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Useful And Fantastic: Worm Farms

Valerie Yule suggests that householders should establish their own worm farm.

Many people cannot afford the price of a commercial worm farm and worms.

This simple design for a cheap home-made worm farm only needs an empty plastic plaster-can or other old can, and two cheap plastic garden sieves.

Builders and plasterers at a building site will give you an empty can rather than throw it in a rubbish skip.

The worm-farm is rat-proof, and fits a small shady space.

Place one sieve in a flat space on damp loose ground, about 5-10 cm deep, loose ground so that worms can come and go through the sieve.

Cut the bottom from the can. Place the can on the sieve.

Top it with the second sieve.

Start off the worm-farm with some damp earth with a few worms in it. They will multiply quickly, so no need to buy worms.

Then all you do is add your kitchen scraps—but no bones. Worms don't like citrus, egg-shells or tea-leaves much, so put those in the compost. After a few weeks, when you want some rich fertiliser for the garden, just lift the can and take some of the rich earth from the bottom of it, full of worms. Shift the farm around the garden if you like.

The sieves stop rats, mice and blowflies getting in, but allow worms perfect freedom to come and go from the earth. A few fruit-flies do not matter.

If there are very clever rats around, weight this sieve with half-a-brick, so vermin cannot lift it off.

Advantages. Only bones need go in the rubbish-bin (and if you make soup-stock with bones, there will be nothing left on them to make a smell). No food-scraps need go in the compost-bin or compost heap to attract rats. No waste of empty plaster-cans. No smell.

No upkeep needed, except taking fertile compost from the bottom when you want it, and if it ever looks dry in summer, add some water.

Neighbours in flats can share a worm-farm, giving the compost to a gardener friend.

Builders need not waste empty plaster-cans, but can leave them outside a site to be taken. Paint and plaster cans are useful for gardening buckets too, and for making liquid manure.

Councils could advertise or sell these very cheap worm-farm kits, as well as the more expensive commercial worm-farms that many do sell. Then everyone could afford their own farm.

© Valerie Yule

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