Author: Deanne Raccanello  

Q. How many compost worms should I buy to start off a worm farm in my back yard?

A. This will depend on how many people live in the house and how much waste is collected. As a general rule compost worms eat half their body weight in food scraps per day. I recommend starting a worm farm with ½kg (2000) compost worms as the worms can start eating 250g scraps per day. This is the average green waste for a 2-4 person household. More people in the house – start with 1kg (4000) compost worms and less people ¼kg (1000) compost worms.

Q. I have a worm farm but my worms look sluggish and small, what is wrong with them?

A. There are various factors that can affect the health of the worms in your worm farm. Check the following:

*Chemical residue – do not spray insecticides or expose worms to harsh chemicals.

*Weather/moisture – if it is over 30 degrees Celsius or Below 8 degrees worms will slow down breeding and eating. Add water daily in summer and even an ice pack if the temp is over 35 degrees. If extremely cold add an old piece of carpet or hay of the top tray. Add water fortnightly.

*PH Level – if you worm farm has a high PH Level (too acidic) add some dolomite or Ag lime over food to reduce PH.

*Food Source – Are you feeding your worms enough food? When the food is almost gone it is time to add more. Beware of acidic foods and onion, garlic etc. Never add meat or dairy products as this attracts rodents and causes foul smell.

Q. Where should I put my worm farm?

Put your worm farm in a cool shady position. Away from direct sunlight is recommended.

Under a patio, courtyard, verandah or large tree is ideal. If you live in an apartment on your balcony or laundry is ideal.

Q. Where should I keep my compost worms until I am ready to set up my worm farm?

If your compost worms arrive in a plastic bag - transfer the contents into an old damp pillowcase and sit them in the laundry tub.  The worms will survive like this for about a week. If your worms arrive in a calico bag they are fine to store them as they are for up to a week.