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I was reading the GW magazine last night (I know - it's rock 'n' roll here ;)), particularly the article on wormeries. I'm considering a purchase. Does anyone have one and are you happy with it? Also, what kind of timeframe are we talking about to produce compost from the food scraps going in?
East Lancs


  • KlinkKlink Posts: 261
    Personally, i'd stick with a compost heap. I had/have two wormeries both of which seemed to take ages to produce anything worthwhile. I've now emptied both into the garden,worms and all.
    One is a wheelie bin like shape which i found to be pretty awkward to get compost out so it all had to sit in there for what seemed years before it produced anything, and one that has tiers which is the one i'd suggest getting if you're seriously thinking about  it. It's much easier to swap the tiers around and see what's going on.
    Shame you don't live close, you could have had mine!
  •     I've had 3 styles over the years, but TBH, not sure I'd bother again! Check with your local council whether you can get a discounted or even a free one firstly though.  I found that even in summer, the worms barely ate much, so food often rotted or had to go in the compost anyway, as it was too much for the wormery.  In winter, they eat even less!  Maybe someone more expert has advice, but I also found the tap always got jammed with worm poo or dead worms!  I used to wrap the wormery in bubble wrap in winter, and still had worms freeze in the water at the bottom (central London!).  Also had them cook to death in the summer!

       If you can get one free/subsidised/freecycle, I'd consider the can-o-worms style which has round layers than can be lifted off and swapped around and the best IMP.  The next style also has layers, but it kept filling with water, so only good in a sheltered spot. It was called a 'standard wormery'.  The 3rd, and worst, was 'the original wormery' which is essentially a compost bin with a tap.  You just keep filling the top, but you need to empty the entire bin to get the composted base out.  Very impractical.

    I was told that crushed egg shells, tea bags and even vacuum dust can go in the wormery.  I personally never found them eaten and they remained sitting in the wormery for months!   I found it took months to get 2 handfuls of poo! A compost is FAR better and quicker!
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    edited January 2021
    I would double up and make your compost bins especially worm-happy. In my closed bins, I try and transfer as many I can when taking out the final soil and put them back in the starter bins. Worms love book glue and fairly cool temps. In some bins I seem to have more worms that material, sometimes. Their poo is what counts - the more the better, and that of other critters. .
  • BigladBiglad Posts: 2,841
    Thanks folks. They seem to be sold as an upgrade on a compost bin but I'm going to stick with putting the right stuff in the Dalek, There are loads of worms in there doing a great job despite their 'inferiority' to those worms deemed worthy of living in a wormery ;) 
    East Lancs
  • I started a tray wormery at the beginning of lockdown in March/May, mostly because I had always been curious what it is like. The fifth tray has just gone up, but at the moment the wormery is wrapped up in fleece (it's outside in a sheltered position). Hopefully the little critters will survive. It is a matter of some concern, I really consider them pets. If all goes well I'll be harvesting my first tray in spring. I'm expecting a very rich condensed feed that I can use (diluted) for targeted use for hungry plants, a bit like one might sprinkle fertiliser granules. I like feeding the worms a balanced diet (not now when it's cold), kitchen scraps, coffee grounds and tea bags, crushed egg shells, old cotton, juicy prunings, shredded twigs, et cetera. The system works but takes some time to start up. During summer I would expect to harvest a tray about every month.

    From what I understand a well-working Dalek delivers similar results at presumably better scale, and can have different modes, from hot composting (microbial activity) to worm-based activity at lower temperatures. For a wormery in my experience it is relatively easy to maintain a steady state, with the caveat that I need them worms to surive these winter months ..
  • NollieNollie Posts: 6,751
    I have just made a wormery following these instructions:

    It was really easy and cheap to make. I used more rigid, opaque stackable plastic boxes than those shown and lined them with cork for insulation. Its super freezing temps at the moment so haven’t ordered the worms yet, I think the temperature shock to their little bodies might be too much 🥶
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • I have an original wormery, had it for years, not used it for years for all the reasons that others have already said. 
    AB Still learning

  • NollieNollie Posts: 6,751
    @skye_mck out of interest, how did yours keep filling with water? Did yours not have a lid on it plus a separate, empty tray at the bottom for collecting the worm juice? I’m not sure how it could get waterlogged?

    The worms I will be ordering are the special wormery worms, which apparently eat and sh*t at a far greater rate than ordinary earth worms, the latter not being suitable. Still, like @micearguers it’s an experiment and I’m not expecting quantity, but hoping for modest quality. The main challenge does seem to be keeping the wrigglers at optimum temperature- warm in winter but not too hot in summer.  I’m prepared to give it a go for a year or two anyhow. Someone, somewhere must have had success!!
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • @Nollie- My wormery did have a lid, the various tray layers, then the collection tray at the bottom with a tap.  I can only assume the lid wasn't tight fitting enough, or a poor design, because the base was constantly filled with water after rain.  I tried putting wormery in a partially covered area and adding a brick, incase the wind was lifting the lid, but it made no difference! I always found worms swimming or frozen in the water at the bottom!  That was called a 'standard wormery' with a handle on the lid.

    I also used the specific worms for a wormery- not general garden worms.  
  • @Nollie @skye_mck my (wormcity) wormery originally was only slightly sheltered; in the lee of a nook formed by shed and water butt. Rain would get in, hence I'd have the tap always open with a reservoir beneath it. The wormery is now in a more sheltered position but still rain can come in sideways and the tap is still open. It is not an issue, a bit of rain goes through the system, but that's quite a natural situation. The whole five-tray system is quite heavy and must weigh somewhere north of 15-20kg. I expect there are not many worms left in the highly compressed bottom layer and the worms to have migrated to higher trays. A few weeks ago was the last time I checked for worms and they were still present in large numbers.

    I've only started adding cotton (shredded old jeans) in the third and fourth tray, so it will be a while before it becomes clear whether that worked. The four main groups going in are coffee grounds + tea, chopped veg waste, shredded twigs, and shredded newspapers + cardboard, aiming for a moist but not wet environment where fungi flourish. I use a thick layer of shredded newspaper on top to modulate the dampness and it gives me a quick indication of the climate. It has felt a bit like getting a new pet and developing an understanding for its requirements; over the first few months I checked it every day, probably multiple times.
    Oh, another thing I feed them is the seed mix not a single bird seems to enjoy from a 20kg sack.

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