Wormery Help & FAQs

Okay, so what exactly is a Wormery? And what does it do?

A Wormery is a simple, clean and efficient way of turning ordinary organic kitchen waste into nutrient rich liquid plant feed and excellent organic compost.

Essentially through the action of a colony of composting worms the waste is neutralised and ‘speedily’ processed into compost. As raw vegetable and fruit waste in particular has a high water content so this concentrated nutrient rich liquid is released and drains into the Wormery sump or drainage tray as part of the process. So why waste your waste when it’s so easy to turn it into environmentally beneficial, cost saving and high quality feed for the garden with a Wormery?

What can I put into it? Is there anything I should avoid?

Our high quality, proven and much acclaimed Wormeries are designed to deal with the vast majority of kitchen generated organic waste. From fruit peelings to coffee grounds; from cooked scraps left on the plate to potato peelings; and from bits of cardboard and paper kitchen towels to vegetable and salad wastes they deal with the lot! Well nearly – to keep your Wormery in tip top condition you need to look after the worms and there are a couple of types of food they are less than keen on – particular acidic foods like citrus fruits, onions and garlic. This sort of food waste won’t kill them but if the Wormery gets too acidic they go on a go slow! However, if you go easy on these wastes and only add them in moderation all should be fine. Even so and just in case we include a special lime mix which helps overcome acidity should you need it.

Is it going to smell?

Probably not, well if you follow a few very simple rules definitely not. Not smell unpleasantly that is. A well functioning Wormery has an earthy, chrysanthemum or tomato plant like smell which is actually rather pleasant – well to our noses at least. That said the liquid feed may smell, but you will only notice this at tap-off time and as it rapidly dissipates on dilution and application it’s not a significant problem.

How much of my waste will a Wormery be able to cope with?

As the inventors of the first commercially available Wormery in the world we offer, as you might expect, an excellent range of excellent Wormeries to cater for most domestic households. For single person households our Junior, Midi and two-tray Tiger Wormeries are great. For larger households we have our classic and famous Original Wormery and three and four-tray versions of our top quality Tiger Wormeries. Still if you have a household of 5+ eating a healthy quantity of fresh fruit and vegetables we still have the perfect answer… buy two !

I'm not sure which type of Wormery to buy, which is the best?

This is simply down to size, aesthetics and your purse or wallet. Our now famous classic range of Wormeries comprising the Original, the Midi and the Junior offer truly tremendous and independently acclaimed (including a Best Buy from Gardening Which? magazine) value. However our unique multi tray Wormeries offer high quality, flexibility and ease of compost-harvesting and defer to no similar system available in the UK!

What do I get out of it and what do I do with it?

Apart from the richest natural organic compost known to man, excellent highly concentrated and balanced liquid feed, saving money, prolific plant growth and knowing you are positively benefiting the environment – not too much else! As to what to do with it, well simply use it on your garden or if you don’t need it yourself give to a gardening friend who wants to get a decent share of first prizes at the local produce show.

What are the different types of Wormery available and which is better?

There are two main designs of domestic Wormery available and choosing between them is essentially a matter of preference. All of our Wormeries work just as well as each other from a technical perspective. They all do the same job, but you may find one is more suitable for your needs.

The two types are our Classic range of dual chamber Wormeries (The Original, Junior & the Midi Wormery) and our multi-tray system (The Tiger Wormery).The essential differences, aesthetic considerations apart, are the method of compost harvesting.

With classic dual chamber Wormeries like the Original Wormery, you trowel off the top few inches and put this to the side. Empty the worm compost out from the wormery and then pop the top few inches which you have put to the side back in the bin at the bottom.

Our multi-tray system removes this element of initial separation by using multiple trays to house the compost and waste. Each tray has a perforated base which allows the worms in the Wormery to move freely between them. You start off feeding your food waste into the bottom tray and as each tray fills, the worms move to the waste in the next tray upwards, leaving compost behind. So, by the time the worms have moved up to the top tray, the bottom tray should be ready to harvest and can simply be removed and emptied (before being placed back on top). Another benefit for some is the ability to grow your wormery by adding an extra tray or two as required.

Is it best to mix and 'turn' wormeries like you do with compost heaps?

This is not necessary or as routine an operation as it is for a garden composter. However you do need to dig into it occasionally to check all is well. Also if it gets very wet and waterlogged you will need to thoroughly mix in dry cardboard and shredded newspaper.

Why should I buy my Wormery from Wormery.co.uk?

