We run multiple ‘worms farms’ and once or twice a year we clean out the farms, collect the castings and the ‘worm juice’.
All our organic waste is dealt with here at Arborlon. Kitchen waste goes to the Worms Famrs. Green waste to compost and ‘leaky weirs’ around the property.
Our worm farms are in our Container shed. Here they are keep in the relative cool and dark of the back of a 20 foot shipping container.
We have five compartment worm farms. These worm farms have porous and removable levels that allow us to harvest castings, and let the worms continue their good work on another level.
As we add new levels to each of the worm farms, the worms move up into the upper levels where we place the fresh green waste. This leaves the lower levels almost free of worms.
We can then collect the castings that the worms have left i the lower layers. This worm waste has lots of names… Worm Poo, Worm humus, worm faeces, etc.
Officially this practice is called Vermicompost or Vermiculture, and the product at the end is called Vermicast.
Castings have often been called the richest natural fertiliser known.
Removing the castings(as you can see by the floor of the shed!) can be a messy business. But don’t be afraid of the castings, it is beautiful processed organic matter – and it should be small or odour free.
First we take off the top active level – this is where most of the worms are. We just put this to one side and then remove the lower layers and collect the castings in buckets.
Castings are dark thick and moist and each layer is cleared of castings and then washed and dried.
If you are washing your worm farm levels make sure you do it somewhere that can get the benefit of the water run off.. it will be filled with worm waste and nutrients.
In the lowest level of the worm farm is where you will find the ‘worm juice’ Again, this is called many things… worm wee, worm juice, worm tonic… just to name a few. This is a liquid soil conditioner and fertiliser.
We collect the juice in recycled bottles and use it across the property as an added nutrient.
The top active level is placed back on the worm farm as the main level, and we put a new clean level in under the top active level. This catches castings lost from the top active level.
So now the worms farms all have 2 layers. A top active layer and a second layer to catch falling castings.
As the top active layer becomes filled with castings, we will add a new top layer with fresh organic matter to draw the worms up to the new top active level.
We gained almost half a cubic metre of worms castings and over 40 litres of worm juice from the worm farm clean out.
The castings will be added to our multiple vege beds and the worm juice will be diluted and using as a soil conditioner/fertiliser across our main gardens.
In addition to the main worm farm we also have a bathtub worm farm and plans for a much larger structured worm farm.
The bathtub can take large amounts of organic matter and over time the matter is consumed and casting left behind. Our next big worm job will be gathering those castings.