Worm towers are a handy addition to garden beds. We have one in each of our smaller wicking beds and two in our longer bed.
They’re very simple to make and allow you to add food scraps and green waste directly to the bed where the worms will take care of breaking it down and distributing the goodness.
The size will vary depending on your beds. For our purposes, I used 600mm of 100mm PVC pipe.
The bottom 100mm has lots of holes drilled into it and this layer is put below the soil line. I put it so the bottom of the pipe is 150mm below the soil level. This layer allows the worms to move in and out of the tower and spread their goodness to the soil mix.
The rest is above ground. I put a cap on ours, some folks don’t, but we have rats and other things of the night around that like to feed on veggie scraps.
What to do
Start the bed by 1/4 filling the tower with worms and castings taken from an active, healthy, worm farm. Add a couple of handfuls of finely chopped kitchen scraps and a little water. Cover the tube.
The theory is that the worms will compost the scraps and move from the tower into the surrounding soil for exercise and to lay their eggs. The compost worms won’t live out in the soil, but just sojurn there at their leisure. They’ll return to the tower to eat and live. I’ve added a few earthworms to the beds, just to keep mixing things up a little.
The worm juice and castings will make their way into the surrounding soil and make for happy, happy plants.
Click here for more details on how to keep your worms happy…
Changing the compost
The Red Wrigglers and friends have been really busy in the worm towers. In each tower, they’ve managed to change four good handfuls of compost into black gold. I think, now the warmer weather is upon us, their activity can only increase.
When all the food scraps in the tower have been converted to crumbly black castings and the juices have drained into the garden bed, it’s time to remove the castings and add some more food. I remove about 3/4 of the column of worm castings in the tower and sprinkle them over the bed the tower is in. Then I add the compost nearly to the top.
On the top of the pile, I add an handful of worm castings. Then I pour on a couple of cups of water with some bicarb soda dissolved in it to reduce the acidity a little. I think this helps distribute the bicarb soda evenly through the tower and also picks up a little worm goodness from the handful at the top which, in my mind, might encourage the worms to travel to the top of the pile, thinking someone else has already been there…Worm Psychology 101
I like to add Bokashi composted vegetable scraps, because the worms really love them. As I mentioned above, because Bokashi compost is a bit acidic, I usually add a bit of bicarbonate soda or dolomite mixed in water. This neutralizes some of the acidity.