Worm Tower

Hi everyone!
Sorry for the lull in posts as of late – I’ve been pretty busy with a variety of things, and just haven’t been hit with the inspiration to write about my own worming activities (nothing too exciting to report on).

Anyway, I happened upon an interesting YouTube video today and thought it was definitely worthy of posting here – especially given the need for something new! It is really interesting how people focused on the same field of endeavour, but working completely independent of one another, can come up with similar ideas! The ‘Worm Tower’ is actually very similar to a concept I’ve had in my head for a backyard vermicomposting system (in particular, I thought it would be great as a pet waste vermicomposter). The main difference is the fact that I envisioned the use of a plastic garbage can buried in the ground, rather than the plastic tube (which is actually a really nice way to simplify (and make less expensive) the concept.

As the person in the video alludes to, this type of system is a great in situ composting system. That is to say that you don’t even need to harvest castings from it. Simply locate it in the vicinity of some plants (you could have several of these in your vegetable garden, for example) so they can directly benefit from it. I’m not sure I agree 100% about the composting worms going out into the soil to deposit castings though – I suspect that most of them would remain within the tube. That being said, just via the activity of all manner of different creatures (including actual soil worms) and plant roots etc, the benefits of the castings would certainly spread out into your soil in general.

Pretty cool! Now I really can’t wait to construct my garbage can system.
Too bad we are still in the dead of winter here (oh and the groundhog also ended up scared by his shadow – haha)!

Oh well – I guess I’ll have to settle for playing with my big winter worm bed (should have an update on that this week for sure) for the time being.

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  1. This is a great idea. I imagine having a bunch of them in my garden and pulling them up to till at the end of the season.

    • Bentley
    • February 4, 2009

    Hi Red,
    Agreed! As long as you had enough food waste / manure etc, it would be great. Unlike my vermicomposting trenches, this type of system is also well protected from rain etc (ie it would never get too sloppy – you could control water going in)


  2. Hi,
    Another good article. I have a question. Can you do this with Euro Nightcrawlers or the Earthworm? Compostig might not be as fast.

    • Bentley
    • February 4, 2009

    Euros would actually be a great choice since they seem to enjoy wet conditions deeper down in a worm composting system. Regular earthworms would certainly invade the lower regions of the worm tower and would end up enriching the soil in the area. This would actually be a great way to increase the abundance of soil worms in a garden!

    • Eve
    • February 12, 2009

    I have done this with dog wast. I had a few pipes hidden in the shrubbery around the yard. So it would be an easy walk to a tube when picking up puppy presents.

    It worked like a charm. The only drawback was i had to keep trimming the bushes more than i would have liked. I did luck out and place one tube next to a berry bush that was supposed to only get 10 feet high it ended up over twice as high. It produced more berry’s than i could ever want.

    • Bentley
    • February 24, 2009

    Hi Eve – that is a perfect way to put this type of system to use. The similar system I envisioned was originally planned as a pet waste composter, but of course would work for any type of compostable wastes.

    • jc
    • March 15, 2010

    Can you just use worms you get from the fishing store? or are these different worms?

    • Bentley
    • March 15, 2010

    I would recommend making sure they are either Red Worms (aka Red Wigglers) or European Nightcrawlers – both of which CAN sometimes be available at bait shops. The big “Dew Worms” (Canadian Nightcrawlers) are not ideal for composting.

  3. Thanks, this video is one of the most helpful on Youtube and gave us the final nudge to give it a go. We’ve used a birdbath as the lid. http://bit.ly/fQG6UB

    • claude
    • October 26, 2012

    I made 5 towers in my garden 3 weeks ago.i must have used about 3000 worms,I emptied 3 of them to check and found no worms ???

    does the system realliy work.

    I live in south africa,it is hot ,it’ summer

    • Ryan
    • December 22, 2012

    Claude, I wonder if you can try using some bedding. Straw, hay or shredded newspaper. Also were they kept moist? (not too wet, not too dry)

    I adapted a design that uses a 5-gallon bucket for my small raised bed garden. It uses a couple 2-gallon containers buried to their necks. Both designs are mentioned here: http://slowdownfarm.com/post/38004404242/worm-tower

    • claude
    • January 3, 2013

    thank Ryan,I think that my worms have come back,they are eating a lots of food

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