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Compost & Compost Worm Guide
[vspace height=”10px”]The Garden Tower system is in many ways worm powered. Compost Worms are the vital workforce of the entire system, enabling 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. Alternatively, you can pre-decompose your scraps in a separate tub before adding into your Tower. Remember worms don’t eat scraps, they eat the microbes that eat the scraps!
The compost worms that we recommend for the Garden Tower are either :
– Red Wigglers (Eisenia Fetida) or European Nightcrawler (Dendrobaena Veneta). You will find much debate on which is superior in terms of compost producton but both native species are exceptionally good at the rapid processing of dead organic waste into nutrient rich compost.
Because the Garden Tower is a deep vertical system, as an additional workforce we also recommend the addition of a few Lumbricus Terrestris – or common earthworm that you will find when you dig around in the garden. These worms are very good at reprocessing debris, maintaining the aeration and drainage passage ways vital to the health of the beneficial bacteria and microbial population.
– 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 250g of either compost worm species.
– In many climates, compost worms can even over-winter without additional protection in a Garden Tower.
We recommend buying your compost worms direct from our website (which are despatched directly from a worm farm). The farm will ship worms direct to your door usually next day so your worms will arrive fresh and healthy.
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 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.
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.