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Worm tower

This is a great project for a rainy day, and you can place it outside afterwards.

A worm tower is basically a worm farm placed directly into your garden soil. It leaves you with soil full of vermicast (worm poo) in which you can plant your veggies to help them grow.

When completed: Give your worms a few days to settle in before you lift the roof and remove the newspaper to feed the worms. Add more scraps every couple of days, only if they have eaten most of their food. After a couple of months, move the tower to a new spot, taking the worms and top layer of soil from inside the tower with them to start your new tower. If you make lots of towers, it will improve your soil more quickly.

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Step 1 how to make a worm tower

Step 1
Source some old plastic pipe that is 160mm in diameter and 60cm long. You can also use an old paint bucket or tall plant pot with its bottom cut off.

Using a drill, with a 13mm spade drill bit, add two rows of holes in the top quarter of the pipe. These are going to be above ground to let air into the tower. In the bottom half of the tower, drill five rows of holes. These are for the worms to get in and out and will be in section below ground.

Step 2 how to make a worm tower

Step 2
Give the top half of your pipe a sand with some rough sandpaper. Make sure you give the pipe a wipe down with a damp cloth to remove the dust.

Next, give the sanded half of the pipe a coat of sealer. This will ensure the paint sticks to the plastic. I use Resene Waterborne Smooth Surface Sealer. Leave the sealer to dry for at least two hours before you paint over it with a base coat of coloured paint. Once that has dried, you can decorate it.

Step 3 how to make a worm tower

Step 3
I use a terracotta pot for my roof, but you can use a paver (as featured on page 26). Give it a clean before painting and decorating it. As I don't want any rain to get in the roof, I use a wine cork to plug the hole. With my mushroom house design it could even be a little chimney!

Step 4 how to make a worm tower

Step 4
Dig a hole in your garden bed where you want to improve the soil and pop in the bottom half of your tower. Fill around the outside of the tower with soil, to secure it upright in the ground. Pop some moist straw or shredded paper in the bottom of the tower and cover with a couple of handfuls of compost.

Relocate a handful of tiger worms from your compost bin and put a little bit of soil from the compost bin on top of the worms. A handful of chopped up fruit and vege scraps can go next. Finally, add a couple of scrunched up newspaper sheets to keep out the light. You are now ready for your roof.

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