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How to Keep Farm Hands From Wiggling Out of Work


Worms are great allies in keeping soil alive; they aerate the soil and fertilize it with their excretions, known as castings.

One way to bring their talents to your garden is to start a worm farm--the purpose of which is to produce castings while disposing of your garbage.

A worm farm can be started in just about any container, as long as it's shallow.

A 1-by-2-by-3-foot box produces about 10 gallons of worm castings a month, according to professional worm farmer Steve Zoschke.

To get your worm bin going, first make a bedding, which can consist of a combination of any of the following: shredded newspaper, shredded cardboard, peat moss (although not too much, because this is acidic), compost, horse or rabbit manure. Zoschke says the mixture should be wet down for a week to ensure that any contaminants are washed out and everything is thoroughly moist.

Next, add 1,000 red worms to your bin, which can be ordered through mail-order companies listed in organic gardening magazines, from bait shops or worm farms. Worms ship well and can be refrigerated for several days.

When feeding your worms, keep in mind that they can more quickly break down soft mushy foods. It's best not to add dairy products or greasy foods such as meat scraps. A pound of worms will eat about a pound of garbage a day, Zoschke says.

Keep the bin moist all the time, because worms breathe through their skins, which must be wet. Place the bin in a shady location so it won't dry up or overheat the worms.

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