Starting a worm farm at home:First you will need bedding to start. Choose from coco fibre, peat moss, newspaper, composted horse manure or worm castings. The idea of bedding is that the worms eat all of it and create their ideal environment of living in their own poo. DO NOT add soil, clay, potting mix, sand, wood chips, plastics or garden soil to your worm farm. Worms do have a gizzard though and help them digest their food it is good to add just a handful of sand or you could use coffee grinds instead.
Coco Fibre: Coco fibre is great bedding and a renewable resource simply soak in a tub or bucket and until saturated and away you go.
Peat Moss: Peat moss is also great bedding though it is a non-renewable resource obtained from sphagnum wetlands which after they are mined become somewhat of a monoculture. Sphagnum wetlands are a complex and diverse wetland environment and should really be left alone. In New Zealand alone 90 percent of sphagnum wetlands have been harvested over the last 150yrs.
Composted Horse Manure: Horse manure when composted is great. When it is fresh it creates heat when it breaks down so composted is best. It takes about 6-9months to compost depending on time of year and size of the pile. If you are not sure it has lost its heat then mix with the same amount of shredded newspaper.
Shredded paper or newspaper: Worms are quite happy in shredded newspaper or even better shredded office paper. It is very readily available and is slightly alkaline making it perfect for balancing pH as food is added. Simply take a newspaper remove staples open it to the middle and rip it longways or with the grain in thin strips then shake it and throw it in a bucket or tub. Water it down with a watering can, separate it and turn it with your hands. When you have a depth of up to 30cm you can add food scraps and cover food with more shredded paper.
Worm farming is easy when you know what worms like best. A worm farm is like a compost bin where you can just chuck all your food waste, more food needs to be added only when the worms have finished eating from the last time you fed them. Do not overfeed as too much food will create high acidity and the worms will try to retreat to a safe pH. This is why it is a good idea to feed half your surface area of your worm farm giving the worms the other half as a safe haven to escape to. Most of you will have the smaller worm farms but just know the larger your worm farm surface area is the more food you can add and it also makes it easier to keep a regular ph.
Worms need a neutral pH, (or pH7) if the pH becomes acid or alkaline then they will want to escape. This mainly happens in the small worm farms most people have because the pH swings faster in a smaller volume. This problem is easily solved by not feeding the whole surface of the bin but only half and then rotating food once they have finished.
Food waste is mainly acid so it is best to add the same amount 1 for 1 wet newspaper. They love to eat it and you can achieve a neutral pH sooner. Make sure to water your worm farm especially in hot weather! Use your Worm Tea on your plants either by spraying it on the leaves or feeding the roots. Water it down using rainwater or if your using town water make sure it is left to stand overnight to let the chlorine evaporate, it is also safe to use without diluting it.
Happy Worm Farming!