A worm farm is a composting system that uses red wigglers or tiger worms, a type of composting worm, to turn food waste, garden waste, waste paper and cardboard into nutrient-rich compost.

Follow these easy steps to set up and use a worm farm

1. Choose a suitable location

Select a location for your worm farm that is out of direct sunlight and protected from extreme temperatures. Carports or sheltered porches are ideal.


Location of worm farm.

2. Set up the worm farm

Purchase a worm farm kit or build your own using a container, bedding material, and a drain system. The container should have a lid and holes for ventilation. Fill the container with a mixture of bedding material, such as shredded newspaper, coconut coir, or peat moss, and moisten it until it is evenly damp.


Set up the worm farm.

3. Add the worms

Purchase red wigglers or tiger worms from a composting worm supplier. You can also lay down some wet cardboard in a shady part of your garden and composting worms will come to the surface. Add them to your worm farm. The worms will burrow into the bedding material and begin to feed on the food waste you add.  


4. What to feed the worms

Worms like ratio of about 70% greens to 30% browns.

  • Greens: these are organic materials that are full of nitrogen. They usually rot quickly and can cause bad smells. Examples are fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grinds, tea bags, crushed egg shells, and fresh green lawn clippings.
  • Browns: these are organic materials that are full of carbon. They can take a longer time to breakdown. Examples of are dry leaves, wet newspaper and cardboard.

5. Taking care of your worms

  • Avoid adding spicy foods, meat, dairy, bread, pasta, cooked food, citrus, oils and liquids. These can harm the worms.
  • Add food scraps every few days but don't overfeed them - start with small amounts and build up slowly.
  • Cut the food into small pieces to make it easy to eat.
  • Keep the farm moist and add shredded paper and cardboard for aeration.

6. Using the castings

When the bottom layers of your worm farm start to smell earthy and look like dark, fine compost, it’s time to collect the castings. You might only see a few worms left at this point. You can use the castings in your garden by spreading them around your plants or mixing them with water and pouring the mixture around the base of your plants.

7. Making worm tea

Make sure the liquid can always drain freely into a different bucket. If you want to use the liquid as plant fertiliser, it’s best to mix it with water until it looks like weak black tea (one part worm tea to 10 parts water). Apply this mixture regularly around the base of your plants for a healthy and nutritious boost.