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How to Build a Worm Farm with Polystyrene Foam Broccoli Boxes

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If you’re thinking of trying out worm farming but don’t want to go out and buy a worm farm, you can always build your own DIY worm farm instead.

Construction is really easy, and only takes a few minutes, and it can all be done using recycled materials, costing nothing at all.

A broccoli box worm farm is constructed from two stacked polystyrene foam boxes

To build your worm farm, you’ll need the following items:

  1. Two polystyrene (foam) broccoli boxes with lids
  2. Piece of plastic shade cloth that is longer and wider than the base of the broccoli box
  3. Few newspapers to use below the bedding material and as a ‘worm blanket’ cover sheet
  4. Short piece of 12mm (1/2”) black polypipe irrigation pipe or any other narrow plastic pipe around 20cm (8”) long
  5. Philips head screwdriver #1 and #2 to punch small and big holes in the polystyrene
  6. Bricks or other supports to stand the worm farm on
  7. Small bucket to sit under the pipe to collect the liquid
  8. Coconut coir block or other suitable bedding material

Basic Worm Farm Layout

The diagram below illustrates the basic design of how the worm farm is put together, and how it works.

Worm Farm Construction, Step by Step

The following instructions demonstrate how to build a worm farm in 11 simple steps.

Step 1 – Take two polystyrene foam broccoli boxes with lids, put one lid aside as you’ll only need one lid.

Step 2 – Take one box for the upper tray, and using the #2 Philips head screwdriver, punch a two row of drain holes in the bottom.

Punch the holes from the outside of the box to the inside, so they’ll appear neater on the outside, as the foam breaks out a bit and looks messier on the exit side the screwdriver hole.

Step 3 – Cut a piece of shade cloth which is both wider and longer than the inside of the upper tray foam box, and place it in the bottom, so it runs up the sides. This will prevent the bedding and worms falling through the drain holes.

Step 4 – Take a few whole newspapers and sit them over the shade cloth, fold and overlap them to neatly fit the bottom of the upper tray foam box.

Step 5 – Take the lid, and using the #1 Philips head screwdriver, punch a two row of smaller air holes in the top of the lid.

Punch the holes from the outside of the lid to the inside, so they’ll appear neater on the outside, as the foam breaks out a bit and looks messier on the exit side the screwdriver hole.

Put the upper tray foam box and lid aside, the top half is now completed.

Step 6 – Prepare your bedding material – if using a coconut coir block, soak it in a bucket of water until it is soft.

Step 7 – Take the other foam box for the lower tray, and on one side of the lower tray foam box, make a hole level with the bottom of the box and push the short section of black 12mm irrigation polypipe into it so it extends about 5cm (2”) inside the box.

Step 8 – Sit the lower tray foam box on bricks or other supports so it is high enough to sit a small bucket under the drain pipe, and place the bucket underneath the drain.

Sit the upper tray foam box on top of the lower one, and then pour in the coconut  coir or other bedding material. Any excess liquid will run into the lower tray and out of the drain pipe into the bucket.

Add worms to the bedding, cover the bedding with a damp newspaper ‘worm blanket’ and put the lid back on.

That’s all! Congratulations on building your own worm farm!

If you’d like to learn more about worm farming, please check out the following articles:

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