Thursday, 11 April 2013

My DIY wormery

The bitingly cold weather appears to be hanging on here and it doesn't make for a happy gardening experience so yesterday I figured I'd spend the day clearing up jobs in the greenhouse and polytunnel.
Once I got in there though I suddenly had a whim to build a wormery. I've wanted to build a wormery for a while just to see if it composts down those kitchen scraps quicker than my compost heap but it had to be made using items I could salvage from around here (not buying a thing).
I didn't have the tubs I wanted to use last time so gave up on the project, however I now have a surplus of those plastic tubs so I gathered 3 of them and 1 lid and headed off to the greenhouse / workshop.

I decided I wanted the lid to be black instead of clear to absorb a bit of heat in the winter so I gave it a coat of black paint I bought for the indoor log burner.

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Next I had to adapt the bottom bin which would be the one used to collect the liquid from the wormy compost. Alot of the tutorials online suggested placing a brick or two in the bottom so that the next tub wouldn't sit all the way down and the liquid end up drowning the poor worms but even if I did own a brick or two, which I don't (have never even seen a brick here in the Highlands) it's not what I wanted to do.
So I decided in my wisdom to screw a square block to two of the internal sides so that the next tub could sit on those - like this

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I did then realise (when I took the time to actually think the process through) that in my "wisdom" I had actually made the liquid tub no longer watertight - duh!
Oh well, I'll just have to empty it regularly won't I!
As for the actual reality of screwing those blocks on, well let's just say I could have kicked the whole thing over the valley because I made a real meal of it. The main problem being that I wouldn't even allow a 1/4" difference between the two because if both sides didn't sit level it would bug the hell out of me.
With the bottom liquid catching tub done I moved on to the next level. This next tub needed teeny tiny holes drilling in the base to allow all the liquid to drip through to the bottom tub (I'm kinda going on blind faith that the worms won't follow suit) and then I drilled air holes all the way around the top of the tub

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This second tub then sat niftily on top of those blocks in the bottom tub

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The final top tub then had the same air holes drilled around the top and holes drilled in the base so that the worms can move on up as they need to.

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With the lid on all I needed to do was add the ingredients and the all important worms.
Research told me that I needed to first put some damp cardboard on the base of the middle tub (hopefully this is designed to stop them pesky worms dropping to their watery death below) followed by some damp shredded paper, then some soil with the worms and finally some kitchen waste.
Once all the layers are in place I then simply put more damp cardboard on top of it all and then stack the third tub (with the lid on top) and then wait for those worms to do their thing!
So, where do I get the worms? I remember when I last got a load of horse manure that it was full of the correct Brandling worms but I've not got any recent manure so what to do? Well apparantly the compost heap is very likely to have some so I donned my Marigolds and plunged my hands into the compost heap.
After 10 minutes of rooting I found nothing! Nada! Not only was there no Brandling worms but there were no worms whatsoever - that can't be good can it?
So my newly built wormery is just sitting there because I refuse to buy blinkin worms. I'm just going to have to go and get a trailer load of manure.
Buying worms!!!! Whoever would think of such a thing! Worms!!!!


  1. Can you seal where the bottom is now 'not watertight' with the stuff they put round baths?

    1. I probably will Sue. However I have since discovered a flaw in my wormery design. It suddenly dawned on me while staring at it today that the top box sits snuggly into that middle box and blocks off all those ruddy air holes - oops!
      Thanks for commenting Sue :)


  2. How fascinating, I will be interested in seeing how you get on as I would love to have one too.xxxxx

    1. I have discovered a design flaw Snowbird as I explained to Sue above so I'm going to have adapt it with air holes that will actually do the job they're supposed to do. Kind of glad those worms never surfaced now lol.

      Thanks for popping by


  3. Hello from another gardening Linda! You ARE far north. I've only been your way once, to and from the National Mod when it was in Thurso - I posted about it here:

    I'll look forward to seeing what Caithness gardening is like!


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