The Garden Tower system is a garden, composter, and worm farm in one. The great thing is that you feed the worms, who in turn feed your plants.
It’s a little self-contained ecosystem that allows you to grow 50 plants in 4 square feet – you can fit this nearly anywhere!
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When you water your plants, nutrients leach through from top to bottom. In this video, Kristi and Tom explain how vermicomposting in the Garden Tower works, why it works, and how to look after your worms.
Kristi Armes is a vertical garden system expert. In the video, she is joined by Tom Tlusty, an expert worm rancher.
When you use the right mixture of brown (high carbon) and green (high nitrogen) materials, the pile heats up. The heat attracts microbes which help to break the pile down into compost.
You might find some worms in these types of compost, but usually not until it has cooled down.
They’re a different type of worm too. I refer to these worms as earthworms. Tom calls them earthmovers. They crawl around and eat little bits of roots and things.
You can achieve some amazing things with this system:
These are worms you find in the top few inches of compost or leaf litter, and they’re the worms you use in your Garden Tower.
They’re not earthmovers, they prefer an environment with loose materials and will enjoy your kitchen scraps. Red Wrigglers are a type of compost worm.
Red Wrigglers are much smaller than earthworms, like the Nightcrawler.
Tom mentions many people ask how much they should feed the worms in their Garden Tower. He advised that you start small, only feed a handful of scraps every few days.
When the food starts to disappear quicker, you can adjust the amount accordingly.
Tom also runs us through how to create the worm habitat.
He saves up materials such as kitchen paper rolls and packing paper, and shreds these into a worm habitat, mixed with straw and corn husks. The smaller the pieces are, the quicker they will break down.
Use a variety of brown materials and add about 4″ of this into the bottom of the vermicomposting tube of your Garden Tower.
This article was originally published in August 2019 and updated in September 2021.