The best pet for small spaces…or big spaces

Living in a flat sometimes you can be a little restricted with sort of pets you can have. Constrained because of space, landlords, body corporate, prying childrens fingers. All sorts of reasons.

This pet ticks all those boxes though. It doesn’t need regular walks, doesn’t need a kitty litter tray, doesn’t hog the bed at night time, doesn’t chew furniture, doesn’t eat a lot, don’t need costly visits to the vet and doesn’t take much to set them up in their new home.

So what pet is that?

A worm.

Actually a lot of them.

Thousands of the little critters. A worm farm may not be the most interactive of pets, but they eat your compost, don’t take up much space and provide lots of wonderful solid (castings) and liquid fertilizer for your garden or pot plants. Sure you don’t get to play with them, stroke their tiny baldy heads, and their recipricle loving attention is a little wanting but they are still cute in their own hairless way. (And The Monkeys still want to poke and touch them as they would any other pet.)

The average household garbage is about 50% compostable. So instead of going to landfill it gets chewed up and turned into liquid gold by these little fellas.

10 top tips for worm farms

1/ Needs a cool well shaded spot to sit in (easy for a flat or balcony).

2/ You can buy a ready made worm farm (usually made out of recycled plastics) or you can easily make your own. (Try local councils for ready made ones as they quite often have them at cheaper prices, may deliver it and set up for free, and also run free worm farming courses.)

3/ They don’t like eating acidic foods such as onion/ garlics/ citrus fruits. Also no meat/ grains or dairy.

4/ Worm farms shouldn’t smell. There should be a lovely earthy smell, if it does get a bit pongy (stinky) then just stop feeding them for a few days, let them break down the food a bit more. Loosen the food and castings- so its easier for them to manouvre through.

5/ The smaller you chop the food, the easier they can break it down. Saying that, you can also just throw in your scraps, it just takes a while longer to break down.

6/ You can toss in all your vegetable and fruit scraps, but can also pop in ripped up newspaper, soggy egg cartons, hair, tea bags, vacuum dust…. you can do dog poo, but not advised on using the worm castings for your plants afterwards though.

7/ The worm wee can be used as a fertilizer mixed with water. 1 part wee to 9 parts water, and then just watered in to your plants. Your plants will love you for it.

8/ If you were a fishing kind a person= live bait!

9/ Worms like a nice moist environment. The water from the scraps is generally enough to keep things at a moist level during cooler months. However during hotter weather, a little extra added water may be needed intermittently. Some moist newspaper on top of the food scraps (or a hessian bag) acts as a blanket and keeps things at a stable temperature.

10/ After the initial start up, there is no ongoing costly maintenance. The worms continue to multiply (as long as they are fed) and you can’t have too many of the useful little critters.

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