Worm farms provide gardeners and anglers with a ready supply of nutrient-rich humus and plump, juicy worms. Starting a worm farm requires a handful of materials found in your home. Regular maintenance of your worm farm helps ensure that your worms stay healthy and process your food waste efficiently. Learn how to adjust the pH of your worm farm to minimize potential health issues for your worms, including breeding problems and a failure to thrive.
Things You'll Need
- pH meter
- Plastic bags
- Rolling pin
- Shredded newspaper
Check the pH level of your worm farm at least once weekly to monitor the bin's acidity levels. Acquire a pH meter from your local lawn and garden supply store or from an online worm compost company. Insert the probe on your pH meter straight into the worm bedding in at least three different locations to determine the pH levels. Look for normal pH levels, which may range from 6.0 to 8.0 in a healthy worm farm, according to the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works.
Eliminate low pH readings (below 6.0) in your worm farm by gradually providing additional materials to neutralize the excess acidity. Collect 10 to 12 eggshells in a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin. Sprinkle the mashed eggshells across the surface of your worm bin bedding. Avoid feeding your worms acidic fruit scraps, such as oranges and lemons, until your pH readings return to normal levels.
Increase sources of acidity in your worm bin to correct high pH readings (above 8.0). Peel an orange and position 3 to 4 segments of the fruit in different areas of the worm bin, covering each piece with several inches of bedding to keep from attracting fruit flies. Sprinkle 2 to 3 inches of fresh, shredded newspaper bedding across the surface of your worm bin to increase the amount of neutral materials in your bin. Moisten the bedding with a gentle misting of water until it's about as damp as a wrung-out sponge to help maintain adequate moisture levels.
Tips & Warnings
- Get into the habit of adding crushed eggshells to your worm bin two to three times per month to help prevent potential pH problems. According to Janet Hogan Taylor, co-author of "The Worm Book," gritty materials like eggshells have the added benefit of improving your worms' ability to digest food more quickly.
- Sniff the bedding in your worm farm every day. A vinegar odor typically indicates acidic conditions that must be corrected to maintain your worms' health.
- County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works: Worm Composting Questions and Answers (pdf)
- "The Worm Book;" Loren Nancarrow & Janet Hogan Taylor; 1998
- Photo Credit orange and red orange fruit image by Tomo Jesenicnik from Fotolia.com
- How to Make a Nightcrawler Worm Farm
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