Worm towers are an excellent way to keep up the nutrient levels in our wicking beds. They require little maintenance beyond a regular top up.
I was wondering if they needed a periodic clean out, so pulled up one and had a look.
I was interested in what was happening at the bottom of the tower, below the surface of the wicking bed – the part I don’t see regularly.
What I found was that the soil had been broken down into pretty much just sand and a little silt. There seemed to be little of the organic material that was present in the mix when I filled the beds. It was quite compacted too, not the worm tunnel ridden rich organic material that I expected.
Maybe it was because it was Winter. The contents were a little different to what I’d found in he warmer weather (in this post). This material accounted for, roughly, the bottom 10cms of the tower.
Once I’d pulled all that out, the rest was pretty well as expected, a rich blend of broken down vegetable scraps, chicken bones and egg shells. It too seemed quite dense. Maybe I’d been putting too much organic material in the tower during my periodic top ups.
There were, however, many fat, healthy worms in this section. Digging a little out into the beds showed a number of happy looking worms too.
There must have been a lot of worms making their way from the tower into the beds and back again. Maybe that bottom section of the tower was just well used as a thoroughfare for worms. It did seem a bit compacted though, but maybe not so much for the critters who live there.
I removed the worms and organic matter and replaced them with a whole lot of good food, filling the tower to within an 2cm of the top before replacing the workers and recapping it.
I checked five of the nine towers before running out of scraps to top the others with. The story was pretty much the same for all of them.