My name is Charlotte, sometimes known as Ms Lottie, occasionally as The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady. This is my blog, where you'll find me writing a lot about my quilting and textile arts and a little about my family's life in a small seaside town in New Zealand. Haere mai!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Worm Mansion

This is a purely garden related post so now's the time to tune out if that's not your style.

Here in NZ you can buy a good basic worm farm from The Warehouse or other similar places.  It has three boxes with screen dividers in between.  The bottom box is where the worm pee or run off from the castings is collected.  The middle box is where the maturing castings are and the top box is the one you are filling.

The top box - room for more!
The idea is to fill the top box until it's crammed, then take it off, open up and empty the middle box and use all the castings, then put the top box in the middle to mature and the empty middle box becomes the top box that you begin to fill again (got that?!).  You can add more boxes to the cycle if you fill them quickly.

The middle box - filled with beautiful, rich castings.
The problem is the bottom box.  To get to the worm pee you have to lift two heavy boxes off, scoop out the pee and then put the whole thing back together.  A bit too much bother to do regularly.

My good friend Sue is moving back to the UK from whence she came a good while back.  I'll miss her terribly (but I'm looking on the bright side - I'll have someone to visit!).  They've been downsizing and having a clear out and I've already benefited, but this worm farm set up is one of the best things yet!

Sue's handy husband has plugged in a simple hose fitting set up to drain the worm pee.  Whenever the watering can is half full, it can be topped up with water to dilute it and used to water plants and give them a boost.  This eliminates the frequent heavy lifting.  The worm farm needed a stand to accommodate the hose, but this could be adapted from an old table or bench.

Two farms is the perfect amount of room for our family.  The chickens get bread scraps, cabbage, apple cores etc and the worms get the stuff they won't eat, like citrus, teabags, bits of paper and potato and banana peels.  And I get the worm castings to spread in my garden the the worm pee to use in my pots or on anything that needs a boost!

Official worm farm guides suggest that worms don't like citrus, but mine don't seem to mind a bit.  Plus I sprinkle a bit of lime in from time to time as worms prefer less acid conditions.

So if you've been contemplating a worm farm, this might give you some ideas on how to set one up effectively, or if you've got one and it's been annoying you, get down to your local hardware and buy a few hose connectors.  You're plants will love you for it.


  1. Interesting post... sounds like a good set up and the adaptation with the drainage is a great idea. Your garden must be very healthy!!

  2. Our worms ran away... then the bins became brittle and damaged. However, one day... Do you not give banana peels to the chickens? Mine seem to like them. Bummer about Sue, I thought she might change her mind and stay.

  3. An extra note: keep them somewhere shady, the worm farms heat up in direct sunlight and the worms like it cooler.


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