The Worm Farm History
The history of worms and worm farming is very interesting if not a bit on the amazing side. Sort of like the healthy side of the dirt, or soon to be composted.
This article is going to go over a bit about the history of worm farming and worms in general which are called Red Wigglers Tiger Worms, Blue Worms and White Worms. These are the earthworm species! Other types of worms are called nightcrawlers that are farmed for fishing, or located in your backyard on any rainy night.
When I was a young lad, worm were the coolest things on the planet because you can cut them in half, and they still move as if you just produced a 2nd worm, at least that’s what my friends use to tell me.
But not long after those days of back yard worm cutting, came the science class where I learned that worms can do that because they have more than 1 heart. In fact, from what I recall from Science class, they have 5 hearts.
A pretty amazing way to slip and slide around the earth, and, I believe you can see their hearts if you pick them up, at least the more transparent, earthworm types. Plus, as a kid, you wanted to keep the girls at bay, and worms were one of the greatest slimy things to do just that. The girls in the neighborhood
(Probably all neighborhoods worldwide) hated worms!
But all in all, the worm been around and even talked about as early as 5 BC and even before, and even before. The worm was referred too in the Bible, by Jesus, where a worm does not die in the fire.
Worm farming became popular when science classes started in the school systems throughout the world, from the research I can find about Worm Farms. The year, date and where, is unknown to mankind, probably because it was not really an important event, but science and organic farming have found out otherwise.
A side note, I do know the first gummy worm was created in 1981 by German manufacturer named Tolli! But that’s pure sugar.. and not too organic, is it? Funny how worms named GUMMY can be full of sugar, but real worms waste can be so nutritional to mankind.
So, worm farming has become a very popular way to use the various worms (earthworms, Red Wigglers, and White worms) to do what is called Vermicompost, which is the final result in worm farming and ends up being a very nutrient-rich organic fertilizer and soil. Can you imagine worms doing something good for organic farming and creating good soil, plants, and health food in the long term?
Who knew that worms would be much more than fish food you put on the end of a hook and cast into a pond! Well, with science comes discovery, and although worm farms may not be a popular hobby, it seems to be picking up steam in recent years and actually, farming worms, seeing the results, and having soil like GOLD can be a very rewarding venture by starting your own Worm Farm!
Benefits of Having Worm Farms
Worms farms are a great way to recycle your kitchen scraps and are excellent for small gardens, better than compost bins. The best worms for worms farms are tigers, blues and reds and they can be bought from your local nursery. Remember, they don’t survive in the garden, so when you are adding your vermicasts (the manure) to your garden, save as many as you can.
How to Live Peacefully with these Creatures?
The following are tips to keep your worms happy:
- To keep them healthy they like some soil in the top bin, pea straw, and cow manure. “
- Place the worm farm in a position that gets MORNING SUN and afternoon shade. WORMS DO NOT LIKE FULL SUN POSITIONS. They cook – literally. They like temperatures around 23C. “
- If worms are at the top of your bin lid, the worm farm or compost bin too wet. Move or add pea straw, newspaper and cut down the watering of the heap. Stop putting in kitchen scraps until has dried out. “
- If there are ants in your worm farm, it is too dry. Add more moisture.
- The more often you gently turn the bedding, the less likelihood of other insects nesting in the worm farms.
- Put a couple of bricks on the lids to keep dogs such as labradors out of eating the contents.
- Do not put in meat, fish, oil, cheese or too much citrus or onions.
- Get rid of the plastic legs of the black boxes, they continually fall off. Use bricks as a support for the boxes.
- If your worm farm smells, then there are too many nitrogenous products like kitchen scraps. To improve the mix you need to add more carbon material such as newspaper or pea straw or leaves. You may need to stop feeding the worms kitchen scraps for a week or two. To find out more about the carbon: nitrogen ratio clicks onto the tab Soil and Compost.
Castings worm poo full of bacteria and enzymes and continue to break down in the soil and increase biological activity. It is full of nutrients which is available to plants straight away. Castings also contain a growth hormone called auxin which stimulates germination of seeds.
Worm tea is the liquid that congregates at the bottom of the worm farm and is an excellent liquid fertilizer. Fill your 9-liter watering can with a 1/3 of the juice and then dilute with water. Straight worm tea is very strong and too much can kill young plants.
Be careful with native plants as many of them don’t like a lot of nutrients. Worm farm products are excellent for vegetables, fruit trees, roses, annuals, citrus, and many other ornamental plants.
Starting and Maintaining a Healthy Worm Farm
Ready for a great hobby called “Worm Farming” or “Worm Raising”? I bet you are! This venture is one of the coolest going, and although it seems to be out of the ordinary, more and more worm farming or worm raising is needed in today’s world of organic plants and organic foods.
Other Types are farming for night crawlers for fishing and of course regular earthworms that aerate the soil and are great for that purpose. How to build a Worm Farm and keeping it healthy is very important too.
