There are hardly any good reasons these days not to have worms hard at work munching on your food scraps. Worm farms are easy to make or buy, and even if you don’t have a garden, there’s absolutely no excuse – you can keep them indoors under your sink!
So, if you haven’t already started your worm farm, here are six good reasons to get cracking as soon as possible…
1. Free compost and plant food.
A worm farm is a really (really) easy way to convert all your food scraps into the most amazing plant food. The hungry red wigglers gobble it all up and provide you not only with a compost exceptionally rich in the micro-organisms that make for enthusiastic plant growth, but also with worm ‘tea’, a fabulous (natural) liquid fertiliser. And they do it all for free!
2. Less waste going to the dump
Landfill sites are bulging at the seams. By processing all or most of your food waste (in addition to recycling) you can reduce the amount of garbage you’re sending to our already over-burdened waste dumps.
3. No more smelly garbage bins
The less food waste you put in your bin, the fewer flies and other nasties you’re likely to get coming to find something upon which to munch. If all that’s in there is stuff you can’t either recycle or compost, you won’t get horrible smells and sudden hideous eruptions of maggots (blech – reason enough for me!)
Topsoil – you know, the stuff that’s ultimately the source of most of the nutrients and minerals we get in our food? The food that makes human life sustainable? Well, it’s washing right off the land and into the ocean at a mind-boggling rate (in some places as quickly as 10 times the rate that it forms) because of erosion – mostly as a result of modern agricultural practices. The compost formed from vermiculture nourishes our increasingly depleted soil, and gives it a chance to produce more vegetation (which in turn goes back into the soil, boosting it further). Every little bit counts.
5. Because it’s so darned easy to do… (and cheap, too)
If money is no object, buy a ready-made worm farm (see below). They’re set up for you, and come in a variety of sizes and designs to suit your needs. If your budget is tight, though, make your own! It’s so easy, even I managed to get it right (ie the worms are still alive).
I spent about R30 on a container from the supermarket, bought a starter kit of worms for R50 (from a stall at the Porter Estate Produce Market), followed the instructions provided (see the guides below for tips on how to do it) and, hey presto, I have a working worm farm! And, once the worms are established, they start reproducing, which means you can soon make another farm, and another, and process even more waste.
6. That there warm fuzzy feeling
Yep, there’s something about doing your bit for this beautiful planet of ours that evokes a distinctly warm and fuzzy sensation that can be rather intoxicating. Happiness is…
Right, so hopefully you’re convinced… now for some info on how to go about it.
Where to buy a worm farm in Cape Town:
- Soil for Life – sell worm farms innovatively made out of used car tires – for R220 including worms. They may not be as pretty as other farms, but they’re top of my list because they’re recycled and their purchase directly benefits the community.
- Organic Solutions – ‘wormomatic 150‘ R500, ‘mini-tower‘ R650 (including worms, but not delivery).
- Wizzard Worms – ‘Domestic kitchen waste unit’ – R 635.00 (including worms and delivery)
- Wiggler Magic Worms – ‘Magic Supreme Worm Farm’ R695-00 ((including 500 worms, but excluding delivery). Currently running a launch special on their larger ‘Worm Factory': R775-00 (including 500 red wiggler earthworms, no details about delivery).
- Full Cycle ‘Worm Factory’ – from R770 (excluding earthworms +R165, and delivery +R160)
How to make your own worm farm:
- ‘Indoor composting with a worm bin – a quick-start guide‘ (nyccompost.org)
- Worming your way to composting (composting101.c0m)
- Come live with me – how to make and take care of your own neighbourhood of worms
- ‘starting a worm bin‘ (sierraclub.org)
Related articles about worm farms:
- ‘Go green – get a worm farm‘ (lifestyle.iafrica.com)
- ‘Mount Nelson Hotel Creates “Permaculture” of Excellence With Worm Farm‘ (southafricalogue.com)
- ‘Wriggling recyclers transform kitchen scraps into compost‘ (taunton.com)
So, there you go… no excuses – time to get your own little farm up and munching!