Being at home more often over the last few months has offered me the opportunity to do some new things. One of which is setting up and starting a Worm City Wormery. The idea came when lockdown hit and my local council stopped collecting green waste as part of our recycling scheme. Horrified at the idea of having to bin my potato peelings and banana skins (among other bits) I decided that the time was right to start a wormery.
Why a wormery over a regular compost bin?
I anticipate the question around why I chose a wormery over a regular compost bin will come up, so I thought I would answer early on. I have had regular compost bins in the past and while they are good, they do take a long time and take a big part of the garden. We also live near canals, which have encouraged rats to the garden in the past. While I don’t mind the creatures in my garden, some of the neighbours do. So a wormery was a good choice for me. They create compost in a speedier time. Can be kept indoors and will process more than enough for me. Also, we are thinking of moving and would love to be able to take our compost with us. A wormery might not be for everyone, but for me, it was the right choice.
Choosing a Wormery
There are so many different kinds of wormeries on the market. So many that you can end up in a worm hole trying to choose one. After checking the many sites out there, considering how much kitchen waste we produce and working out which would fit our home best, I opted for the Worm City Wormery. Not only did it fit my main criteria, it is also manufactured in the UK. From recycled plastic. Which was a nice bonus in my book.
I was also keen on the simplicity of the design. All the trays are the same size and design, which when upturned makes the base. I was also able to choose the number of trays I wanted for my wormery, which means it can grow and shrink depending on the food availability. (which will also depend on the bin collections going forward)
All the equipment and worms are included in the £85 price, which included four trays. The reason I opted for the larger wormery is because being veggie, and cooking from fresh daily, we tend to get lots of peelings and skins. I also wanted to maximise the amount of vermiculture we could produce which means adding extra trays. The vermiculture compost can take up to four months to fully decompose. So you need extra trays for adding the fresh food.
Setting up the Worm City Wormery
In the box is everything you need to get started. Worm bedding (expandable compost), worm food, screws, taps and, most importantly, worms. The instruction booklet is clear and I recommend following it properly so you can give your worms the best start in life and help them to settle in.
The wormery is really simple to put together. Upturn one of the trays and attach it to an upward facing one (the one with the hole in it) with the butterfly screws. This creates the solid base for the wormery. Then add the up turned roof shaped piece, matching up the holes so you can secure it in place with the tap. The tap is to drain off any ‘worm juice’ from the vermiculture process. It is a great feed for the garden when mixed with the water in your watering can.
While you are working on the building of the wormery, you will want to hydrate the compost worm bedding. Add it to a bucket of tepid water and leave to expand.
Creating your Worm Home
Once you have built your wormery, it will have a nice solid base and one tray sitting in the tap tray. This is where you are going to set up home for your worms.
By now your compost bedding should be nicely hydrated and ready to become part of the base for the worms. A great tip provided is to get some of your garden compost to mix in with the new stuff. The reason behind this is that it has the balance of bacteria already in it, which will speed up the process in the wormery. Having the right balance of bacteria is crucial for making a happy wormery and settling in your new worms. So I advise that you don’t skip that tip.
I mixed the old compost with the new one in my bucket so that I didn’t essentially strain it through the bottom of the mesh of my first tray. Once well combined, I scooped it into the tray and spread it out evenly. This is the point that you get to add your lovely pink worms to their new home.
Adding the Worms to your Wormery
Now that you have the worm bedding (compost and coir bedding) ready, you can carefully add your worms to the mix. Carefully open your bag of worms and pour them onto the surface of the compost in the wormery. Spread them out gently with your hand so that you have an even layer for your next step.
The final stages are to give the worms a feed and to cover them with some dam shredded newspaper. I have to admit that I was keen on the idea of the wormery for getting rid of paper shreddings. We don’t get much post, but we do seem to end up with bits of paper from packaging and things, which I have always thought must have a better use than simply going in the recycling bin. I now have that better use.
Anyway, now that the worms are evenly spread, sprinkle over a bout a dessert spoon of the special worm food this is enough for them to get started with as it will be a week or so until you can add your food scraps. You want them to settle before you set them to work – think of it as their induction.
Shred your newspaper and other paper bits and wet in luke warm water. Squeeze out most of the moisture and then spread out over the top of the worms. The reason for the damp paper is that worms like a dark and damp environment to thrive. So it works as an excellent cover for them to get acquainted with their new home. Layer the paper until it is about two inches thick, it doesn’t need to be a solid two inches, but enough to make sure it is fully covered.
I read in the booklet about wandering worms. Apart from giggling at the thought of them going on an adventure, I realised that it would be something I would contend with while the worms settled. To overcome the problem, it is advisable to pop the wormery back into the delivery box to catch wandering worms. You can also leave the light on during the night so they stay low in the wormery. I had quite a few wandering worms (many didn’t survive the night) but the rest successfully settled after about 10 days meaning I could start slowly feeding them.
I will be sharing more about my wormery adventures over the coming months. So keep your eyes peeled for worm updates!
Have you ever had a wormery? Would you consider adding a Worm City Wormery or other kind to your home?
Let me know in the comments!