Worm Towers – 2013

It seems that 2013 is shaping up to be the season I finally get around to trying all the things I’ve been meaning to try!
(ok, so there are still a million other things I want to try, but we’re making progress anyway…)

Yet another system I’ve wanted to test is of course the “Worm Tower“. It’s a very simple idea, but it has always appealed to me since it can be an effective way to employ the “power” of composting worms directly in your gardens.

I recently created 5 towers from a single 10 ft length of 4″ diam. perforated PVC sewer pipe (plus caps). I would have preferred something a bit wider than 4″, but larger sizes don’t seem to be readily available (and those that are seem to be considerably more expensive). The one nice thing about this size, though, is that I definitely don’t need to worry about taking up too much space – one potential downfall of my “Verm-fertilization & Watering System“.

I really like the size of the holes in this type of pipe, but I was a little bummed to see that there were only a couple of rows of them. As such, if you decide to use the same pipe, my recommendation would be to drill some additional holes – at least if you want plant roots to be able to access the tube from all sides.

Apart from drilling some more holes in the pipe (I’ve only installed one tower so far), I also drilled some in the caps. Similar to my Vermi-Fertilization System, I want some rain water to get in so as to help keep things moist. One note of caution – if you happen to use a similar type of cap, you may want to put it on very loosely. As I discovered, these caps can be very difficult to get off if you give them too much of a thump putting them on. Perhaps something like Vaseline around the inside rim would help to remedy this?

I decided to place my first tower in between a couple of my tomato plants to see if it would have a positive impact on their growth.

I started by digging my hole. I didn’t go too crazy with, but it was deep enough so that more than half of the pipe ended up submerged (as you can see in the first image above).

As I did with the vermi-fertilization bin, I filled the space around the pipe with aged horse manure. This was actually material from worm beds (most of the adult worms harvested), so there are plenty of juveniles and cocoons already in there. I also filled the pipe partially with the mix.

Lastly, I added a layer of soil over top of the outer manure layer and put the cap on.

I didn’t actually add any food waste when setting the tower up, but will likely do so today.

One down, 4 more to go!
I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted on my progress.

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    • John Duffy
    • June 18, 2013

    How long did you make the towers?

  1. What is the length of the pipe? Some reason I feel garbage can is too big and 4″ pvc pipe is small.. lolz such an imperfect world. Let’s find something in between. But PVC might work too. Thanks for great idea…


    • ChrisP
    • June 19, 2013

    Do you put caps on both ends?

    • Bentley
    • June 20, 2013

    Sorry for delay approving comments (not even sure why I need to keep approving yours, John!) .

    John/Fred – The pipes are just shy of 2 feet in length (compensates for flared end which I didn’t use). In hindsight, I could have created with 6 towers (from a 10 ft pipe) and ended up with a better length. These ones seem a wee bit long for my liking. I agree 4″ does seem a bit narrow, but it encourages me to help the worms along by really chopping up the materials going in – otherwise, it will fill up in no time!

    Chris – yes caps on both ends. Others seem to leave their towers open at the bottom, but I’d prefer to be able to remove the unit with everything inside when it comes time to do so.

    • Tom Bergstrand
    • June 21, 2013

    A girl “down under” did something like that sometime back. She made a short video. Enjoy.

    • Steve
    • August 22, 2013

    Bentley, any follow up to how this worked for you? I’m interested in trying this and was hoping for some feedback. It seems like most posts I read are very soon after they initially “plant” their worm towers. But I rarely see any follow-up.

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