Introduction: Worm Farm - High Rise
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Make sure you check out my other worm farm with volume!
The High rise Worm farm
There are three parts to a worm farm,
1 The basement sewer, (that we love to empty for our plants delight)
2 The middle floor bedroom (we sleep too you know)
3 The top floor dining room (food has to be involved)
In this high rise farm the different rooms are separated by individual containers, this is not always the case as you will see from other worm farm in-structables, but is by far the easiest to do the house keeping on.
The Worm farm in this in-structable, was constructed from Polystyrene boxes of the type commonly seen in the back yard of butchers, grocerys and fish shops in New Zealand and Australia.
Step 1: What You Need
What you will need;
Minimum of three polystyrene boxes, (in my case they measure 100cm x 60cm x 60cm with 2cm thick walls with lids and a bead running around the top of the box which meshes with the lids)
-A plastic tap with washer and nut
(Or some means for controlling and dispensing the contents of the basement box) of the
-A cutter of some description
(For cutting the boxes)
-A drill and drill bit to match the external diameter of your tap barrel.
-Bricks or wooden blocks the width of the containers
(Producing sufficient height when stacked to get a bucket under the tap.)
-Two halve bricks or stones
(Extra for weight)
(Shredded white paper, light cardboard or coconut fibre)
-Extra stability (optional)
Step 2: Construction
Choose a sheltered outdoor location, ideally up against a building on a stable surface out of the wind.
Take the first container (drawing 2) and drill a hole approx 1cm above the inside base in the center of one end, to fit the shaft of the tap, screw it in to place and place the washer and plastic nut on the inside and tighten, then jack it up on the blocks sufficient that the tap can be accessed.
Step 3: Construction
Place the bedroom container on top of the basement container and using the pen mark out where the raised lid bead lays.
Then cut a channel in under side of the bed container down the length of the box just deep enough to capture the bead when you place the box back over the first, and to allow the box to sit snuggly with no gap
Repeat this process for all other levels.
(I did consider cutting the bead off but decided to leave it on despite the hassle to increase the stability)
Step 4: Construction
Using the drill, with no greater than 15mm drill bit, cut a series of holes in the base of all containers excluding the Basement to allow the worms to move around the upper stories of their high rise
Step 5: Construction
Place the bed container on top of the basement container (seat down well) and fill the bed container with bedding of choice. If its shredded paper or cardboard fill to over flowing then hose down with water and refill to over flowing. Do not use newspaper or glossy paper as these both contain a lot of ink. Periodically during the life of the high rise you will need to add more bedding.
Step 6: Worms Move In
Technically speaking there are at least two types of garden earth worm;
- The strong and daring that live in the top layers of the soil and leaves
- The deep dwellers who prefer to deep and dark, coming up only when the rains make it the only option.
In theory the first kind are the right ones for the job in our high rise, however the only time actually brought the right ones ( hardware stores and garden centers in NZ) was when i had my first "can of worms" a very good commercially produced Rolls Royce of indoors worm farms. since then i have just recruited direct from the garden and the all seem to look the same and do the same...
so choose the source of your workers and add them to the bedding to sleep off the jet lag.
Place the food container on top, and about 5cms of food across its bottom, a liter of water to wash it all down and plonk on the lid, and keep and eye on proceedings every couple of days.
About every week you will need to;
1)Ensure the basement is emptied. This is great liquid fertilizer and is often called worm pee
2) Pour about one liter of water in to the food container making sure to disperse this over its entire length, to keep the worms moist and help keep their bedding clean (and ultimately creating the worm pee)
3)Ensure that the bedding material still reaches the base of the food box
4)Add more food to the top box as you did to start with.
Step 7: What Do Worms Eat?
Always over feed your worms as they only breed when there is plenty of food, and if where possible break the scraps down in to small pieces, if you are really keen the worms will love you for putting it all through the blender first - as they do not have teeth at all but wait for the bacteria around to break it all down in to slurpies for them.
so any thing that takes ages to break down is not really good worm food. (ie Citrus peels, teabags and onion skins ) On the other hand things like juicer remains, and pre made slops that you have spun up in the blender are always a treat.
Step 8: How It Works
How it works
The worms move up in to the feeding box chomp and gradually turn your offerings in to lovely sweet smelling worm casts, some of the nutrient value of which runs through in to the worm pee box.
Eventually the worms will fill the dinning room with worm casts at which point it needs to be emptied.
1)Reserve about 5cm of the worm casts
2)Give the dinning room a heavy water this brings the most of the worms in to air seeking mode either on top of the dinning room table or back in to the bedding.
3)Empty the rich worm casts to a use of your choice
4)Top up or replace the bedding material depending on condition
5)Start the process again by adding the 5cm reserved worm casts to the bottom of the dining room container and all the rescued worms to the bedding
If you are starting fresh then then you need worms. Technically i understand there are at least two types of worms in New Zealand, those that live in the humus (compost layer) and those that live deeper.
I have always used the compost worms without difficulty, trapping them by placing pieces of carpet or commercial 40 litre bags of potting mix (how i discovered this) flat in the garden for a few days to a week, then harvesting when i lift.
You can also by worms in a box from some garden stores / Hardware stores
Well feed worms make more worms... as simple as that - you can if you look closely see little white eggs,(cocoons)hence the reason for including handfuls of worm casts in any new start.
There is plenty of information, regarding worms on the Internet - it pays to get to know your workers just like any big boss.