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If you want to reduce waste at home and live more sustainably, it can be simpler than you think. Got an old or broken wheelie bin? Start composting with a wheelie bin worm farm!
Worm farming, or vermicomposting, saves your food waste from landfill. Also, the nutrient rich compost you’ll create will feed your garden. Why worms? Hungry worms chomp through the equivalent of their own bodyweight in organic matter every single day. They turn your organic waste into worm castings, or worm poo, to use the less technical term. This nutrient rich poo can help plants grow strong, health roots. Farmers often call worm poo ‘black gold’ for that reason!
Firstly, it’s a great way of repurposing your old bin. Rather than throwing it away, you can easily convert it into a worm farm. Secondly, a wheelie has a lot of capacity but doesn’t take up too much space in your garden. Then there’s the fact that they’re easy to move should you want to reposition your wheelie bin worm farm.
Ideally, you want to position your worm farm somewhere in your garden that’s not too hot or too cold.
You’ll need to install a tap at the bottom of your bin for the leachate. You can buy a tap or make one from the top of a two-litre plastic bottle. Drill a hole two inches from the bottom of your wheelie. If you’ve used the top of a bottle as the tap, insert it through the hole. Make sure it’s watertight.
Next, drill some holes six inches from the bottom of the bin. Space them six inches apart around the circumference of your wheelie. Drill a few more holes into the lid. The purpose of these holes is to aid drainage and control humidity. Decide where you want to access the compost from. You can either make a hatch or just keep it simple and access it from the top of the bin.
Raise the bin off the ground using a couple of bricks. Fill it up with gravel up to just above where you have drilled the holes around the bin. This will help stop the compost from blocking them.
Pour water into the wheelie so it’s nearly level with the holes around the bin.
Put small pieces of wood on top of the gravel in a criss-cross formation. Once you’ve done this, add some compost.
We would advise that you use a species of worm like tiger worms, which you can buy online or in person from a wormery. Earthworms aren’t really a good choice as they don’t tend to feed or breed very fast.
Once you’ve introduced them to the wheelie bin worm farm, give them some food. This can be anything that decomposes naturally, from chopped up raw fruit and veg, to dry leaves, and lawn clippings. Don’t put dairy products, meat, bones, citrus fruits, onions, fats, or animal faeces in your worm bin. This will make it smell bad and it will attract pests.
Once you’ve added the organic waste, cover it with a layer of compost and shredded newspaper. Finally, water it with a watering can and your worm farm is ready to go!
Worms like to live in dark spaces with lots of dirt. If your worm farm gets overcrowded, this can stress them out and they’ll die. Remove some worms if you need to and give them a new home in your garden.
Add too little food to your worm farm and worms will try to escape if they are hungry. Add too much and they won’t be able to eat it. That risks rotting waste causing a smell. Check your bin regularly to make sure you are getting the balance right.
Worms thrive in temperatures of around 21°C. If the temperature is much higher or lower than this, the worms could die. Check the temperature of your worm farm regularly with a thermometer and move it elsewhere in your garden if need be.
So there you have it, creating a wheelie bin farm is an easy way to reduce waste and live more sustainably. You’ll be doing your bit for the planet and making some nutrient-rich feed for your plants. What’s not to love?
So dig out your old wheelie and get composting. Oh, and if you need a new wheelie for your new venture, you can buy a high-quality budget-friendly one from us!
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