Would you like to eliminate several steps in composting? Take a look at this easy project for your yarden.
Today I finally installed the worm towers and the total project time was about 2 hours. A Worm Tower is basically a length of pipe buried halfway in the ground with holes drilled in the buried part for worms to get in and out. Food scraps are added directly to the tower instead of your composting bin, and are eaten by worms already living in the target part of your yard. You can add Worm Towers to your full blown vermiculture / vermicomposting regime or just use them by themselves.
I like this for the same reason I like precycling; several steps and lots of time can be eliminated for some of your composting by just delivering food waste directly to the worms, directly to the garden.
What you need:
- Length of PVC, I think mine was about 3 1/2″ wide but in the videos they use bigger
- Something to cap the tube with. I bought some caps but there are other suggestions in the videos like a flipped over plastic pot with some screen to keep out the flies
- A saw that can cut through PVC
- Drill with large drill bit. I used 1 1/8″ but in the videos looks like they use 1/2″
I had a 9′ length of PVC already, but I did go buy 3 caps to seal off the top from flies and critters. Before starting this project I was reading about squirrels (yes squirrels) because several of them like digging in my garden. I was concerned that putting the compost into the garden might be an attraction, and it might, but I did learn that they can only smell about 6-8″ under the surface of the ground. I took this into consideration when measuring out my pipe hole placement and my notes reflect that. Your results may vary.
- Cut the pipe into roughly 3′ sections
- Drill holes in the bottom 12″ of the pipe – drill lots of holes
- Bury the pipe in the garden about 22″, which leaves a 10″ smell barrier for the squirrels and about 14″ exposed
- I primed mine with a shovel full of worms from our big wormaculture bin
- Add compost
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A couple of side notes, I’m only adding compost to the towers that will easily break down, no twigs, eggshells, etc. I’d like the worms to be able to completely digest the muck I put in and I’ll leave the heavier stuff for the compost bin. One of the vids recommends an occasional deep watering which should wash away the goo and deep water your plants. I spent about 30 minutes trying to take apart an old air filter for the filter material for the fly barrier but this was a complete waste of time. The filter material is glued to the cardboard and interwoven with screen – just a mess. That’s why I bought some proper caps. It reminded me though that I should save some of the (very) raggety clothes we’ve throw away to use for filter material.
What are your thoughts and experiences? Comment below and share this project!
This article (Worm Tower) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author, Brad Rowland, and HighlyUncivilized.com, January 22nd, 2011.