The Benefits of Composting
There are a number of ways to get involved with composting, from using a standard wooden composter, Wormery, hot composter, and more!
How To Compost
- First of all, you need a container to hold your compost (view our range here).
- Secondly, you need a location. Different types of containers will work better in different environments, but generally you want a consistent temperature as much as possible.
- Some composters are suitable for outdoors, such as larger wormeries and garden composters
- If space is an issue you can also use a container design to be used indoors, such as a Bokashi Bin or similar items.
What To Put In It?
- Generally a mix of brown and green materials is advised
- Green materials includes kitchen waste, grass, and weeds
- Brown materials includes wood, cardboard, and dead leaves
- Lime can change the acidity of the composter if there is an imbalance
- A wormery will need Tiger Worms in order to function
- Depending on your type of composter, you may need to turn the materials inside of it to add air in to the mix
- Some composters are designed with this in mind, and have functions to allow the turning more easily, such as the Maze 245 Litre Compost Tumbler
- Wormeries have different needs to traditional composters, you can find out more about Wormeries here
Using Your Compost
- Once your compost is ready you can use it in a variety of ways
- If you're growing vegetables and herbs, the compost can be placed around the base of these plants to ensure better and healthier growth
- Adding compost to grass will maintain and improve a healthy lawn
- Mix with soil for use with potted plants, adding additional nutrients to the plant
- Flower beds can be improved with the addition of compost, giving the plants an extra boost
If you're looking for even more of a challenge, why not try building your own Wormery? We've got an entire guide to help you along the way, plus you can purchase extra worms, guides, and materials for your Wormery from our website.
What problems do wormeries face in autumn?
Wetter and cooler weather could cause big problems for your wormery if you don’t take any measures to protect it from the elements. The biggest problems that wormeries face during the autumn months is the risk of your worms getting drowned or it is becoming too cold for them to effectively work. Autumn is the season in which temperatures drop and the rain doesn’t stop, this could lead to rain entering your wormery, especially if it is left outside without any shelter. So, it is vital that you keep an eye out to check how soggy your compost and waste is getting.
Another big problem wormery owners face is when the temperature drops as the worms struggle to cope with the cold. Worms work best in a constant temperature which isn’t too hot or too cold, ideally between 15 - 25oC. Therefore, during the autumn times, keeping your wormery outside is not advised.
10 facts you always wanted to know!
1. If you cut a worm in half it will probably die, one 'half' may survive and regrow but you will not get two worms.
2. The only possibly reasonable negative or bad thing about a worm is that some humans don't like them- which is hardly the worms fault. Worms only eat dead organic matter. Nothing more and nothing less. This immediately puts them towards the very top of the list of beneficial and harmless life forms on the planet. We humans alas are towards the bottom.
Helpful advice for those of you feeling adventurous!
If you are reasonably competent at basic DIY projects and work then making a Wormery is not a daunting task. That said and as with so many DIY matters a little pre thought and planning goes a long way.
Perhaps the simplest approach is to start with a suitable plastic container such as an old waterbutt, dustbin or the like. However you can, of course, start from scratch and build your wormery from wood or other material depending upon availability and your expertise. Car tyres seem to be a popular choice but watch out for escapees!
The first issues to consider are about design and the following questions should be addressed :-
- Do you mind some worms escaping as long as the wormery works (Probably not sensible if located inside!)
- Would you be put off with flies in your wormery?
- How much of what type of waste do you want the wormery to cope with?
What follows assumes that you are starting with a suitable plastic bin or container ready for conversion. Even so the principles involved are applicable to a build from scratch approach.
If either (or both) of 1 and 2 above are important to you then you will need to consider how to make your wormery sealed yet sufficiently aerated to allow the worms to thrive. Depending upon your type of lid, then some judiciously applied draught excluder and some clips or weights to hold the lid closed should work well. For aeration the smallest holes you are likely to be able to drill will almost certainly permit the ingress of flies to your wormery and the egress of worms from it. The best answer is to drill several holes small holes and then edge stick a piece of gauze on the inside.
