Worm farms and the black plague

Worm farms and the black plague is one good cost-effective solution in countries where garbage collection is improperly done.

They are, at first thought, only for serious greenies, but in fact they may be the remedy to a very serious social problem; the non-collection of garbage from poor areas unable to pay for services.

These little red nematodes have an incredible ability to turn your kitchen waste into magnificent compost and liquid manure. The organic gardener has a perennial problem of too few minerals, but is unwilling to use chemical fertilisers. The solution is cow or horse dung, chicken litter, and a wormery.

The wonder of worm farms.

By Bernard Preston

Red worms will eat their own weight of around a gram, each day. So a thousand of them need a couple pounds of food daily. That could be potato peels, rotten plums or uneaten rice; and even some meat, though generally anything cooked should be avoided. Rather feed it to your dogs. They love unfinished school sandwiches.

In short your worms will eat almost any leftovers from your kitchen, turning it into wonderful compost, rich in nitrogen and other minerals.

Red worms have one other amazing ability; they double in number every month.

After four weeks you will have 2000 worms, and after two months, 4000. And how many would you have after a year? Do you remember the tale about a grain of rice on the first square of a chessboard? The power of the geometric progression yields the astonishing figure of a couple of tons of nematodes, to give them their scientific name, eating an equal weight of garbage every day.

These worms are unable to survive on our harsh African landscape, so they are not a threat to the environment; they are not going to become an invader species. But they do love the compost heaps that abound in every greenie’s garden; handfuls of them get thrown in regularly.

All that is needed is a discarded concrete double laundry tub or bath. I use an old mould that is no longer of any use; as large as you choose. Fit two standard outlets and set your worm farm up on blocks in a cool place in the shade in the garden.

Here is one more thought; if you have chickens, the surplus worms provide a wonderful high protein food for your birds. At the rate they expand, you can toss them a handful every day.

But back to Sweetwaters where a black friend tells me that the people are not planting mealies and pumpkins any more; they are devoured by an invasion of rats feeding predominantly on all the uncollected kitchen waste. I enjoy the produce from my green garden but it is a luxury; for them it means starvation if they are unable to grow vegetables. Who is going to be the first to start a pilot plant of a dozen worm farms?

Let us also not forget that it was this very rat that carried the flea that is the vector for the bubonic plague bacterium that devastated Europe about 500 years ago. We are sitting on a time bomb just as explosive as HIV.  Prevention is better than a cure.

Worm farms and the black plague

Our rainbow worm farm.

Worm farms and the black plague is always a threat where garbage removal is ineffectively done because the rat that carries the flea that bears the disease flourishes. Small outbreaks like the one in Madagascar recently act as a reminder that cleanliness is next to godliness. We should dispose of our waste efficiently.

Get them from the worm wizzard.

  1. Bernard Preston
  2. Our green home
  3. Worm farms and the black plague

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56 Groenekloof Rd,

Hilton, KZN

South Africa