The first thing to remember is simply remembered why you are actually farming worms to begin with! I used to farm worms like ants, I just wanted to watch what they did, and how they moved under the dirt, but now worm farming is at a whole new level, and a very important hobby or even business can develop, if you have the right knowledge and tools to run a worm farm.
Most worms you need for a worm farm can be purchased online, on the internet, at most reputable worm type of websites (always check the website and maybe call if you can before purchasing) The Usual Earthworms will not work with Worm Farming, as you need to get a special type of worm that actually comes up to the surface to feed (a bit more about that in a second).
The worms you are looking for are called red wigglers, or white worms. Some are called blue worms or tiger worms. If you’re not sure, I am 100% positive there are plenty of “help aids” online to point you in the right direction for which worms to purchase, at the best price for what you looking to accomplish with your worm farming or worm raising venture.
As you may, or may not know, the proper types of worms that you need to farm, as previously mentioned, are the worm that comes up to the surface to feed! They will feed on your kitchen food scraps, and keeping your local landfill just that much more empty from the birds, vultures, and whatever other fowl or animal feeds in those areas.
A worm farm is the greatest method of diverting kitchen food scraps away from a landfill and turn compost into what I like to call GOLD! A very healthy organic natural soil that is great for planting organically!
If you are working on your Worm Farm now, or just getting started, you probably have two or three boxes involved in the process. There are various ways and means to do this, and opinions as well, you should research and see what is best for you. But none the less, the two boxes would be the minimum amount needed to run a successful worm farm.
The boxes are on top of each other, each one having its own function in the process of your worm farm. The very bottom box is typically used to catch the worm urine and is really an outstanding plant fertilizer in itself. There are new compartments too, we’ve seen this bottom box can be used for. Look around this site for some “time saving” tips and books as well! Moving on………..
The other boxes typically are for the bedding and the food the worms feed on. So it does not really rocket science, but there are folks who have taken worm farming to another level, and it really helps to know all you can before you begin your first Worm Farming Adventure!
Even if you are an active Worm Farmer now, there is never any loss in further education about anything you do, and worm farming is no different. There is nothing better than learning something NEW in the Worm Farming hobby or business and then thinking back and saying, “I wish I knew that months ago”
So the biggest tip I can give is to check the worms, ensure you have the boxing right, seek new ideas, and always learn more methods or science about worm farming.
Earthworm Farms and Choosing the Right Worms
When we talk about WORM FARMING we are typically talking about compost or what is called the compost that worms leave in farms for organic soil and for healthy plants and so on.
Earthworm farms are what most people will call them, and there are plenty of names for various earthworms out there, but without getting too scientific, I just cover what worms to use for a typical worm farm, and some insight to temperature and actually raising worms while farming them.
I’ve heard the argument that kids like to just have worm farms to watch worms crawl around and do their thing, which is crawl around! Well, I know boys around the age of 5 or so love to watch worms crawl around in the dirt, after all, that’s what we all did at 5 years old anyway.
And if you have a son around 5 or 6, a great way to get started, just grabs some night crawlers and put them in a box, and let them crawl around, go underneath the surface and pop back up, and maybe even breed for good fishing bait. By the way, nightcrawlers are the best worms for fishing.
You can also place earthworm (night crawlers) into your garden to aerate the soil and they are a great worm to work this for you.
Now to the main reason, we worm farm! That is to get that GOLD SOIL so we can plant organically, and very healthy and worms farming is the perfect answer to this!
So what is the best WORM for Worm Farming?
Well, the best route to go would be red wigglers, as they are called. These are also known as redworm, brandling worm, tiger worm, and for the cool foreign name: Eisenia fetida!
All these are species or kinds of earthworms that basically thrive in rotten tomatoes if you catch my drift. Picture rotten tomatoes or kitchen scraps and these worms are munching like its thanksgiving every day.
These worms are ‘epigeal’ which means they like to hand out near the surface of the earth. Or as the Greek name states “on the surface of the earth” – yes, that’s a good definition of a worm, no matter what species of worm. But Epigeal is one who comes to the surface to eat as well, that is why worm farming is an art, and when done right, produces some really really healthy plant soil aka compost if you will.
So, with the right worms, comes the right temperature. You cannot put a worm farm out in a blizzard or a heat wave. The best way to think of the proper temp for a worm farm is to think of you. What do you feel most comfortable in?
110-degree weather or Freezing 32-degree weather, or maybe somewhere between 65 and 77 Degrees Fahrenheit which is 18 to 25 degrees Celsius? Well, you guessed it. The same weather where we feel most comfortable, worms do as well. 65 to 77 is perfect warm weather.
So somewhere like a garage or shed or even inside would work, just ensure the temperature is around 65 to 77 degrees. That is ideal. Also keeping your worm farm in the shade is the best as well.
