and boxes, instructions and comments from the experts :
There are many different brands of MINI WORM FARMS made of
We do not know why, but most of them are made of black plastic, which
can get very cold if exposed to low temperatures, and get also very hot
(dangerously so ) in summertime, if exposed to the sun.
Anything black will loose heat in wintertime, and let the heat in in
summertime. The range would be –3 to 60 degrees
Centigrade, which is definitely fatal to your worms. ( the low or high
We would like to suggest, that these units be made of a lighter colour
like blue or a light green.
if you use these plastic wormfarm
units, make sure, that :
a. You situate them in a sheltered place, like under a tree,
better still, in a shed or on a roofed over patio.
b. Check your temperature in the unit regularly especially in the
summertime, and cool the unit down smartly if
temperature goes higher than say 20
c. Because these units are usually on the small size, make sure you
feed regularly, and yet don’t overfeed,
some every day is the idea.
d. Keep an eye on your moisture levels, worms can thrive in quite a
muddy environment, but too wet, and they will
not have enough oxygen to be
comfortable, and they
will try to migrate out of your unit.
e. Make sure that the drip tray is drained out whenever there is
moisture dropping through the unit. As the worms need
water to be able to move, they will go down into
to pick up moisture, and if the level of the fluid is too high
the worms would drown in it if they cannot get
along the sides of the unit.
f.These units are usually designed to continue the manufacture of your
wormcastings, so there are different levels in the
unit. Don’t be in too much of a hurry to
next level to your system, wait until the present level is nearly at
top of the tray before starting the next level by
it on top.
g. When you have a tray ready to harvest your wormcastings, see that
most if not all your worms are feeding in the tray
above it. Put the tray to harvest above
tray, and your worms will migrate down to the food.
There is a special technique to remove
from a tray with wormcastings.
instructions and techniques
when keeping worms in plastic worm growing units :
The Small wormbreeding units are based on the following
Using several LEVELS in the unit, the idea is, to create a
system, producing more worms, and wormcastings without, stopping the
process, when harvesting the worms or the wormcastings.
This is achieved by having the following parts of the system :
Bottom level, this is a unit with a solid bottom, which catches the
fluids in the unit.
It should at least have a tap installed, to drain the fluid at regular
intervals, or in some cases permanent removal of the fluid, called
Leachate or more banally wormpiss.
This fluid is very rich in soluble minerals, and microbial life forms,
and is safe to use on any plantlife, without burning.
Ideally the bottom should have a sloping floor, so that any worms
dropping into it, can find their way easily back into the upper levels
of the system.
Some brands on the market are without a tap, if you have one of these,
you can install a tap for little outlay yourself, by drilling a hole
large enough to fit a tap in the outside of the tray, or at
it’s lowest point .
If there is no sloping floor then you may create a stair by inserting a
false floor, which touches the bottom of the next level at a point
where the worms can enter it.
The base level, is the next basket in the system, which has holes in
the bottom, and can be fitted snugly into the bottom level. It will
generally be the same shape and form as the other “working
trays”. Nothing special about it,
and it will eventually be emptied out when the wormcastings are ready
Some versions have a hole in the centre, where a pipe can be fitted,
supplying air into the system, the unit will be the larger size on the
market often up to a metre across.
We use the base level, to start the system working, place newspaper,
cardboard ( the ribbed variety ) or leaves in the bottom of the tray,
to cover the holes, and prevent the base material from dropping into
your fluid tray,
continue by filling the tray with a base material; use Coconut coir,
pea straw, or a mixture of peat and grass clippings, the grass
clippings must be old enough to be cooled down after fermenting and
starting to rot, which creates a lot of heat, which could kill your
The reason why we fill the base level right up to the top, is, that it
will be the home of your worms, when there is no food available in the
next level. you will often find, that this base level is the place,
where the worms will go to mate, and drop off the capsules, stocking
the unit from below.
The material will let the moisture through freely, and is comparatively
drier then the levels where you feed the worms.
This is the ideal condition for multiplication to take place.
However, after a long time, this level will also be pure wormcastings,
and it is a good practice, to occasionally restart it with the above
In that case, you take the base level tray out, and prepare a fresh
one, which should then be placed BELOW the working trays and above the
It will be taking possibly 12 to 18 months before you should have a
look at doing this !
