As every gardener knows the worm is their unseen, hard working ally. They beaver away below ground aerating the soil and taking nutrients from the surface to nourish the plant roots beneath the soil. A good, nutrient rich soil has a flourishing population of worms and is a great barometer to a gardener that their soil is in good condition.
Imagine my delight when I was to take possession of a Wiggly Wigglers wormery. I naively thought this was a place where I would breed worms and release them to my soil. Then one wet morning on my welsh hillside allotment came Richie baring this special piece of 'kit' for my plot.
He quickly assembled it and explained how it functioned. There was a reservoir at the base which collected all the juices from the worms released when they munched through my kitchen waste. He then put on the first tray and showed me a compressed material he was going to use to start off the process. 'No' I said 'let's use some of the good material from my compost heap and give them a happy home.' Whilst putting a couple of big handfuls of this good material into the tray I spotted one of my own worms amongst this material. Richie then was about to introduce about a thousand new worms into this compost when I said 'stop there could be trouble if my worm spots these intruders in his compost.' I had visions of the film Zulu in my mind as this lone welsh worm singing the strains of 'Men of Harlech' tried to repel these invaders. But no, fortunately he accepted them as friends and soon I swear as I passed the bin each day I could hear the strains of Cwm Rhondda!
I then asked 'how do I keep them well fed?' All that is required he explained was to collect my kitchen waste in a large caddy and anything such as tea bags , fruit off cuts, peeling of vegetables and top up the wormer as required without over doing the fresh 'stuff' until they had consumed most of it. Please avoid citrus fruits and onion parts as they are not fond of these acidic things. When the first chamber is full, place the next chamber on top and continue filling that one and the worms will evacuate gradually the lower one in search of new pastures .Then finally when number two chamber is full add the third one. By then all the inhabitants of chamber one will have gone and I am left with a pan of super compost.
I use this early in the season as a 25% mixture with multipurpose compost to fill my pots to grow on my vegetable plants and they thrive in this super mixture and many of my fellow allotmenteers look on in envy at these healthy young transplants! Then during the summer months this rich compost is used as mulch around my beans and for a bumper crop putting other bean growers to shame! Word of caution , wash that cup thoroughly before going to the shed for a brew of coffee, it does not add to the taste!
The rich liquid is used weekly as a feed for all my crops and half a tea cup full in my watering can acts a great stimulant to all my crops and is a free by product saving me spending my hard earned cash on proprietary feeds!
During the winter months the wormeries are housed in my greenhouse and the production of the rich compost goes uninterrupted for twelve months of the year. During the spring and summer they are housed at the bottom of my plot and get the morning sun to ensure they are up early and working and then they are in the shade by some distant trees from the heat of the noon sun.
Look after your worms and they thrive and bring rich rewards. You know it makes sense!