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Urban Worm Farm Solution – Step by Step Setup

After discovering our family compost bin was in a dangerously anaerobic state I decided a worm farm would be a much more suitable and productive way to deal with organic waste from the kitchen.

Don’t get me wrong, when done right compost is the best option out there but I can’t see my family producing enough waste in one go to make a pile large enough to really get the beneficial bacteria dominating, plus that process takes skill and dedication.

Basically when I want to make a compost heap for the garden I will make it separately and add worm castings and juice to enrich it, but day to day the worms are a better solution to eliminate scraps from the waste stream, a significant problem for municipalities, and to reinstate them as the valuable resource they are instead!

The benefits of a worm farm are many, my main reasons were:

  • Compact, making it perfect in an urban setting.
  • Low Maintenance.
  • Low energy input for high quality output.
  • Regular worm juice for watering.
  • High quality castings (worm poo), rich in nutrients, minerals and beneficial soil life, to grow great vegetables in.

In the video above I follow the process to set it up and get started. See also this nice Worm Farm Guide (2.5mb PDF) put out by the Australian Department of Environment and Conservation.


  1. The thing that still gets me about those black compost bins is that Australian local councils are still endorsing there use!

    If you get it right in a cool environment with a good Carbon/Nitrogen Ratio there ok. Get into the tropic’s and its a disease pit! Not healthy at all.

    Nice work Pat. Keep us updated on the progress of your new Pets.

    P.s: When is the Permablitz happening at your place ;-)

  2. Hi all. Keep up the good work. I’ve used one of these worm farm systems for a few years but now have a much bigger (3,000 litre) system. Just a few thoughts that might be useful for the readers here as we modified the original system. I noticed that over hot summer days (ie. high 30’s to low 40’s) that the worms consistently died, even though the worm farm was in the shade. Be careful buying a box of worms after a hot spell (although there will still be viable eggs in it though). This was in Melbourne too.

    We took off the legs and utilised only the top two trays and lid. The bottom tray which had an open mesh bottom was buried up to it’s top into the centre of the vegie patch. The top tray and lid fitted neatly into this buried tray. On very hot or very cold days, the worms could migrate out of the worm farm into the surrounding soil. Once the temperature settled down a bit to a more comfortable level, they’d come back. They always come back because unlike the local worms you’d find in your garden (or hopefully find), they only survive on a diet of fruit and vegie scraps. Plus worms are top feeders. The other bonus is that you don’t have to remove the worm tea as it naturally drains into your vegie patch, improving the soil.

    We had ants, but they never seemed to get into the system.

    We did a test between tomatoes grown next to this system and a control test grown elsewhere in similar conditions. The tomatoes next to the system outgrew and outproduced the control sample by almost double. Give it a try, just make sure your worm farm never gets inundated with water as you will drown the poor hard working worms.

  3. Worm farming is a fantastic technique to naturally compost waste and other discarded materials. Therefore, nutrient rich soil is produced and can be made use of in flower beds, crops, and gardens. Irrespective of all the reading and studies one does, issues may arise and can result in some concern.

  4. Hi, we would also like to mention, that we live in a sub tropical area, of N.S.W all is going well. however we have a query that perhaps someone has prior knowledge on. We have spiders, that are able to enter our worm farm. They are quite frequently our guests, the species, one very lrge spider, who I am not very familiar with. The other would be a type of Trianchala( mmm my spelling)sorry. I trust they are just interested in a few insects, and I am saddened to dispose of them.
    We are leaving for a little holiday 2morrow.Our worms have just moved to the second shelf of our Worm unit, would more food disturb them?
    Thanks for your interest. Kabir and Angella

  5. Hello, I have purchased a worm farm a few months ago and am wanting more information on the how to of it all as they don’t suppy much info at all.
    I do the scraps and add some organic soil each time I add more, and once a week I give them around 8 litres of water and some ph balance powder. So what else do I do and how do I get the castings and use them.
    I await your reply.
    Many thanks Kerri

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