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Make Your Own Worm Farm from Car Tyres

A certain truck driver in Asia has discovered the value of good road-hugging (or bridge barrier-hugging, as the case may be) tyres.

But, that’s not the topic of this post. Here, instead, we offer the suggestion of taking well worn tyres not capable of such extreme feats, and putting them to other worthwhile purposes – like feeding your garden with nutrient rich worm casts.

At Zaytuna Farm we use a couple of old bathtubs for this purpose, but if you don’t have a bathtub at your disposal, this simple car tyre system (700kb PDF) looks like a great alternative.

This simple setup is the kind of thing that could be utilised pretty much anywhere. Even in extreme poverty scenarios you can normally find some worn out old tyres and a few bits of wood.

Vermicomposting is an excellent way to turn kitchen and other scraps and cycle them back into nutrient dense food. Scientists still struggle to explain the processes, but the soil that goes into a worm, and that which comes out the other end, is strikingly different and brings multiple benefits to the soil (structure, microbial activity and water retention capacity) and plants (germination, root and plant structure growth and yield). Amongst other things, the worm mucus bound up with the castings help hold nutrients and moisture.

Give it a try!

P.S.: If you have a worm farm, why not write us a short post for publishing so our readers can benefit from your experience and observations and get inspired to do similar. Write to editor (at) permaculturenews.org with some text and pictures.

Hat Tip: Thanks to Ringo for the PDF.

7 Comments

  1. That Christchurch City Council design is pretty good, although I’m not sure how easy it would be to slide the bottom tyre out as they suggest (for emptying worm castings).

    There’s quite a bit of debate about having tyres in the garden though. They’re not without toxicity issues. I no longer grow food in them, and I’m unsure about using tyre-grown worm soil in food gardens. Maybe the microbes deal with the heavy metals and other problematic chemicals. Does anyone know?

  2. A friend of mine told me about the bathtub worm farm at Zaytuna Farm and I just happen to have one at my disposal which I was planning to use for this purpose or a herb garden. I would prefer this method to using tyres in my garden.

    I was wondering if there was a picture of the Zaytuna Farm bathtub worm farm online anywhere? I am guessing that you just prop it up on a stand and place a bucket under the plug hole?

  3. Hi Pebble – I agree re potential toxicity issues. It seems anything we create with post-industrial substances comes with risks attached. I still think this could be a good, low-cost option for places where resources are limited though.

    Bill – I’ll see if I can’t get a pic of the Zaytuna worm farms for you. I’m not there myself at the moment. They are raised on wooden frames, with a slight tilt so the worm juice will flow down and out of the plug hole, and into a bucket. Great stuff for plant fertilisation, or as an inoculant, as it’s rich in microbial life, trace nutrients and minerals.

  4. Thanks Craig, that would be awesome. There is a guy here on the Gold Coast who sells good worms and I am looking forward to getting it going as I know how great the juice is! :-)

  5. “I still think this could be a good, low-cost option for places where resources are limited though”

    I agree Craig :-) And also on larger properties where the land is big enough to deal with any potential problems.

  6. Tryes are vulcanised latex, so a very high percentage is just carbon. Yes petro chemicals are used in the process but most long chain heavy elements are cooked off or broken down during the making of the tyre. Tyres have been used to stabilise erosion in many areas where other processes are not suitable. and after stabilisation is acheived the vegetation roots consumes the tyres leaving only rusting belts. considering the high carbon process of recycling tyres a reuse strategy is far more enviromentally friendly.

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