You now need to drill your tap hole and fix your tap. As with most design problems a compromise is required here. To maximise the liquid that can flow out of the tap without tilting the Wormery you want the tap as low as possible. On the other hand to harvest the liquid you want the tap accessible to a watering can or similar so want it located higher.
Our recommendation is to drill the tap hole so the centre is at least 1" (25mm) above the base of the bin and then to use bricks or blocks to raise the unit for easy access. A 25mm (1") diameter hole will be right for a standard plastic water butt tap.
Next is the vital matter of creating a separate platform that will keep worms and solids above whilst allowing the easy flow of liquid into the sump created beneath the separating tray. Getting this right is central to the functioning of your DIY Wormery.
Ideas for this include fine mesh supported on bricks; a cut to size piece of wood or plastic with holes drilled in again supported on bricks or the like. Another option is the suspension of a porous sack from the rim of the wormery so it hangs to about an inch above tap level. The choice is yours, but the simple objective is to facilitate good drainage and thus avoid water logging.
If you are looking to purchase a wormery instead of building one, you can do that by exploring our wormeries category
. All of our wormeries include worms
and the required components so you're ready to go!
Just which worms are the best?
There are several thousand of species of worms throughout the world. Here in the UK the number of native species reduces to a more modest 28.
Now, like plants and most life forms, worms have common names as well as scientific or Latin names. The trouble with common names is that there can be several for the same plant or animal or worm and they can vary over geography, over time and between people. One man's couch grass is another's twitch and one man's mayorstail another's horsetail, or from TV's motor biking chefs - the Hairy Bikers - their swedes are my turnips (and vice versa)!
This is why we do also need occasionally to revert to the proper or Latin names to be clear and beyond doubt!
Back to worms!
Well of the 28 species native to the UK the most commonly known is not surprisingly, the common earth worm (Lumbricus terrestris). This worm lives in the upper layers of mineral soil, is an excellent aerator and soil improver all over the garden except alas the lawn where it leaves behind it's tell tale piles of casts ready to be flattened into a bald spot by your lawn mower. But they are not composting worms and not much good in a Wormery.
So which worms are best for a Wormery?
The short answer:-
There are three native species of worm which are all good at the rapid processing of dead organic waste into nutrient rich compost these are:-
- The Tiger worm, aka the Brandling worm. Proper name Eisenia fetida
- The Bluenose worm, aka Dendobaena and the European night crawler and by some as Eisenia hortensis. Proper name Dendrobaena veneta
- The Redworm, aka the red wiggler and the Brandling worm. Proper name Eisenia andrei
All are good and will work well in your wormery. But, if forced under the bright TV lights to open that Golden envelope and announce the overall winner of best Wormery worm, then without doubt for adaptability, conditions tolerance, versatility and composting rate the answer is..... The Tiger Worm.
Eisenia fetida - would you please come to the rostrum to accept your award!
For those who want a little more information, the slightly longer answer is :-
Our choice of worms, from species to size and from numbers to weight supplied comes from years of research, including financing a PhD research studentship. We decided upon Eisenia fetida (Foetida) or Tiger Worms after extensive research, both empirical, commissioned and literature based. In particular we took advice from Dr. Jim Fredrickson of the Open University (an internationally acknowledged worm expert).
Additional Worm and Wormery facts
- Tiger worms are a little more expensive and significantly but not overwhelmingly better than Dendrobaena in Wormeries.
- Young worms are preferable (hungrier!) to older worms.
- When it comes to composting - the condition, age, size and species of worm is more important than their weight.
- Tiger worms reach sexual maturity (they are hermaphrodite) in approx 6 weeks.
- We provide approx 100 small, young, mostly sexually mature (well spoken, polite and happy!) tiger worms with each Tiger Wormery.
- Dendrobaena are more widely available than Tigers as there is an established 'cottage' industry breeding them for anglers who hook them up as bait. They are also easier to harvest and are ususally cheaper.
