by Wally Richards


Many years ago I learnt about worm farming and how to turn kitchen wastes into rich foods for the garden.

A Palmerston North firm, Plastic Moldings, started producing what I think was the first NZ made available worm farm in NZ called Worm-a-Round.

I purchased one from their factory (and later on a second one; both of which are going strong years later.) I promoted the Worm-a-round and many people saw the great advantage of these very strong units and purchased one to use.

The Palmerston North City Council got on the bandwagon and they to encouraged people to turn their kitchen wastes into great garden foods instead of sending this valuable resource to the rubbish tip.

The original company amalgamated with a similar firm and once again not only did I help sell units but some garden shops, Mitre 10 and Bunnings also used to retail the units.

Over time cheaper inferior worm farm units appeared and like a lot of well-made products the Worm-a-Round disappeared from the market. A gardener contacted me about a month ago and asked if I knew where they could obtain a new Worm-a-round so I did a bit of investigating and found that the moulding company still had the moulds, but had not produced any for a number of years.

So I commissioned them to produce 5 units for my company to once again promote this superior worm farm unit.

The following is my original information that used to appear on my Garden-news website:

Worms are the most efficient method of recycling household wastes into high value nutrients for the garden.

There are about 3000 types of worm species, but of these there are only about a half dozen or so that are important to cultivation.

Eisenia foetida, commonly known as the Manure Worm, Red Wiggler or Tiger worm, has alternative bands of yellow and maroon down the length of its body. You know you have one when you pick it up: it thrashes about, wriggling and squirming.

The amazing attributes of the Tiger worm include being able to consume their own body weight in food each day. The daily food intake of organic material results in a wonderful, organic material called vermi-cast. They also produce 60% of their body weight in urine each day which is referred to as leachate.

This leachate is very high in nitrogen and can be diluted 10:1 for use as a highly nutritious plant food.

Tiger worms are surface feeders and they thrive in organic materials such as manure and kitchen scraps when these materials are mulched on top of the soil.

Tiger worms have another interesting aspect as they are a little like Monarch Butterfly’s caterpillars in so much as they are distasteful to predators such as birds.

Thus many birds will leave them alone and being surface eaters this is most important as they are easy prey otherwise.

These wonderful worms are the best compositors in the world, turning waste material into high value nutrients for plants to use.

Everyday you likely throw out kitchen wastes, which clog up our tips and sewer systems. Such a waste of wastes.

Now what say you could convert your wastes to top quality plant food (leachate) plus highly nutritious soil for gardens and containers (vermicast) and be able to collect these valuable products cleanly and simply?

Well now you can with an amazing unit called WORM-A-ROUND.

Worm-a Round is a special double bin that allows you to run your own Vermicomposting unit and collect the valuable plant nutrients. Simple to use, you start off with newspaper and kitchen wastes to which is added 250 grams of Tiger Worms. (These are available from worm growers throughout NZ)

Each day you simply add your kitchen wastes for that day and once in full operation your Worm-A-Round bin can cope with 2 kg of kitchen waste per day.

A tap is on the lower, collector bin and each week you can collect about a litre of leachate. This can be stored for use as required.

If you think about it, that’s about $20.00 worth of top quality plant food a week.

Over the following weeks and months the worm population will increase till it reaches its optimum level. (Worms are self-regulating in this aspect)

At this time you could remove some of the worms and place them in the garden under a layer of organic mulch. Mushroom compost would be ideal for this. You may like to add them to your own compost heap to get more action from it.

If you don’t remove any worms it does not matter as they will not overcrowd their home. It takes between 3 to 6 months to reach this point.

After a period of time vermicast will reach the top of the first tray and then the second tray should be added to the bin. Food scraps can then be placed in this top tray, daily.

Once this top tray is three quarters full of vermicast most of the worms will have moved up into it. At this time you can remove the bottom tray (full of vericast) for use with your potting mixes, as seed raising mix, mulch around plants, or for use under plants at planting time. It also can be added to water as an additional liquid additive in the garden.

Vermicast, like ordinary worm casts is a beautiful crumbly material just busting with plant nutrients. Each harvest will save you many dollars in potting mixes and other plant foods.

Except for your initial outlay for the bin, instructions and worms the whole process will not cost you a penny in the future, but will return you many dollars worth of products every week for years.

Vermi-composting is an interesting aspect of gardening and of great value to your plants as well as the important principals of recycling; an activity that even the younger members of the family can enjoy and participate in, giving them a better concept of nature and the world around them.

The Worm-a-Round is rat and mice proof so you wont have any problems from the vermin. I keep a plastic container on the kitchen bench, which kitchen wastes goes into then when full I take out and put into one of my Worm-a-Rounds.

Place your Worm-a-Round on a table outside in a shaded situation handy to the kitchen for convenience.

Worm-a-Rounds can be obtained by Mail Order through

Phone 0800 466464
Garden Pages and News at
Shar Pei pages at
Mail Order products at


Wally spoke at a VFF meeting on Saturday which we didn’t announce as VFF are wary of Stuffers showing up so to do one of their infamous hit jobs.

Many of the points Wally mentioned have been covered in his regular articles, but proably the most significant worth repeating is that chlorinated water is no good for gardens, and it’s not good for people and pets either. Dechlorinate it with with a carbon filter between the tap and the hosepipe — he sells these. Fluoride is harmless for gardens, although not good for people.