Commandomatic Worm Farm 2013

Commandomatic Worm Farm 2013

Commandomatic Worm Farm 2013

Over the past few years I have made several worm farms. My first was a simple polystyrene box with a lid and a tap. This worked well for my first batch of worms (supposedly 1000) and they soon bred up. I kept this farm in my shed out of direct sunlight.

As the worms  bred up it became obvious that a larger system was needed so I devised a wheelie bin farm using a 60l wheelie bin from Go-Lo. I kept this on the garden verandah. I seeded it with half of the worms from the foam box and left half to continue in that farm. The Wheelie Bin failed for two reasons: first there were too many air holes in the bin causing excessive drying of the bedding and secondly the bin got too hot in summer and those worms all died or left.

My next worm farm was made from an old Tucker Box chest freezer with a 120l capacity. This was also outside under the shade of a White Cedar tree near the pig pen. This became an outstanding success and worms in this farm did very well and rapidly bred up. I stocked it again with half of the worms from the foam box farm.

As the worm numbers increased and another chest freezer became available I made up the commandomatic freezer farm. I used the rest of the worms from the foam box to stock this but alas it failed. I am sure the design was good but the position was wrong. While I was at work in summer it took the full brunt of the summer sun for several hours and the worms died.

I decided to position it more carefully and this summer it was under another powton and white cedar on the southwest side of the house as shown in the picture above. This time I seeded it with just 20 worms from the Tucker B ox Farm and tested it over the summer months. The result was a success and the worms thrived and increased. Because this is a 300 litre capacity I harvested the worms from the Tucker Box freezer and put half in each farm and that should suit for a year or two.

Stage 1. The compost removed from the farm and tipped onto the grading table. The outer layers are gradually scraped away from the outer surface until worms are exposed. The worms burrow into the compost to escape the light. Wait a few minutes and scrape some more away.

Stage 1. The compost removed from the farm and tipped onto the grading table. The outer layers are gradually scraped away from the outer surface until worms are exposed. The worms burrow into the compost to escape the light. Wait a few minutes and scrape some more away.

Stage 2. Scrape away some more compost and clean up the casting to use as fertilizer. Repeat process ever reducing the mass of castings.

Stage 2. Scrape away some more compost and clean up the casting to use as fertilizer. Repeat process ever reducing the mass of castings.

 

Stage 3. The quantity of castings is ever diminishing with every round of scraping. No worms ever leave the table and the concentration of worms in the pile is increasing.

Stage 3. The quantity of castings is ever diminishing with every round of scraping. No worms ever leave the table and the concentration of worms in the pile is increasing.

Stage 4. Very little left in the castings pile as you can see against the paint scraper.

Stage 4. Very little left in the castings pile as you can see against the paint scraper.

 

Final Stage. The last layers of castings scraped away and the seething mass of worms are swept onto the dustpan. Becaus there have been several splits before the quantity is not as great as it once was but there are at least 5000 worms in this harvest. Half back into each worm farm will put about 2,500 in each freezer. Not bad and next year should be even better.

Final Stage. The last layers of castings scraped away and the seething mass of worms are swept onto the dustpan. Because there have been several splits before the quantity is not as great as it once was but there are at least 5000 worms in this harvest (determined by weight). Half back into each worm farm will put about 2,500 in each freezer. Not bad and next year should be even better.

 

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