- Wormeries are slow to start up largely because the worms can't eat the nice fresh stuff most of us put in the bin. It needs a few weeks of initial microbial decomposition to have occurred before they can ingest the waste - not even Tiger worms have teeth! So they may take a week or so to settle into their feeding and breeding cycle.
Top tips for great Wormery success
- Feed a little and often. If in doubt under feed rather than over feed.
- Drain off the liquid periodically to avoid water-logging and if it appears wet mix in dry shredded newspaper and/or cardboard.
- A balanced diet is best.
- Easy on the highly acidic foods:- onions, garlic, citrus fruits and very spicy foods.
- Read and occasionally re read the product instructions. We all like to get things sorted quickly and sometimes think we know a tad more than maybe we do, but our product instructions are in all modesty, well written, informative and cover 99% of all key queries you are likely to have on your Wormery.
- Lift the lid and take a nosey from time to time. Have a little dig or poke about to check all is well. Any problems refer to 5) above!
- If you don't like flies avoid storing the kitchen waste too long before adding to the Wormery and don't leave the Wormery lid open more than is essential.
- Look after your worms and they will look after you - well they'll make excellent compost and liquid feed for you at least!
- Bury meat waste to minimise the risk of flies invading.
- Remember to dilute the liquid feed with 10 parts water prior to use. It's excellent stuff, but it is concentrated!
Since we started the domestic Wormery business back in the 1980’s, we have been flattered (and challenged) that numerous others have copied our ideas and/or come up with similar concepts across the UK, Europe and indeed the world. To be frank, several of our competitors now offer good quality products that, as the Ronseal advert has it, do what is says on the tin and we view this growth in the Wormery world and multiplicity of availability of a variety of Wormeries with some pleasure and dare we admit, some pride.
Mind you for basic commercial reasons we are however still more than happy to bang our own drum and extol the manifest, absolute and relative benefits of our particular products against all-comers – well so far and as long as we come out top at least.
When I set up the business it was as much about a change of lifestyle for me and my family as it was about trying to do something constructive and positive, as it was about making my millions. Still - I guess one out of three is not too bad in the overall scheme of things! I work as long now as ever I did working for others and I still haven’t achieved the millions from my Wormeries – well not yet at least. But, I am my own man in the fascinating and wonderful world of domestic recycling in general and Wormeries in particular.
After a 20 year successful career in HR and general management what more natural than to switch careers and spend the next 20 years researching, developing, sourcing, manufacturing and selling Wormeries to the great British public? Well actually we export our world beating Wormeries to the USA, France, Australia, Belgium, Germany, Canada, South Africa, the Netherlands, Greece and in simple truth most of Europe. Moreover, we even first coined and indeed trade marked the word Wormery as it pertains to composting and were granted the first ever Wormery design patent in the world, so at least our pedigree is good.
With some good competitor products now about what makes us still stand out from the crowd and more specifically why should you buy Wormeries from us rather than anyone else? So what that we were the first are we still the best is the question?
Well thankfully I believe I can, hand on heart and with utter sincerity and integrity say yes we are still the best for many reasons: Our Wormeries are well made, have achieved best buy status from Gardening Which? Magazine (the Consumers Association); are proven, independently acclaimed and efficacious; they have clear, helpful, informative yet simple and well written instructions. Indeed we continue to effectively write and update the text book from which others simply crib.
We offer a range of Wormeries which differ in size and design. Our Classic Wormeries comprise our dual chamber design with patented separating and drainage platform, fine mesh brass aeration vents and lockable lids with industry unique rubberised foam compression seals. The range comprises a 21, 35 and 94 Litre model so can cater for organic kitchen waste generated by a single person households up to the full family. Practical, simple and economic they offer tremendous and unrivalled value, simplicity of use and excellent results.