The feeding levels, the next tray you place above the base level, is
your first working tray, the bottom should be touching the top of the
tray below it, so that the worms will go into it without having to
cross an air barrier to reach the food in it.
if it does not do this, you must feed in the base tray until
reaches this height.
Most units will have a ridge around the wall , which supports the tray
above it, this ridge will give you an indication when to place the next
working tray, and continue the system.
Place the food, preferrably mashed, chopped or processed as small as
possible into the working tray,
and put a damp sacking or similar covering over the food, to keep the
moisture in, and create a dark area for the worms to feed , wet
newspaper will work, but is difficult to lift off when placing the
daily food in the working tray.
As mentioned elsewhere, it is important not to overfeed, but give
enough food to satisfy your worm population.
Worms will eat at least 1/2 their liveweight each day, and they have no
holidays, so the weekends must be supplied too.
Matter of fact, worms work practially 24 hours a day, never stop
feeding until there is no food available, then they will slow down, and
get smaller and smaller until they sort of hibernate, until the food
When feeding recommences, they will respond, and go back to their
original size within a few days.
Most units come with at least three working trays, so you can continue
on ad infinitum once the system is working.
When the first level food tray is becoming full to the top ridge, you
can place the next foodtray above it, and place some food in that. keep
the top of the food covered with your sacking which can be hessian,
felt, thick cloth, old carpet or even foamrubber carpet underlay.
(We use the last mentioned material on the top of our boxes with great
success, as the underlay will let the air through. We tried polythene,
but it was too impervious, and encouraged the worms to cling to it when
Incidently placing polythene on top enables you to collect quite a few
worms if you like to pass them on to someone else, just lift off, and
carefully scrape the worms into a container .)
After feeding diligently for a few months, you will have some
wormcastings in the tray below the one you are feeding in.
to harvest the wormcastings, lift off the top tray, set it aside, and
then lift off your tray with wormcastings. drop the top tray back into
place, and you can process the wormcastings.
Too many worms in this tray ??
No problem, you can separate the worms out by placing the tray above
your feeding tray after removing the covering material, and carefully
scrape the castings from the top, the worms hate light, so they will
burrow down until they drop through the bottom holes into the tray with
food below, when you have all the wormcastings in a bucket, you clean
the tray, and replace the covering material on top of the food.
As worms process their food intake the same way as birds in their crop,
you must put a handfull of fine sand in with the daily food every few
weeks or so, to help the worms to grind the food particles.
The other material you must add regularly is a handfull of garden lime
or dolomite to the food, to keep it “sweet’.
If the foodstuff is rather dry, you may have to water the unit
If you wish to produce leachate, it does no harm, to
“flood’ the unit occasionally,
so long as you tap the fluid off by having the tap open while you do
that with a container below it.
Things that you
can expect to
happen to your unit :
Rats and mice, birds, centipedes and ants.
These animals can decimate your wormpopulation and prevent the food
from being eaten by your worms .
To prevent rats and mice from entering your unit, and breeding and
nesting in your unit, make sure that the unit has 30cm legs to stand on
which are thin enough for rats to have no grip to climb up.
The centipedes must be disposed of by catching and killing them as you
find them , they eat capsules and young worms.
The ants can be a nuisance if the trays are a bit too dry , so you can
discourage them from being there by flooding regularly so the food is
very damp and place the legs in a container with water or
still kerosene, ants will stay out !
To keep birds out, make sure you have a lid on the unit at all times,
once starlings discover your wormfarm, they can quickly collect all
your worms to feed their young with.
Insects , moulds, fungi and potworms.
These are necessary and natural in the foodstuff, and help break it
down for the worms, so don’t worry about these.
Potworms are small white worms, which appear when the conditions are
acidic. Feed them to the fish in your aquarium if you get too many of
them. Use more garden lime or dolomite !
Migrating of your worms.
When the airpressure drops, the worms tend to crawl up the sides of the
trays. This is a natural occurrence.
The worms come up on top of your lawn just before the rain starts, they
know they may be flooded and drown, so they try to escape that fate.
The Oxygen wil be in short supply too.
Just leave the lid on, when the weather improves they go back down into
the food again, you may loose a few worms over the edge, they can
escape through small spaces, so a tight fitting is desirable for every
connection of the different parts of your system.