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Worm farm case study

Image of woman showing worms

Free tomato plants are one of the benefits of worm farming for Ashmore couple Cheryl and Doug Hay. Their worm farm, a birthday gift from Doug to Cheryl, started an ongoing interest and passion for worm farming.

After one or two false starts the present population of worms, bought from a local hardware store, has built steadily over five years.

“We lost a couple of lots of worms early on”, said Doug. "In hindsight it was probably due to heat stress - the worm farm got too much sun. Nowadays, the farm is tucked in next to the garage and gets very little if any direct sunlight."

Fruit and vegetable scraps from the couple's kitchen are roughly chopped and collected in a two litre ice-cream container which is emptied into the worm farm every two or three days.

Cheryl and Doug believe that storing the scraps for a few days in the sealed container allows them to soften up, meaning the worms can eat the scraps much faster.

Other useful tips the couple passes on include covering the food scraps in the worm farm with damp hessian, providing a moist and safe feeding environment and sprinkling ash from a wood burning fire to reduce acidity in the farm.

Adding a small quantity of sugar cane mulch has also proven useful in absorbing excess moisture and providing aeration.

The liquid and solid fertiliser produced by the farm has proven a bonus for the couple's plants and garden.

“We’re not horticulturalists by any stretch of the imagination”, says Cheryl, “but we use the fertiliser on all our plants; orchids, camellias, elkhorns, anything, and they all thrive.”

Tomato seeds, which are not digested by the worms, often sprout and provide top quality fruit for free.

Recycling food scraps through the farm has now become a part of the household routine.

“It takes absolutely no time to be a successful worm farmer and the results are fantastic. That’s what we tell anyone who asks about our worms", said Doug.

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