013

Using worms to create an eco-friendly garden may be one of nature's best kept secrets. Worm farming does not require a lot of work and can be fun and educational for the entire family. Here's a simple guide to make your own eco-friendly worm farm.

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    What You Will Need and Instructions

    Make Your Own Worm Compost Bin You will need to purchase two medium size bins. The cost of medium storage bins is approximately four to six dollars a piece. Normally storage bins can be found at department stores or discount centers. When purchasing make sure the bins have lids.

    You will also need an electric or battery operated drill with a 1/8 inch bit.

    Instructions:

    1) Drill approximately 12 holes in the top of the first bin.

    2) Then drill another twelve holes in the bottom of the first bin.

    3) Find two bricks and place them about six inches apart in the bottom of the second bin.

    4) Place the first bin on top of the bricks in the second bin.The bricks will help create a false bottom allowing air flow and a place for worm tea to collect.

    5) Shred or tear enough newspaper to fill up the top plastic bin.

    6) Tear some pieces of cord board and place in the top bin. The worms will actually feed off the newspaper and card board.

    7) Get a small bucket of water. Dip your hand in the water and begin to sprinkle the water over the shredded paper and cord board. Continue until the newspaper and cord board become spongy. If you sprinkle too much water into the bin, do not panic, the holes in the bottom will be sufficient for draining out the excess water.

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    Choosing Worms for Your Worm Farm

    Most worm farmers start their worm farms with Red Wigglers. These can be ordered on the Internet or bought at bait stores. Typically bait stores charge three or four dollars for a box of approximately thirty worms.This number is sufficient to begin your worm farm.

    Once you have purchased the worms, you are ready to begin worm farming. Simply empty your box of worms into the moistened newspaper and let the worms start doing their thing. They will eat and reproduce. Remember to keep your worms away from extreme cold. I moved my worm farm inside during the coldest months of winter. Worms should not be placed in conditions that are less than 35 degrees. Heat usually does not affect worms as long as they are kept in a shaded area and there is plenty of moisture.

    Some day you will have to divide your worms and start a new farm because of their rapid reproduction rate. When you have enough worms to start a second farm you may want to consider selling some of them to bait stores or others who desire to start a worm farm. It can be a great way to earn some extra income.

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    Feeding Your Worms

    Feeding worms very easy on the pocket. And the first place to go to rustle them up some grub is your refrigerator. Worms will feed on old wilted lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli for example, and they will eat their weight in vegetation each day. You can either lay the food on top of your worm farm or place it down into the newspaper. Wherever you place it in your bin, the worms will find it. For an added treat try feeding your worms some fresh coffee grounds or tea grounds.

    Worms have a unique way of digesting their food. They actually have a gizzard which is used to grind up their food for digestion. Worms can only take small particles in their mouths and microorganisms soften their food. In addition they need some small particles like sand to help grind their food before digesting it. The muscles in the gizzard compress the food and grinding materials against each other to aid digestion.

    Egg shells also work well as a grinding material. Once you have removed the yolk and egg white from your eggs, wash the shells with plain water. Then set them aside to dry. Once they have dried, place them in your hands and crush them by rubbing them rapidly between your palms. Then sprinkle the finely ground egg shells into the worm farm.

    Caution: Do not feed your worms meat, fat, or dairy products. These will kill your them because they introduce harmful bacteria into your worm farm.

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    Worm Castings and Worm Tea

    Worms play a major role in keeping the earth fertile and green.They actually create soil and keep the soil from becoming too hard. Worm manure is very beneficial to the soil and is a great fertilizer for plants. The manure from a worm is called "castings." As moisture passes through the castings, a dark liquid will form and drip through the small holes in the bottom of your second bin. This dark-colored liquid is called "worm tea." Worm tea is very potent as a natural fertilizer. It repels aphids, spider mites, scale and white flies.

    Worm tea is sought after by gardeners at farm stores and places where natural fertilizers are sold. It is recognized as a highly concentrated liquid fertilizer. It is sold for approximately fifteen to twenty dollars a quart. Think about the money you will save by manufacturing your own.

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    Harvesting Castings and Worm Tea

    Worm Castings as Natural Fertilizer Once the worm tea has collected in the bottom of your second bin, tilt the bin and drain the worm tea through the corner into a jar. Then remove the castings from the first bin and place them in a zip lock bag.

    Be patient as it may take a little while for your worms to create worm tea and castings, but the wait will be worth it. Your organic garden and flowers will flourish without all the dangerous man-made chemicals that may harm you and your family

    Try sprinkling some worm castings and worm tea around your flowers and vegetation. It does not take much of either. A handful of castings and a splash of worm tea should be enough to do the trick. After you sprinkle the castings and worm tea, water the soil around your plant to make sure that this natural fertilizer reaches all the way down to the roots. You will be extremely satisfied with the results as you grow beautiful flowers and vegetables year in and year out.

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