So you’ve decided that you want to try setting up a worm farm but you’re not sure where to start. We’ve all been there! Finding the best worm farm for apartments can be a little bit tricky if you’re limited on space. It can also feel can feel daunting, with so many options to choose from. We’re here to help you decide on which worm bin to choose depending on your needs. Read more to discover what worm farms there are to choose from for an apartment dweller, and which one is right for you.
What to Consider for Apartment Dwellers
When thinking about what type of worm farm to buy (or DIY), consider the following:
Where to House Your Worm Farm
The first thing to consider is where you want your worms to live. As an apartment dweller, the space you have available may be limited. Consider the environment where you’re deciding to place your worm farm. Your balcony is often the easiest and maintenance area to keep your worm farm.
Depending on where you live in the world, you may want to consider the temperature your worm farms live in. Will your worms potentially get frost bite or over heat? Remember, these are living creatures who thrive in specific conditions. Imagine if you were made to live in freezing conditions! If the conditions are too hot or too cold, you may want to consider keeping your worms inside.
While this isn’t for everyone as you might think that your worm farms will attract pests and smells, remember that a happy worm farm shouldn’t attract any pests or give off strong rotting smells. If it is, you might want to investigate why!
The Different Types of Worm Farms for Apartments
There are a few types of worm farms to choose from depending on your own personal preferences and the space you have to dedicate to your vermiculture set up. Tiered worm farms are by far the most popular type of worm bin you can purchase. However, just because it’s most popular doesn’t mean you it’s the right one for you! We’ll discuss the pros and cons of each type of bin so you can thoroughly weigh up which worm farm is best for you.
Tiered Worm Farms
Tiered worm farms are characterised by the multiple layers you can add as your worm farm grows. The layers allow you to control where your worms are by sorting between your “finished” compost and decomposing material. As your worms turn your food waste into worm castings AKA black gold, the’ll naturally migrate to the next layers where you’ve added new food. This makes sorting and processing your compost easier than having to completely emptying out and unnecessarily disturbing your worms.
Tiered worm farms are great if you’re new to vermiculture, with lots of information available on the internet on how to care for your tiered worm farm. Indicative of it’s popularity, there are very little disadvantages of owning a layered worm farm. If you are concerned about heavy lifting, then this format may not be for you. That being said, heavy lifting is relatively infrequent and is only required as you intend to harvest your finished worm castings.
|Pros of a Tiered Worm Farm||Cons of a Tiered Worm Farm|
|Plug and play set up, with little prep required.||Requires some heavy lifting when the time comes to harvest your worm casting.|
|Allows you to easily sort out worm castings from unfinished compost.||Most pre-made tiered farms are made from plastic. This may be an issue for you if you are conscious about your plastic consumption.|
|Discrete and durable design.||Upfront cost required.|
|Lots of materials available on how to take care of tiered worm farms.|
Continuous Flow Worm Farms
Continuous flow compost bins, or flow through bins, are characterised by an inverted pyramid shape. With a continuous flow worm bin, food scraps are added from the top and worm castings are harvested from the bottom. Worms will naturally migrate upwards towards the new food scraps, leaving you with finished worm castings at the bottom for easy harvesting. The continuous flow design is very similar in theory to the layered worm farm, without the layers of course!
Unlike tiered worm farms, the continuous flow design does not require any heavy lifting as all harvesting is done through the bottom of the worm bin.
|Pros of a Continuous Flow Worm Farm||Cons of a Continuous Flow Worm Farm|
|Plug and play set up, with little prep required.||Upfront cost required. Slightly more expensive than tiered worm farms.|
|Optimised for easy harvesting of worm castings.||If space is limited, continuous flow worm farms are slightly larger than their tied counterparts.|
|Lots of materials available on how to take care of tiered worm farms.||Most pre-made tiered farms are made from plastic. This may be an issue for you if you are conscious about your plastic consumption.|
|Holds a greater capacity than tiered worm farms.|
All-In-One planters are a great option if you’re looking for a self-fertilising planter. While we love the idea of an All-In-One planter with space for your worm farm, it may not be enough depending on the amount of food waste you produce. You may find that after a few months, you’ve filled up the centre compartment and run out of space to add new food waste for your worms. These planters are an excellent option as a secondary worm farm to compliment your existing system. The planter also requires adequate sunlight if you’re intending to grow plants from the planter. The shorter design may limit the amount of sunlight it receives. If you live in an apartment without direct sunlight, this may also mean you won’t receive adequate sunlight, depending on the needs of your plants.
|Pros of an All-In-One Planter||Cons of an All-In-One Planter|
|Very discreet and aesthetic design||Limited space for worms and compost to break down.|
|Minimises the need to manually fertilise your plants||You need adequate sunlight for your plants.|
|Compact design, suitable for small spaces||Upfront cost required.|
|Not suitable as primary or sole worm farm if you have a lot of food scraps.|
|Limited options available. Most don’t include space for your plants – garden bed or large pot required.|
|Not as easy to harvest worm castings.|
|Pros of a DIY Worm Farm||Cons of a DIY Worm Farm|
|Very cost effective||Labor and time required to set up your farm|
|Gratification knowing there’s no farm like yours!||Knowledge and research required on how to construct your worm farm|
If you’re looking to save a little money or you just like taking the DIY route, constructing your very own worm farm may be for you. Most DIYers construct their worm farms using plastic tubs or wooden panels, with the most common design being (you guessed it), the tiered design! The choice is yours here, when you’re taking the DIY route. Be prepared to do a little research on how best to construct your worm farm. It’s not quite as ‘plug n play’ as a pre-made worm bin, but you’ll get the gratification of knowing your worm farm is unique to you.
The Best Worm Farm for Apartments
And drum roll please…. The best worm farm for apartments is… the one you choose. Seriously, there’s no right answer here. The best one for you is the one you like the look of best and fits the environment you live in. You can’t really go wrong with any of the options we’ve listed.
Many worm farm beginners opt for a layered worm farm design due to the popularity and accessibility. If you’re seriously stuck for choice and overwhelmed with the options, we suggested the layered design. It’s very beginner friendly and very hard to mess up!
Worm farms come in different shapes and sizes. You may want to consider what’s best for your apartment, depending on the space and sunlight you have available. Most pre-made worm farms are extremely easy to set up and start. If you’re a complete beginner, you may want to consider this route. However, if you’re looking to save on start up costs, you might want to consider DIY-ing yourself. Have fun, and happy worm farm-ing!