Blog | Kilburnlad Starting a wormery - not as easy as you might think

Starting a wormery - not as easy as you might think

With a renewed interest in fishing and nowhere to buy any wriggly bait in town, I thought that a wormery might be a good investment. After a bit of research I bought the Original Wormery Composter from Original Organics. It's designed for both indoor and outdoor use and isn't as large as some of the other offerings.

Everything arrived and I set it up according to the instructions. It comes with coir, or coconut fibre rather than soil. This needs to be moistened and personally I felt it looked somewhat unappealing as a home for the worms. But it was what it was. I added some food waste and shredded paper and left the top of the wormery open for a short while as this encourages the worms to burrow to escape the light. This didn't take long and the top wasn't open for long. I subsequently learned that this might have been a mistake.

The instruction was to then leave the worms for a while to settle in, but after a few days I had a peek. There were worms all up the inside of the container and some around the edges of the lid and in the hinge. I didn't cotton on to the fact that some had in fact got past the foam seal that sits between the lid and the top edge of the container.

When I next looked a few days later I couldn't see any worms. I turned over the coir and could only find two or three. I phoned the company and was assured that they were probably there, perhaps in the bottom of the container. However, I looked again about a week later - no worms

wormery lid

At this point I applied some practical logic to the situation and came to the conclusion that the worms had all escaped through small channels where the foam didn't quite meet, as shown in the photo. I recollected that I had seen worms in the hinge area and realised that they must have wriggled through the channel at that end. An email to the company didn't illicit any sympathy, only a statement that the foam normally provides a good seal, not acknowledging the obvious design flaw that I had described.

I had no choice other than to order some more worms while carrying out some modifications to block the escape routes that I had identified. I also checked out some YouTube videos and one explained that when the worms are first introduced they need a good while to acclimatise to their new home. It was recommended that the lid be left open for much longer than I had done previously. If they are not given plenty of time before the lid is closed. Once in the dark they will explore everywhere rather than just settling in their coir matting. That made sense so I followed this advice with my new worms.

It's still early days but so far my worms have remained, or at least a fair number of them, and I haven't spotted any signs of escapees. More importantly they seem active and I hope have started work breaking down the food waste. Only time will tell but it is clear that keeping worms is as much an art as a science!

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