If you’ve got a question about compost, composting, worms or worm farming, chances are you’ll find the answer here. If not, you can always ask our Ecobiz expert for help. Ask a question.
If you use compost, do you still need fertilizer?
Compost is vital to soil health and provides nutrition gradually over the course of the growing season. Improves the structure and water holding capacity of soil which ordinary fertilisers cannot do. We recommend however that you have your soil tested, then make your decision based on the test results and intended planting. Regular use of a good mature compost, or vermicompost used as recommended will reduce the need for chemical inputs over time.
Why are earthworms so important?
Earthworms are vital for healthy plant growth. The manure produced by earthworms increases the plant-available nutritional content of the soil. The burrowing activity of the worms helps to aerate the soil, and allows for better air flow and water absorption. Worm activity also help distribute nutrients to different layers of the soil. The number of earthworms in your soil is a excellent indicator of good soil health.
I have heard that earthworms will harm my plants and seeds - is this true?
Earthworms will not harm you or your plants. Earthworms are an integral part of the eco-system and are vital to the health of our soils. They only eat dead and decaying plant material and will not eat any living or viable plant matter. They carry no disease, and do no harm whatsoever to man or our environment.
My soils have no earthworms - how can I encourage them back into my garden?
It is so easy! Please go to our OUR WORMS page and see that with a few simple changes, you can provide a safe haven for the indigenous earthworm where they can thrive and take care of your soils the way nature intended
Why worm farm?
A worm bin is a convenient way recycle your food and paper scraps into a nutrient rich organic fertiliser and soil improver instead of throwing it away in to a landfills that are harmful to our environment and the ozone layer. By doing your part you will be helping our environment and saving money at the same time since you wont need to spend as much on fertilizers and soil amendments anymore. Composting worms make excellent fishing bait too. A worm bin is quite simply an investment that will pay for itself many times over.
What can my composting worms eat?
Your compost worms will eat both raw and cooked food and vegetable scraps from your kitchen. Coffee grounds, tea bags, dust from vacuum cleaners and soaked egg cartons can all be added. DO NOT add meat, dairy products or bread as these can attract vermin. While many experts advise not to add onions, citrus peel or tomatoes as these are very acidic, small amounts can be added as long as they are well mixed in with other food.
How often do I have to feed my worms?
Don’t worry about feeding your worms every day; it will take a while for them to break down the food in the worm bin. Some people feed them weekly, others a handful or so a day. Worms can survive up to two weeks without any additional food. How much you feed them will also depend on how many worms you have and the weather. Worms wont eat as much in the winter months. The best way to asses if they need more food is to lift the covers and see how much food is still visible on the surface.
How much food can my worms process?
The general rule of thumb is: in ideal conditions worms can eat up to half their weight in decaying food per day! This means that if you start with 1/2 Kg of worms, they could be getting through over 1/4 Kg of decayed food per day. As your worm population grows, they will be able to process more food at a faster rate.
How do I know if my Worm Farm is too wet or too dry?
Moisture control is a big part of managing your worm bin. Ideally, your bedding should be as moist as a wrung-out sponge. But don’t worry; the worms will let you know if there is a problem and there is an easy fix!
If the bedding is too wet, it will probably smell bad and the worms may be clustering around the edges or moving up the sides of the bin. All you need to do is gently stir in some dry shredded paper or cardboard. This will soak up some of that moisture and return it to ideal conditions.
If your bin bedding is too dry the worms will dive down to a deeper level towards moisture and or group in to mass clusters. There may be little black ants evident in the bedding and food too. This is easily rectified with the addition of water. Be sure to collect the leachate (worm wee) as it runs out of the gutter and use it as a liquid fertiliser on plants, pot plants or on your compost heap.
I have heard so much about worm wee and worm tea - what is the difference?
Worm wee is the liquid leachate that runs off and collects in or below the worm farm collecting tray or gutter. Although popular it can contain phytotoxins (toxins that can harm plants and humans) and harmful pathogens (germs) because some may not been processed through the worms intestinal tract. It is safe to use on your compost heaps but should not be used on edible garden plants
Worm tea is the end result of dissolving worm castings in water and then oxygenating or brewing along with molasses over 12-14hrs. The microbes in the castings, made safe by the worms digestive tract, are multiplied exponentially by the brewing method. These beneficial micro organisms then act as a pro-biotic and help plants by out-competing pathogenic (harmful) organisms on plants’ root and leaf surfaces. Worm tea is absorbed more rapidly by plants than castings, When you spray or pour the tea on the soil not only are you feeding the plant, but you increase the number of beneficial microbes in the soil too.
Worm tea is generally thought to be preferable and more beneficial to plants and soils than worm wee
or leachate, and the results will make up for the little bit of extra effort made.
Is it safe to handle the worms and their castings?
Yes! Completely safe! Worms will not harm you in anyway and nor will their castings. Castings are, unlike some other garden and farming products completely harmless to use around your family, staff, livestock, and pets.
I tried to start a worm farm using worms I dug up from my garden but they died. What did I do wrong?
The worms you found in your garden are burrowing type and will not thrive in a closed environment, nor do they consume organic matter in the same way that composting worms do.
Only surface dwelling worms are suitable for use in vermi-composting. Please click on OUR WORMS to find out more.