How to build a worm tower

 

Kids love worms, dirt and being part of creating something wonderful – especially when you tell them worms can help save the planet. Get them in the garden, build a worm tower and do something good for your garden and the environment.

Create healthy, living soil that will feed your garden beds.  Introducing a worm tower will create a living mini microbe system. This will improve the quality of your vegetable beds and improve the growth of your produce as the nutrients are delivered straight to your soil.

The advantage of an in-ground worm farm is that you can create a micro environment that allows  compost worms to speed up the composting process of organic waste. These worms will do this faster than earth worms. It will create better soil for your vegetable beds and removes the waste from land fill. 

image: www.permaculturenews.org

image: permaculturenews.org


Earthworms  should be readily found in your garden beds. They feed on plant debris and release rich in nutrients, which can improve soil stability and water absorption, but is a slower process compared to tiger and red worms. Compost worms are the ideal worm to use for worm towers. 

The channels worms create as they move through the soil  enhances aeration and drainage, while the bacteria formed breaks down pollutants and converts organic matter into forms that are useful for plants. Some even form relationships with plants – like nitrogen-fixing bacteria that are found in root nodules of plants. 

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Get the kids in the garden and create Worm Towers.

We took classes of students to install new worm towers in the garden beds at Bonbeach P.S. to help create nutrient rich soil, eliminate organic waste from landfill, create a sense of pride and ownership in the garden and provide a sustainable practice for them to easily maintain. 

You will need: shovels, plumbers pipe (80cm long), drill, gloves, compost worms, shredded paper, wood chips, organic food scraps, hessian or pot plant container to fit the top of the pipe.

  • Work in small groups to make sure eveyone gets a turn at something – this creates ownership and the ongoing responsibilty will be increased. 
  • Start by drilling lots of holes in a piece of plumbing pipe. This creates airflow and allows worms to come and eat food scraps as they please. 
  • Next, dig a hole inside your garden bed to the depth of the pipe.  Making sure it’s close enough to the edge of a bed so that you can reach to empty your scraps into.
  • Position the pipe, allowing about 20cm of the pipe above the soil surface, and backfill the pipe into place.
  • Add some bedding, we chose shredded paper from the school office & woodchips – 10cm of each. 
  • Carefully add your compost worms and finally some food scraps from the class compost bucket & cover with a little more shredded paper, about 10cm. 
  • We placed a potplant over the pipe to keep our worms safe, you could also use hessian for this purpse – it will keep out the rain but still allow air flow.

Students are now responsible for caring for their new micro environments and feeding the worm towers with organic food scraps from their classroom compost buckets.  The students installed a total of 6 worm towers to 6 garden beds. Once the current food crops are finished in these beds,  move the towers around to help distribute the organic waste. 

Lessons learnt: mathamatics by measuring,  biology of worms, understanding heat processes, creating sustainable practices, working as a team, responsibility, leadership.

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