Our worm farm does not fill up to the top! Is that normal?

by Chris
(Auckland)

Worm castings in a worm bin

Worm castings in a worm bin

Hello, we have just opened the bottom of our worm farm to harvest the worm castings and after recycling food waste and garden refuse for a whole year our worm farm is still not full! Is this normal?


There are heaps of worms and there is no smell in the bin which seems to a good sign I guess. Also we are getting very little juice (worm tea for the last few months why would this be?

I am looking forward to hear from you.

Chris

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Jul 26, 2016
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Re: Worm farm does not fill up
by: Stephan

Hello Chris,

you raised some very interesting points in your message. Let me get right away to the answers of your questions.

Q1.) Is it normal that a worm farm does not fill up?

A1.) This is quite a normal occurrence and many people have contacted me wondering why their worm bins never seemed to fill up. As a matter of fact every well maintained worm farm is actually filling up and will if all goes well be full to the brim one day. The reason that the opposite seems to be the case is the fact that the worms in the bin that recycle the food and garden waste that has been added to the bin. The worms feed on the lettuce leaves, fruit waste, dog poop and whatever else is added to the bin digest it and deposit the remains as tiny compact heaps of worm poop /worm castings on the surface of their bedding. This way they are reducing the volume that their food had before they ate it dramatically. In addition and even more important the action of the worms reduces the air gaps inside the bin to very tiny spaces. The optical effect this has on the eye of the surprised worm composting fiend is that the content inside the bin seems to shrink.

But this seeing the volume level in a worm farm regularly dropping is actually a good sign as it clearly indicates that there are lots of healthy and happy worms actively recycling the organic waste that has been given to them. So just harvest as much of the worm castings as you like and keep up feeding the worms the way you have done so far.

Q2.) Why do we get very little worm juice / worm tea?

A2.) Worm juice, worm tea or worm leachate are basically similar products but are often wrongly suspected to be the urine of worms. Compost worms don't wee but deposit instead all their digested food as worm castings. If you would like to get some liquid worm leachate from your worm farm you must pore some excess water over the surface of the worm castings inside your worm farm. The worm castings will absorb as much moisture as they can and the rest of the water will collect nutrients from the castings and drip into the bottom container of your worm farm. Usually about 30 minutes after you added the water you should be able to harvest the worm tea or leachate (There is actually a difference but this is subject for another post :-))

Keep up the good work and happy worming!!

Kind regards and blessings from

Stephan Kloppert
Author of "How to start a profitable worm business on a shoestring budget"

Editor of www.worm-composting-help.com



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