Use a Worm Tube in the Garden

A Composing Secret

Woman gardening & composting
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I've mentioned before that I have to be somewhat sneaky in my composting practices because we're not allowed  to compost food where I live--we are only allowed to compost lawn and garden refuse. I started my sneaky food composting by composting in a plastic storage container, then a trash can. I dig and drop my food scraps right in my garden beds, and I have a worm bin. But we eat a lot of fruits and veggies especially during the growing season, and these systems do eventually become overloaded.

What can you do to compost in that case? 

When I saw the worm tube composting method over at the National Gardening Association's website, I knew I had to try it. Basically, the idea is that you install a large (6-inch diameter) tube or pipe directly into your garden bed, and drop your food scraps into it. Pests can't get into it, but the worms from the garden can. They will eat the goodies you leave, wiggle back out into your garden soil, and leave some goodies of their own in the form of vermicastings, or feces, which act as the composting agent for the food. The worms will spread the compost in a 4-foot diameter as they travel throughout the garden underground.

Using a worm tube in your garden also encourages more worms into the space. Another benefit of using worm tubes is that they can double as bird perches, so insect-eating birds can hunt in your garden as well. 

Create a Worm Tube

To make your own organic gardening compost worm tube, choose the type of pipe you want.

Some people have used metal drain pipes, others use large plastic pots glued together at the top, drilling out the bottom with holes. You can fit more scraps in with the pots. PVC pipe can work just fine to create a worm tube. Cut the pipe into sections with a circular saw or hack saw and then drill 1-inch holes into the bottoms of the pipes using a hole saw.

Other people have had success with 1/4-inch holes drilled into the main pipe. And if you look around online, some people turn the pipe into a decoration by painting it or adding other adornments.

You can paint the pipes so they are not as visible in the garden. Cover the top to keep out flies (you can purchase PVC caps or use screening). The pipe is inserted vertically so it stands out. 

Put some finished compost and worms in each tube along with your kitchen scraps and some soil. Then you can begin composting food into the garden.