Worm Tower Garden Adventures

Worms are a fisherman’s best friend.

Worms are a good outdoor distraction for little boys.

Better yet, worms make the best garden compost!

You may view worms as unpleasant slimy creatures, but I think they are God’s gift to the garden. They create soft lush soil that makes my vegetables grow healthy and taste delicious.

So, when I recently read a blog post about how to increase the worm population in your garden using worm towers, I immediately researched various websites about how to build your own. Turns out it’s not that hard, and they really do work!

With a little bit of money (about $20 of materials and $14 of fresh worms) and a little bit of time (about 3 hours), we had installed three new worm towers. It was a small, but satisfying garden adventure!

Worm Tower Garden Adventures

Our Worm Tower Adventures

We’ve been gardening for over three years on our little ¼ of an acre plot. It’s not big, but it’s powerful, as it produces over half of the vegetables we eat over the summer, fall and even part of the winter months. (Read my post, Better than Organic – Growing Your Own Vegetable Garden.) We are always looking for ways to increase our yield. Last fall, we spread three large loads of wood chips on top of our dirt to emulate the Back to Eden garden landscape. Utilizing worm towers seemed like the best next step to enrich our soil and produce a more plentiful vegetable garden.

Vermicomposting is the use of earthworms to convert organic waste into fertilizer to create abundant garden soil. In simple terms, the red worms eat your kitchen scraps and leave castings (worm poop) in the soil. This wonderful source of living bacteria feeds plants of all kinds and is especially beneficial for vegetable gardens.

In my opinion, worm towers are the easiest way to vermicompost. Worms “worm” their way in and out of the worm tower through small holes, eat up your compost, and slide their way back into the garden soil, leaving their castings everywhere they travel.

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to build a worm tower.

How to Build Your Own Worm Tower

1. Buy 4-6 inch wide PVC pipe and cut them down to 3-foot long sections. We found PVC pipe at Home Depot, but any hardware or plumbing store will have it on hand.

worm tower pvc pipe

2. Drill small holes about 1-3 inches apart all around the pipe. They don’t have to be exact. As long as worms can squirm through the holes, you’re good to go.

worm tower drilling holes in pvc

3. Dig a 3-foot deep hole using a post-hole digger or similar electrical tool and place your “hole-y” pipe in the soil. Leave about 3-4 inches of pipe above the dirt surface. (I appreciate my wonderful husband for sweating it out and digging three holes, even one after the sun went down!)

worm tower digging holes 2

4. Fill the bottom of the hole with some soil to set the pipe solidly into the ground.

worm tower in ground

5. Purchase a box of earthworms (not fishing worms) from your local garden center or farm store. Call ahead for availability. Place them in your worm tower(s).

worm tower worms in box

6. Start dropping your kitchen scraps in the worm tower daily or weekly as you collect them. (Do not use meat or oils, only vegetable and fruit scraps and egg shells.)

7. Keep a “lid” over the worm tower to prevent pests like squirrels or raccoons from trying to eat the compost scraps. We used a small clay pot, but you could use a mesh or wire seal.

worm tower in ground with lid

We’ve only had our worm towers installed for about six weeks, but we’ve already seen the compost slowly ebbing away. That means the worms are eating it! That means more worm poop for my garden soil! I know it sounds gross, but it’s very good for my garden plants. The best part is that I have a place to put my stinky compost without having to care for a separate compost pile or bin.

Are you going to build your own worm tower?

Here are two other helpful blogs to get you started in your worm tower adventures.

We found building the worm towers to be easier than we initially thought. It’s a fairly inexpensive investment for a huge return.

I’ll let you know how the worm towers impact our summer garden plants in a few months!

 

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10 Responses to Worm Tower Garden Adventures

  1. kelsey says:

    cool! i used to love to see worms when i was gardening as a kid!
    http://www.ladiesinnavy.com
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  2. Pech says:

    I had no idea you could just buy a box of worms like that… :O
    Pech recently posted…Ox Blood Cocktail Recipe with Dickel WhiskyMy Profile

  3. Catherine says:

    Cool! I’ve never heard of worm towers before. This would be a good option for us because I haven’t been able to invest in a composter yet. Do you know if you have to add brown materials (e.g. fallen leaves) like you do with a regular compost heap?
    Catherine recently posted…10 Ways I’m an Awesome MomMy Profile

    • Tracy says:

      Good question Catherine. I don’t think so. The kitchen scraps are enough to keep the worms interested. However, it is important to keep the scraps finely chopped or shredded, so the worms can break it down faster. That said, I don’t think it would hurt to put some brown material in the tower too. We put leaves and grass clippings over the top of the garden because it makes good mulch.

  4. I have never heard of this! I love that you grow most of your vegetables yourself!
    Monica Louie recently posted…Our Monthly Debt Freedom Progress Report — April 2015My Profile

  5. Ali says:

    intriguing! I’ve never heard of this either.
    Ali recently posted…No One Was Around When It HappenedMy Profile

  6. That is a mighty impressing worm tower! I look forward to hearing how it works for you this summer.
    Marlynn @UrbanBlissLife recently posted…Celebrating MotherhoodMy Profile

  7. This is really interesting. I just do Direct Compost and the worms show up. I can see where this would keep those small animals from digging things up.
    -Carole
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