Is your worm farm smelling bad or attracting the wrong sort of bugs? Here are seven frequently asked questions.
Can I overfeed my worms?
Definitely! Overfeeding worms can result in protein poisoning (aka sour crop). As protein-rich foods break down, they release acidic compounds. This, in time, will change the pH of your worm bin. Use the power of observation. If worm food is rotting faster than it is getting eaten, remove some of the food and add it to your compost pile. Wait a few days, and then add some fresh food.
My worm farm stinks! What do I do now?
If there is too much moisture in the worm farm, you may find that the contents start to smell a little off, almost acidic. The worm farm should have an “earthy”, almost pleasant aroma. If not, time to check the contents. Mix coco peat (coir), straw or hay, or shredded cardboard into the worm farm bedding to soak up excess moisture. Also, verify that you are not overfeeding the worms.
Why are there maggots in my worm farm?
If food scraps were left out in the open, flies might have laid eggs in these scraps. So you may have placed fly eggs into the worm farm. Or maybe you trapped a fly or two inside the farm, and then they laid eggs directly into the worm food. Make sure that food scraps are placed into the worm farm or compost pile as soon as possible. Verify that the kitchen compost bin has a lid. If you find too many maggots, remove and feed them to chickens or add them to the hot compost pile. Before you close the lid of the worm farm, check for flies and remove them.
Why are my worms trying to escape?
Worms could be escaping for various reasons.
- Ventilation – can the worms breathe? Clear all ventilation holes.
- Moisture levels – is there too much water inside the farm? Add carbon to soak up the extra moisture.
- Food – is there enough food? If not, feed the worms.
- pH – is the pH level adequate for worms? Test pH by smell or with a pH meter or soil test. You can find plenty of more suggestions in our Building Soil with Worms eCourse.
What do I do when my worm farm is too wet?
If the worm farm is too wet, add more carbon to the bedding. This can include shredded cardboard, dried leaves, coconut peat, egg cartons (no colour), straw or hay, inner rolls of toilet paper. Mix lightly. After 24 hours, check the moisture. Do you need more carbon? Drain all the worm juice and store it in the shade to make a foliar spray.
What do I do when my worm farm is too dry?
If the worm farm is too dry, add a little more water to the farm. Wait half an hour and check. Do you need to add more water? Add a bit more. At this moment, less is more!
What do worms like to eat?
Worms will eat everything organic, BUT some things aren’t appropriate for your urban worm farm. It takes a lot of time for the worms and beneficial microbes to break down certain foods. This can result in bad smells and attracting other uninvited guests into your worm farm. Things to avoid in your worm farm include meats, excessive amounts of cooked food and pet poo (needs its own system). Foods that worms love include food scraps (e.g. watermelon skins and eggshells), hair, horse manure, cardboard and inner toilet rolls. You can find plenty of more suggestions in our Building Soil with Worms eBook, BUY HERE.