The worm farms do not need to be soaking wet, or dry as a bone, but again, moist and somewhere in the middle is ideal. Worms do make it easy to remember what they like which is comfortable weather conditions, shade, and moist dirt.
Worm Food 101
Remember this: Worms are not Pigs!
They don’t feed on everything that they can. They do choose and they certainly will not eat anything that they don’t consider food. Sounds funny doesn’t it? I mean it’s a worm!! But even worms need to survive and by feeding them right, in your worm farm, they will certainly pay you back with some solid gold soil and great organic plant soil for your efforts. (Unless your raising nightcrawlers that are)
With that in mind, Wormfood 101 is mostly common sense unless you have no idea what-so-ever a worm would eat, and that is what this article is going to try and cover, in the shortest and most to the point way I can.
So for starters, you can feed worms (and should feed) worms from kitchen leftovers, and never feed them anything that is cooked. No Cooked Food. Only raw food such as raw vegetables (good or bad) fruit peels, egg shells even work, and yes, the myth about newspaper is 100% true! You can feed them with the newspaper. On a side note, keep the worm farm damp and add a little water to moisten the worm farm at least once a week.
Some things to remember about worms!
Worms have No Teeth and very small mouths. Keep this in mind when feeding your worms in your worm farm. So as an example, they can eat the apple peel, but you need to chop it up small, think about if your dog had no teeth, you’d do the same thing. There is no difference with worms!
We noticed that one of the most common errors Worm Farm Owners make is overfeeding the worms in the worm farm. If you use the rule of thumb to feed them a little, chop it up and add water once a week, you will see that life will be good!
So what do Worms like? There is plenty of items worms do like! We do notice that people discover new ideas and plans almost monthly on what a worm will eat, and how it will benefit the entire worm farm. Wormfood is a very important part of the Worm Farm Adventure! Joining a small membership site about worm farms, or even getting a newsletter about worm farms will help yours immensely!
So let’s go over just some of the items worms like. How about the moistened newspaper, egg shells, and cartons, cardboard-like pizza boxes, vegetables that are raw, vacuum cleaner dust, tea leaves, tea bags, and coffee grounds. There are much more and we notice some great examples every month from the newsletter we receive.
So, are worms picky? You bet they are. Do not feed them tofu or high protein foods, animal products like fish, meat, chicken. Chili is not a good idea either. Bread won’t be consumed by a worm, nor will uncooked rice and any dried food. Rough garden clippings are not going to work either!
You can and should trick them too! When you do introduce new food to your worm farm, ensure you place the food in a different spot, where no other food was placed before, and/or move the box around which also works for some reason. This makes those fussy worms munch and does their job.
Worm Farming For Kids Can Be Fun
That statement is true! Worm Farming for children of all ages can be fun, and really a blast! Yes, for both Kids and Adults and especially parents and their children.
Teaching kids how to worm farm will turn into a great learning experience to explore our ecosystem and how the entire ecosystem process works!
For adults, I find that Worm Farming can be a relaxing experience, especially when the outcome of worm farming starts to take place. It’s pretty much self-fulfilling and very enjoyable.
I’ve known one person, that enjoyed worm farming so much, they took it to a level where they did it for a living and sold the composite to organic stores, organic farmers and herb farmers.
A Worm Farm for kids kit is a great way to get your kid started on a worm farm adventure. You can and will learn about worms and the major importance worms have to the ecosystem. A worm farm kit will help grow vegetation your child can then watch how many earthworms help to move soil and help the plants to grow naturally because of the work the worm does.
For Adults, we recommend certain products and newsletters. There is not much to getting started with worm farming, but if you buy the wrong worms, or don’t have full knowledge on what or how to feed them then it is possible your entire worm farm adventure will turn into a worm farm nightmare, and that is not a good thing!
There are plenty of websites, eBooks, and membership sites you can join right online to find out how much fun worm farming can be. Imagine getting a worm farm set up, and seeing the outcome of soil used for organic farming from worms who eat things like apple peels, egg shells, pizza cartons and more!? From a pizza carton top to a fertilized soil that is primo for organic farming, that to me is fun and very rewarding at the end of the day.
Plus, the hobby part of Worm Farming is like none other. Your real time is in the setup, and learning new methods of worm farming, feeding and even raising worms through newsletters you may join, or even hear stories of success and some failures as well. The hobby itself does not take up to much time, once all set up, and by learning new tricks, and becoming an eco-friendly worm farmer, you will really be on top!
Kitchen scraps are what got me involved in worm farming, and through some mistakes, and trial and errors and one really dumb move (that I won’t mention here), I find that worm farming is one of the best hobbies you can do, without much experience to get started.
So from preschool to worm farm for kids of any age, you should note that this is a VERY FUN type of hobby with a very rewarding ending. The best part of all, setting up is as much fun as running the worm farm. And when you tear it down, its dirt!! How hard is that?