Free fertilizer!

Here is the finished product (above the top box is one months worth of highly potent worm juice – for use, dilute juice to water at a ratio of 1:10 to prevent “burning” of plant leaves and roots)

A worm farm can produce a really good garden fertilizer, while also disposing of household organic waste. They are also very cheap to make. Of course you can buy one at your local hardware store for $100 or more but they are nothing more than fancy boxes with holes in the bottom and a tap. A cheaper (and slightly less attractive) way to produce worm juice is to make your own worm farm out of items that people are often throwing away.

What you will need is:

2x Styrofoam boxes (1 with a lid)

1x Box of composting worms (roughly 500 worms) from your local hardware store or collected from your neighbours compost bin (must be tiger worms or similar)

1x piece of hessian or a few layers of newspaper to fit inside the top box

All you need to do now is to punch roughly 9 small holes into the base of the top box (this is where the worm juice will drip through to the bottom box), scatter some soil or rotted manure into this box (sometimes the box of worms will come with enough manure to cover the base) and add a small amount of organic household waste (don’t add meat, large amounts of citrus fruits of spicy/hot items).

The top lidded box will sit on top of the second box, which is used to collect the worm juice.

Keep the hessian or newspaper layers damp and covering the household waste (each time you add more food scraps you will place it under this layer. When the top box fills with worm castings you will have to obtain another box to add to the top of the full box (punch holes in this box and add food scraps – the worms will eventually all migrate to the top box and the old top box full of casting can be removed, while the castings can be used as a soil amendment).

In one month of use in a 2 person household, the worms managed to produce a huge amount of juice (see photo), which will be more than adequate for our garden.
Gardening doesn’t need to be expensive and by simply utilizing our household waste we can produce enough fertilizer to keep our gardens growing healthy.

Here are some recent veg scraps. I like to roughly chop them before adding the scraps to the worm bin to speed up decomposition and make it easier for the worms to eat. Note: the hessian cover is pealed back and has a simple handle so I don’t have to grab a handful of food scraps every time I add more.