Ok I am not talking about the kind you are probably thinking of. I am talking about compost worms. Have you ever considered them as pets?
Sure when you first think about getting a pet for you and your family the classic ones always come to mind; a cute pooch, pretty kitty cats and even the colourful feathered kind, certainly not 1000 or so compost worms right?
I love my compost worms! Let me tell you why; after the initial set up cost, they are cheap to feed (living solely on your food scraps and even old pizza boxes), low maintenance, quiet, educational, contrary to what some people think they are not smelly, the farmhouse is compact and they are fabulous for our environment by reducing the amount of waste going into landfill therefore reducing your own carbon footprint and Co2 emissions. How awesome is that!
What got me into compost worms? Put simply, I hated seeing all my vege scraps going into the bin. I looked into compost bins, but honestly the manual labour of turning the compost over and the size of the bins was not going to work for me. I investigated compost worms. After lots of research on where to get the farmhouse, bedding, and worms, I went with an Aussie distributor that would send the entire package direct to my house.
The set up was simple, a little messy but simple. I read that the worms can be unsettled after their travels and may try to escape their farmhouse at night. To keep them safe, I kept my wormies for a couple of nights in my garage with the light on. They were than moved to their permanent location, around the side of my house in a cool shady spot under the eve.
It was recommended to start off with just a small amount of food to begin with. Once they consume it, put a little more in at different corner of their house. After a few weeks I noticed that they started to multiply with teeny tiny little babies (just a couple of millimetres long). No worm juice yet though. They sure were eating and eating and eating. After a number of weeks we got worm juice and a few months after that, had enough compost to go into potting mix!
So how do you “Love Your Worms”?
Compost worms are super hard workers you know, treat them kind and they will be kind back by processing your food ‘waste’ into nutrient rich plant food and soil conditioner. Your worms need a combination of ‘brown’ & ‘green’ waste, along with good hydration. But what does that mean?
GREEN WASTE – 40-60% Nitrogen
= Food scraps
BROWN WASTE – 50-60% Carbon
= Paper, cardboard, hay
HYDRATION – As Needed (Climate Control)
= Mist water when adding carbon
= To keep the soil moist
= To cool the climate
What can you feed your worms?
Yum, Yes Please:
- Most fruit and veggies
- Coffee grounds
- Egg shells
- Egg cartons, toilet rolls, pizza boxes
- Paper towels
- Vacuum dust
- Uncoated paper
Just A Little Bit Is OK:
- Bread, pasta, rice
- Processed foods
No Way, That’s Gonna Make Us Sick:
- Citrus, pineapple
- Onion, garlic, spicy foods
- Plastic, foils, non-organics
- Dairy, Oils
- Meat, Fish
- Animal waste (It usually has worm treatment in it and well hello, we are worms!)
Hints For Happy Worms:
Keep it cool – hot weather is not a friend for worms. Spray over cool water, put in a small frozen water bottle in the compost or bring the farm inside where its cooler.
Balance – just like us a balance diet is the key. When you add ‘nitrogen’ add some ‘carbon’.
Pests – you might get some little bugs becoming flatmates with your worms. That is ok, this is a natural eco environment remember. But if you start getting ants or flies you are probably feeding your worms too much. So back off the food for a few days until they have had their fill.
Stink’O’Rama – so the farm is starting to smell like the local tip. Again, too much food! Remember to spread the food out, no more than 50mm in dept. My worms like it when I blend up all my scraps into a super food smoothie.
Fluff The Doona – worms like their bedding fluffed up. It helps them breathe and move around better. Just give the top 2-3 inches a little fluff up occasionally. Shredded paper also helps with this job.
Your probably now wondering, what kind of people have compost worms as pets?
- Singles, couples or families
- Retired folk
- Anyone keen to be more eco-friendly
- People who are not into dogs and cats (yeah, I heard they exist)
- People who cannot or should not have a dog or cat (oh yes, I know should not’s do exist)
- Anyone who lives in a small, medium or large space (yup, apartment dwellers listen up!)
- I think you got it…ANYONE!
One last thing, I have not given my 1000+ wormies names. But if you want to, by all means do so, I suggest starting from the letter A and move through until Z, then I guess, start all over again and than again…….
Author Bio: Nikki is pack leader at Pressplay Pets, a blog for the modern age pet parent interested in health & care, news, reviews & personal accounts of unconditional love & at times heartfelt pain of pet parenting. She is also proud mum to cute and cheeky Papillons ‘Amber’ and ‘Indy’!
Follow Pressplay Pets blog:
Pressplay Pets a blog for the modern age pet parent interested in health & care, news, reviews & personal accounts of unconditional love & at times heartfelt pain of pet parenting!