How to Build a Worm Tower

A worm tower is a cylinder placed underground, so you can place food scraps and garden waste directly into the ground. This solves 2 problems: 1. it helps you reduce your food waste without a compost bin and 2. it will encourage biological activity in your soil to enliven and fertilize your garden bed. For this project I wanted plant a herb garden and have a worm tower near the center. 

How to Build a Worm Tower Step 1

First I cleared the mulch and and weeds from the bed. I had block of concrete in the bed which I marked out, so I could identify the area later on.

How to Build a Worm Tower Step 2 I added soil to cover the concrete block and added some soil amendments. The soil was sandy with no worm activity and seemed fairly lifeless so I added seaweed meal for trace elements and blood & bone to add phosphorous. I also added some crushed eggshells, because I had some handy and it adds calcium.

How to Build a Worm Tower Step 3 I salvaged a length of storm water pipe from a building site and found a pot plant saucer that will serve as a lid. Old pipes are ideal, but use whatever you have available. Your pipe length should be around 500mm. 

How to Build a Worm Tower Step 4 Drill holes at the bottom of your pipe roughly 60mm apart. Use a large drill bit. These holes are so the worms can pass in and out of the tower.

How to Build a Worm Tower Step 5 Now dig a hole and insert the pipe with the drilled holes a the bottom. Dig the hole deep enough so the lid of your tower is just above the level of the soil. I also planted out my herbs. I planted purple sage, golden sage, sage, thyme, mint, oregano & golden marjoram. A little bit of compost was scattered around the plants.

How to Build a Worm Tower Step 6 I also added an organic slow released fertiliser. This feriliser is based on chicken manure and will release nutrients over the next 3 months to get my plants off to a good start

How to Build a Worm Tower Step 7 Next I added some liquid fertilser (Organic combo Seaweed & Fish Concentrate) to aid the herbs through transplant shock. Add 20ml to a 9 litre watering can, fill with water and apply to your plants.

How to Build to Worm Tower Step 8 To finish mulch was layered onto soil. I planted a mint over the concrete block as the roots spread horizontally.  This photo is after the plants were more established many months later.

Having a worm tower serves as a easy introduction to composting. For those new to composting ensure you add a mixture of food scraps, dry material (leaves, sticks) and some soil. If you don't have any soil use coffee grinds, cafes often give bags of grinds away. Ensure the coffee grinds contain no milk bottle lids then add to your worm tower, the worms will love it. Check your tower periodically for worm activity and make sure the contents of your tower is not too wet or too dry. By feeding the worms they will reward you by aerating the soil and creating castings. If necessary you can move your tower to another part of the garden, or build a series of them so you can convert more of your food waste into healthy soil. 

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  • Thanks Aaron I absolutely adore this idea as I live in a wee unit and have often pondered the where to put a worm farm conundrum. Problem solved, and so practical!

    Natalie Hope Schwabegger
  • Thanks for the great idea. I am in the process of planning the replanting of my garden. I think I’m going to include and build this worm.
    I have a question though, where would you recommend to have this tower in a 5m X 1m garden?
    Off to the edge of the garden or in the centre?

  • Such a well described project, very inspiring, thank you so much IAmEarth. :)

  • Brilliant idea! I’ll be sure to put one in on my folk’s property. Nice Blog mate.


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