Compost & Compost Worm Guide

The Garden Tower system is in many ways worm powered. Compost Worms are the essential component, which allow the Garden Tower to provide for the demands of the high rate of plant production. Compost Worms should be added to the Garden Tower during the set-up process (please see our Set Up videos in the Resources Centre), one week after you have placed your first kitchen scraps in the compost tube. It is important that your food scraps have started to decompose before introducing compost worms to the system.

Basic compost worm selection criteria we recommend for the Garden Tower are:

– Red Wigglers (Latin: Eisenia Fetida), are the workhorses of the compost column and the entire system.

– Nightcrawlers or Earthworms act as a supplemental soil conditioner cleaning up debris in the Tower, spreading nutrients and aerating the soil column. Earthworms can be harvested locally by looking under leaves or leaving a wet carpet out and harvesting them after two days or so.

– Worms will reproduce quickly in the system, so a small amount is often all that is required (we recommend that you start off with around 500 red wrigglers and a handful of nightcrawlers).

– In many climates, compost worms can even over-winter without additional protection in a Garden Tower.

You can purchase compost worms from most garden centres and some hardware stores however it is important to ask the retailer how long have the worms been sitting on their shelf. Some retailers keep their worms for a month or more  before discarding so you can imagine they are not in the best of health when you buy them.

We recommend buying your compost worms direct from a worm farm. The farm will ship worms direct to your door usually next day so your worms will be fresh, healthy and most importantly happy.

 

 

We are delighted to have partnered with a large Worm Farm called Worms Downunder who are located in Palmwoods in the beautiful Sunshine Coast Hinterland in QLD. You can order your compost worms directly from our Shop, and Worms Downunder will ship you 500 compost worms by express post to your door (excluding WA due to Department of Agriculture and Food In Western Australia charging a $70 fee for all imports into WA). You will receive a mixture of compost worms made up of Indian Blue Worms, Tiger Worms and Red Worms. In the mix you will also find capsules (worm eggs), hatchlings and young worms, as well as adults. Worms Downunder supply a mixture of species as this promotes a competitive environment and stimulates breeding and food consumption. The worms are harvested fresh on the day they are sent out.

Composting

Definitions:

Vermicompost – The contents of the compost column. It may include unprocessed food scraps.

Castings – Worm castings are basically worm poop and known also as “finished Compost”. They may be used as a soil amendment in amounts of 10-20% of a given soil composition

Browns – Well dried Leaves & grasses, shredded brown cardboard paper. This serves as bedding but also becomes a food source as it gradually breaks down. Bedding is just another name for Browns

Greens – Fresh Veggie scraps suitable for composting

Feeding your worms

  • Feed the compost worms a generous handful or two of food every couple of days and provide plenty of browns for bedding.
  • The #1 cause of death to worms by most beginners is OVERFEEDING! This causes excess moisture/water. The worms can’t keep up with the food supply. This causes the food to turn sour, nasty smell, and blocks oxygen from penetrating the compost.
  • Do not over stuff the compost column as good air circulation is important.

TIP: Overfeeding invites unwanted pests into your worm bin

  • Generally, the worm bin should always get enough moisture from the food you put in and there is no need to ever water directly into the compost column
  • The column can be slightly wetter or slightly dryer. Towers are very forgiving in their composting but there are certain limits

TIP: You may not see worms and this is O.K. worms are very good at hiding. They will move out of a compost column if they do not like the conditions, but they will move back in as soon as a balance is re-established.

Compost Do’s

Compost performance will vary by temperature. Compost worms will love your indoor Garden Tower habitat; however, their activity is directly related to temperature. Only add kitchen scraps as more space is generated within the composting column.

Compost Dont’s

Certain things will be difficult for the compost worms to eat and should be avoided. These include avocado pits, corn cobs, etc. The smaller the scraps that you use, the faster the worms will make vermicompost.

TIP: DO NOT PUT ANY MEATS, FATS, DAIRY PRODUCTS, STRING, HAIR, CITRUS FRUITS OR PAPAYA SEEDS (contains enzymes that may harm your worms) INTO THE COMPOST COLUMN.

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