How to: Set up a worm farm (vermicomposting)

Nevertheless Journal Issue One Seed The Ground Vermicomposting

Women are such multi-talented creatures aren’t they? In our ‘How To’ series we will share nuggets of practical knowledge from women all over Australia. From cooking, and welding to floral arrangement and physical therapy, in each journal you’ll be privy to an exclusive piece of wisdom from an expert in her field.

This edition’s ‘How To’ comes from the environmentally conscious duo at Seed The Ground, a not-for-profit organisation that collects buckets of spent coffee grinds or food scraps from local restaurants and cafes, then diverts them from landfill and into their composting systems.

They then use the finished compost to regenerate soils and to work with shopfronts, cafes and restaurants to plant greenspaces that create amazing atmosphere and help the environment.

Worm farms are an easy way to turn your fruit and veggie scraps into food for your plants. They're perfect for small spaces too. Here’s your guide:

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  • Worm farm or bucket with holes - You can buy a tiered worm farm online or at a hardware store or make your own. Worms also like some bedding like coir, shredded paper or mulch and a Hessian sack for a blanket.
  • Red wriggler worms - You'll need to get yourself some red wriggler worms. These guys are perfect for composting as they can eat up to their body weight in food scraps per day, plus they're happy to stay put (unlike earth worms who like to roam)
  • Food waste - Worm farms process most of your fruit and veggie scraps, but there are a few things you should leave out. Worms don't love citrus and onion, so try to only give them small amounts of this. You also shouldn't put meat, bread or dairy in with your worms.


  • Worms like a comfy bed so firstly you will need to place some coconut coir, soaked cardboard, sugar cane mulch, dried leaves or a combination of all of these in the bottom of the tray. 
  • Grab 500-1000 red wriggler worms and place them in your tray. Give them a day or two to settle in. 
  • Place a hessian sack or some corrugated cardboard on top as a worm blanket. (Worms like living in a dark and cosy home) 
  • Place your worm farm in a protected, shaded area in your garden, on your balcony or even inside

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  • Lift your worm blanket and add your food scraps every 2-4 days, depending on how quickly your worms are chomping through your food. 
  • Make sure to add some 'browns' to balance out your 'green' food scraps. 
  • Drain the worm liquid regularly - see our plant feeding section for how to use this 
  • Every 2-4 weeks give your worm farm a gentle stir to make sure it has plenty of oxygen


  • Once the first tier of your worm farm is full, setup a new tray with bedding and a worm blanket and place this on top of the full tier. 
  • Start feeding the top tier and your worms will migrate upwards 
  • The worms will also finish processing any food in the bottom tier, then you will be left with worm castings (worm poo), that you can use to feed your plants.

Is there something you'd like to learn how to do? Feel free to email us and we'll see if we can find a fabulous expert for you.

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Nat Lidgerwood and Jess Maxted of Seed the Ground. Image by Jude Kalman.