Our Tiger Wormeries are an excellent combination of the aesthetically pleasing and the practical and incorporate some exciting design improvements on other models. The main benefit of Multi tray systems is the easier harvesting of the compost once the worms have done their work. With our design each tray sits on the surface of the compost or waste in the lower layer rather than clip or slot fit at a pre-determined position. This eliminates the problem of gaps from shrinkage and makes for the far easier upward migration of the worms to the new food. With aeration holes in the vertical plane of the lid (rather than some competitor Wormeries which have holes in the near horizontal plane of the lid), ventilation is achieved whilst avoiding the risk of waterlogging in heavy rain. Tiger Wormeries are available in two, three, four and five tray models which range in capacity from C. 40 Litres to C. 88+ Litres and colour wise they are offered in black, terracotta or British Racing green.
Perhaps the true and greatest benefit of buying from us though, is the sure and certain knowledge and the accompanying peace of mind, that comes from dealing with true experts (I do hope this doesn’t sound too immodest). As the leading Wormery designers and developers in the country (world?) we have developed a unique knowledge base and expertise in our chosen field. This in turn leads to a well -trained and highly knowledgeable customer service team I(with expert back up) dedicated, ready and able to professionally answer any product or process related questions that our customers may have as well as efficiently and speedily process your order.
Moving on to the worms we use, Tiger worms cost more are significantly less widely available than the dendrobaena variety which virtually all of our competitors opt for; but they are quite simply the best for the job, no if’s or buts or maybe’s. Some years ago we sponsored a post graduate student to do their doctoral thesis on worms and worm composting working under Dr Jim Fredrickson a widely acknowledged world class leading expert in the field and this strongly endorsed the efficacy of our chosen worm as not just ‘ fit for purpose’ but also as ‘ best for job’. When it comes to domestic Wormeries they are the bees knees, so we say why compromise on the best? A word of caution here though on how to buy worms. Worms can be purchased by species and/or weight and/or size and/ or age. What you really want are a good number of young tiger worms. Dendrobaena are cheaper but so what, margarine is cheaper than butter and keg beer cheaper than real ale. Young because (alas) it is the teenager equivalent age of most species which are the most virile and can breed most prolifically! It’s not the weight that counts. A kilogram of large older dendrobaena just won’t be as good as 250 grams of cool, active, young and wriggly tigers when it comes to sorting out your organic kitchen waste in your Wormery.
So why buy from us then? Well if I haven’t convinced you so far, I am not sure I will so I simply suggest you visit our competitor’s websites or get their catalogues or brochures, thoroughly research and read about their products, features and benefits, compare with our products, prices and service and then make your decision. In all honesty there are some good Wormeries out there.
But I still expect to see you back soon!
As if you need convincing!
- It turns your ordinary kitchen waste into rich organic compost and just keeps on doing it day after week after month after year.
- About a third of your household waste is likely to be kitchen generated organic matter. Recycling it at the home saves or reduces increases in your council tax by saving some the of the huge costs of domestic waste collection transport and disposal.
- Simply by recycling organic kitchen waste in a Wormery, you are stopping it going to landfill sites where it could contribute to environmental damage by producing methane (which is a greenhouse gas and contributes to global warming) and nitrogen rich and contaminated leachate (which pollutes rivers and streams).
- About two thirds of the typical food waste fed to a wormery (particularly if this is plenty of raw fruit and vegetable waste) comes out of the tap as a 'ready- made' and 'free' nutrient rich organic liquid feed.
- Can be used indoors or outside and even if you have a tiny garden you are doing your bit to recycle waste and can feed your window box and pot plants!
- Saves you £££s on proprietary purchased composts and the struggle home from the Garden Centre with sacks and bales.
- It's clean, simple and in normal operation odour free.
- Our range of size and type of wormeries caters for your needs and can be flexible and added to as required. Your wormery can grow with your needs.
- You win Competitions! Sounds odd but we have over 25 unsolicited testimonials from delighted customers attributing their flower or vegetable show success to the compost and liquid from their Wormery!
- We will do our bit for the planet and the future by planting at least one tree for every Wormery we sell.