Wormery.co.uk is brought to you by Original Organics. We invented the first commercially available domestic Wormery over 20 years ago and we even devised (and trade-marked) the word ‘Wormery’ as it relates to composting. We continue to build on this pedigree and heritage and so are proud to continue to offer the best range of great value, high-quality Wormeries on the market today.

Our products have received independent acclaim over the last 20 years and we hold thick files of unsolicited customer testimonials which we are delighted to have received. Our customer service team are very highly experienced in resolving any issues or answering any questions you might have before or after you buy from us.

Where is the best place to keep my Wormery?

The best place to keep your Wormery is anywhere with a relatively stable temperature that is out of direct sunlight and preferably frost free, whether indoors or outside. Most people keep their Wormery outside near to the back door. Alternatively a garage or shed is another popular location for a Wormery – you can also keep it indoors e.g. in a utility room.

What is the lime mix and what does it do?

We use environmentally responsibly sourced lime mix. Essentially it is a gentle form of calcium which reduces the acidity. Most food waste is mildly acidic and worms thrive best at a broadly neutral p H (7). A small handful sprinkled over the surface every 4 to 5 weeks will keep the conditions sweet. Crushed up eggshells (which are essentially calcium oxide) will have the same effect.

Can I put worms from the compost bin into my Wormery?

If they are the small red wriggly worms rather than the larger and slower mineral soil dwelling common earthworm (lumbricus terrestris) the simple answer is yes. That said there should be no need to as we provide plenty to start with and they breed well in a Wormery.

How long do the worms live?

Tiger Worms in the Wormery typically live for between 9 months up to 2 years.

Will I need to keep buying more worms for my Wormery?

No. The great thing about worms is that they breed rapidly. In a working Wormery the worms will renew themselves so you shouldn’t normally need to reintroduce. However, should you have a disaster and need more worms we can of course supply them at a reasonable cost.

Will the worms escape?

It depends on the type of Wormery you have. From a home-made or poorly made Wormery escapees are likely. Our Classic Wormeries have been designed to keep worms in as they have compression lid seals and clips. In multi tray Wormeries without a weight or clip on the lid, it is possible for the odd worm to escape, and go to earth. The loss of the occasional worm won’t hurt the process and in any event is only likely during the first few weeks after initial setup. A couple of bulldog clips or plastic paper spine binders will make excellent clips if required.

How long will it be before I get some worm compost?

A handful of waste takes just a few weeks to compost. However, you need to build up a good amount of compost to make harvesting it easy and worthwhile. This varies by the type of Wormery you have and the waste being added. Typically though, it takes around nine months to fill the Original Wormery with compost (with The Tiger Wormery you obviously harvest each tray more frequently).Typically about two thirds of the food waste will come out of the tap as liquid feed, with the remaining third being solid compost.

How long does it take for the liquid feed to start coming through?

This is typically within around 10 – 12 weeks. Though it could be quicker, or longer, depending on the amount and type of food you’re putting in and the time of year (or rather prevailing weather and temperature). Once the liquid starts to come through you should tap it off every 2-3 weeks.

Do I need to dilute the liquid feed?

Yes, the feed should be diluted to with 10 parts water prior to being used. If you store it use plastic bottles and keep them out of direct light for best results.

What can I use the liquid feed on?

The liquid feed is multi-purpose and can be used on indoor / outdoor plants, flowerbeds, vegetable patches or if you have enough you can use it as a lawn feed.

What happens if I go away on holiday?

No problem at all. A well established Wormery should be fine left for up to six weeks. Simply add some food waste before you go and leave the tap open with a container underneath (just to stop the build up of liquid feed) and enjoy your holiday! The worms will look after themselves.

Can I put nappies into my Wormery?

This is a common question as compostable nappies have rightly become popular over recent years. Technically, the worms can turn nappies into compost, but the problem comes with size and quantity. If you were to compost all your nappies, the Wormery would very quickly become full and the worms would unfortunately not be able to cope. So we do not generally recommend compostable nappies in our Wormeries. One or more of our excellent Garden Composters might be better for this job.

Can Wormeries compost pet Waste?

The simple technical answer is yes – but be careful. Waste and bedding from most herbivores e.g. rabbits, hamsters, gerbils etc. is fine. However we do not advise adding waste from meat eaters such as cats and dogs which is more unpleasant and carries a risk of the toxocara virus.

Some types of pet poo can indeed be composted in a Wormery, but we would advise you to not put both pet poo and normal food waste into a Wormery at the same time. We offer a purpose-made ‘Pet Poo Convertor’ Wormery which is designed to deal with dog faeces and similar waste.