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1 March 2005
Worm Farms
Find out how to build your own worm farm.

JOSH BYRNE: In Australia, over half of the household material that end up at the tip is organic waste, and when it is buried can lead to groundwater contamination and the production of greenhouse gases - environmentally unsound and also wasteful because through natural processes this organic matter can safely and easily be converted into soil-building humus.

One of the best ways for gardeners is to use composting worms to convert food scraps into high quality soil conditioner.

And one of the easiest things to use? Bathtubs. Every garden should have one.

Worm castings are literally black gold and these little wrigglers are the most willing workers that can be found in the garden.

Composting worms are different to the deep-burrowing earthworms that aerate the soil. They're surface dwellers that thrive in the leaf litter layers in moist regions around the world.

There are three common types of composting worms; Tiger worms, Indian Blues and Red Wrigglers.

They can be hard to tell apart, but don't worry. They live quite happily together and all require similar conditions - cool, moist, dark, oxygen-rich environments and a steady supply of food.

And while there are ready-made worm farms available, it's dead easy to make your own.

Two of these will take the food scraps of an average family of four, plus a dog.

This one's been in use for six months. One side's fed at a time, which brings the worms across to the food. The other side is now just left as beautiful castings, ready for the garden.

You can see the worms have left this end, leaving nothing but luscious castings.

Worm castings really are precious, and a little amount can go a long way.

Now comes the really fun part, feeding the castings to our plants.

A small handful of castings mixed in with the planting holes of these celery seedlings will get them off to a great start, ensuring that the new tender roots have ready access to a smorgasbord of nutrients and plenty of moisture.

Liquid worm castings also make an excellent quick feed fertiliser.

I find a good mix is a generous handful of castings to a 9 litre bucket of water, and stir it vigorously. A weekly application during the growing season will produce outstanding results. The best thing about worm castings is you won't burn your plants by over-fertilising.

It's that simple. So before throwing out your scraps, think about converting it to nature's own fertiliser, saving you money, giving you great results in the garden, and cutting down on waste.

story notes

 end up
finish in a situation or place after a series of events
Example: You'll end up without a job if you're always late.
See what else end up means by following the link.
more information: end up

 composting worms
A composting worm is a worm that can change food scraps into compost.
Compost is food for soil. It's an organic mixture that gives soil all the things it needs to be healthy and grow healthy plants.

The word convert is pronounced differently when it's used as a noun for someone who has changed their beliefs. Follow the link and listen to the difference.
more information: convert

A conditioner conditions or improves the quality of something.

Bathtub is a long way of saying a bath. We can say bathtub, bath or tub. They all mean the same thing.

 worm castings
Worms eat through food scraps, and turn it all into castings. Castings are things that have been cast, or left behind.They're the waste product of worms.

Ready-made means something that has already been made for you. You just go and buy it. This is a ready-made worm farm.

 dead easy
Dead easy is slang. It means very, very easy.
Example: Learning English with English Bites is dead easy.

 nature's own fertiliser
A fertiliser is a plant conditioner. It's spread on soil around plants to make them grow better.
Nature's own fertiliser just means a natural fertiliser, one made from nature, not from chemicals or artificial ingredients.