I’m sorry I haven’t a clew – the demise (and resurrection) of the wormery

I’m so excited about the word ‘clew’ that I just had to use it in another post!

I have mentioned in previous posts about compost that we have a wormery. It’s not my favourite way to make compost, but it is useful for dealing with cooked foods that can’t go to either the dogs or the chickens. In addition, it does produce a great liquid fertiliser that we call worm wee, but in more refined circles is known as worm tea.

Over the winter we rather neglected the wormery and when we investigated it in March we discovered that it was clew-less… a completely worm-free wormery. Generally, when you buy a wormery you also receive a packet of compost (tiger) worms. If your existing wormery fails you can buy replacement worms, but I am far too mean to do this, and anyway, there are always loads of tiger worms under pots in our garden as well as in the normal compost heaps. If you look on the internet is seems that it is necessary to spend loads of money on your garden, but actually lots of resources that you can buy are available for free… worms for one and liquid feed for another. I have supplied several people with replacement worms, at no cost to either them or me – it’s all about sharing.

The first job with the wormery was to extract the resources: it did contain good compost and a little liquid. The worm wee was drained off (there’s a tap at the bottom of our bin) and the compost was tipped directly onto one of the raised beds… where the chickens enjoyed rummaging through it for tasty treats, whilst also helping to incorporate it into the soil.

Some of the current inhabitants of the wormery

Once empty we were able to get going once again… starting with a layer of compost from one of the normal bins (this had some worms in it already) then adding kitchen scraps as they became available. In addition, at that time of year I’m often moving bags and pots around the garden and revealing worms. Rather than let the chickens eat them, I collected them up and placed them directly into the worm bin to add to the colony (much to the disappointment of the chickens… they really don’t like to see a juicy worm whipped from under their beak!). I continue to add suitable worms as I come across them.

An inspection of the wormery today revealed a good colony of worms, not many eggs yet, but those will come. Now we can start feeding them up with greater quantities of kitchen waste and look forward to abundant worm wee to feed the plants in containers.

So, no longer clew-less.

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  1. Don McLean

     /  July 11, 2012

    All the bought and home-made wormeries (plastic containers of some sort) I’ve had anything much to do with seem to get too wet. So I advise leaving any tap open (and, if its always open, why have a tap at all: home-made ones I made ended up just leaving a hole, as many good folks tend to turn taps off, which I think is not best in this case). Leave a container underneath to encourage drainage. If there is a sump of rich wee-tea in your wormery it: means the atmosphere inside will probably be saturated; if the wee-tea starts brewing it will quickly generate ammonia, whcih is poisonous to most things quickly… As you probably know, its much eaiser to to make a too dry pile wetter than dry a too wet pile…


    • A very good point… we do keep our tap closed because otherwise the dogs drink the juice! However, very regular emptying in necessary. Perhaps we should have better trained dogs!



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