Welcome, everyone. I have been really jazzed over the last year or so especially, after hearing from so many of you out there that are new-ish worm farmers. Yay, you! Three ways to kill a stacked worm farm are in fact three of many more ways—LoL—but… I am going to share the three biggies here.
There are several ways to piss off your worms and decrease their numbers temporarily, but they’ll come back fast, usually by 30 days they are back to 50%+ strength. The three ways to kill a stacked worm farm I am going to talk about today are total (100%) obliterators of your worm farm population. Worm genocide.
The good news is that you can always just bring in more worms, as long as the mistake you made didn’t involve their food containing something poisonous to them. For example, feeding your worms plant matter that pesticides were used on.
I’m not going to bullshit you here, starting a worm farm has a bit of a learning curve to it. But once you get it jamming it will have been well worth the effort. Let’s have a look at the three major things to avoid, in my experience. I have been running the same stacked worm farm for about 16 years now. Let’s roll…
Worm Farm Genocide via Extreme Temperatures
Obviously, extreme heat or cold can kill almost anything, and worms are no exception. When deciding where to place your stacked worm farm, never have it exposed to direct sunlight (or rain). If it’s in a shed or garage, make sure you can cool/ventilate that area on super-hot days. Ventilation in general is a must. Massive amounts of CO2 are created by the farm. They don’t like any light either, so you want to place the farm in a fairly dim location if possible.
The shed where I have my farm located is fairly dim, but I still add an empty worm farm tray placed upside-down on the top of the farm to further protect it from light up top. A series of really warm days can dry out your worm farm too, and this is normally a good thing. You rarely, if ever, need to actually add any liquid to your farm. I never have had to in 16 years.
A ‘Hard Freeze’ can obliterate your farm, and this has happened to me once before. A hard freeze is when temps are at or below freezing overnight, and temps don’t get much above freezing during the day, and this goes on for a couple or a few straight days. If you cannot heat the farm’s location, there is another way—check out this article: Letters to Rev – Growing Cannabis All Naturally TLO Style, and this is the solution I use myself to avoid this happening to me again; it’s the very first question.
Worm Farm Genocide via High Moisture
While you may be all good on your temperature ranges, having your farm get too wet is something you will almost certainly deal with. If it gets too wet it can easily get anaerobic, and this not only kills your worms, but it will also get crazy stinky. Gnat invasions follow, then flies will lay eggs in the dead worms and massive maggots will emerge. Ugh. This is actually really easy to avoid, you only need to be mindful of it.
I always keep some extraneous cannabis plant matter around fully dry to mix in with my worm food. Most of my worm food is very wet. Perlite is something I like to add directly to my worm food that helps to dry it out a bit. Wherever you collect your worm food, it’s a good idea to have that location highly exposed to air. This way, by the time you feed it to the worms it has dried out a bit.
Worm Farm Genocide via Low Aeration
Here we go with the most likely issue to show up with your worm farm. Of all the ways to kill a stacked worm farm, this is for sure the most common one I hear of. It’s also something that has happened to me a few times over the years from various mistakes/oversights that I will share with you. How about a little list to shed some light on this issue…?
- You must leave the drainage valve at the bottom of your worm farm wide open all the time and never close it. You just keep a catch container placed there as shown in the photo below.
- Never place anything on top of your worm farm. Even a little bit of weight here can compress the trays enough to make them go anaerobic and kill all the worms. I laid out the anaerobic horrors just above. Yikes.
- Keep your worm food fairly chunky and don’t chop it all up too well. Pieces of cannabis stems help a lot here in your worm food to create air pockets.
- Never, ever, compact the worm food into the worm farm trays. Just pour or shovel it in and spread it out a bit.
I have done things in the past that have taken down my worm population by 75% before, and the good news is that everything is fine. As long as you don’t commit worm farm genocide, they’ll come back pretty fast—30 days or so you’ll see numbers come up. But even while they are down, the farm is chalked FULL of microorganisms that continue to process the worm food just fine. Even if the farm gets anaerobic with maggots you can let it sit for a few weeks until the maggots also die/become flies, and it dries out a bit, and then add new worms. In fact, new worm eggs may hatch after the maggots have died/left and decomposed. Sticky hanging flypaper can take out a lot of flies fast.
Okay, green warriors, I’m outty for today, rock on with your worm farm pursuits and I hope this article helps you all out. I always aim to help you avoid learning things the hard way—wink.
- REv 😊
I'm The Rev, and I have been with SKUNK for about a decade now. I hail from Southern California, spent mucho time in Northern California, and now reside in Southern Oregon; always coastal. I am an all natural style cannabis grower and I have written a couple books on the subject - check out True Living Organics 2nd Edition on Amazon - I have been growing for over 45 years, and I have been breeding cannabis for over 30 years. Check out kingdomorganicseeds.com to see some exotic selections. Growing connoisseur cannabis is what I teach mostly, growing it in living soil without using liquid organic nutrients to feed the plant. I am also a highly skilled synthetics grower, hydroponics, aeroponics, DWC/SWC/NFT, Ebb and Flow, and soilless, but I cringe when smoking synthetic grown herbs, so for the last 15 years or so I preach the artisan style of all natural growing, specializing in container growing. Cheers and welcome aboard.