Making your own wormery

Redworms are among the deadliest hookbaits of all for bream, either on their own or in a cocktail with maggots or casters. Brandlings aren’t usually as effective on the hook, but chopped up they are often a useful addition to your groundbait.

The trouble with redworms and brandlings is getting hold of them. You can buy tubs of brandlings in most tackle shops but they are quite expensive and you don’t get very many for your money.

Redworms, meanwhile, are hardly ever sold in tackle shops at all. Sometimes they are advertised for sale by mail order, in the classified pages of the weekly angling newspapers, but again this is quite an expensive business.

A few years ago almost every dung heap you came across seemed to contain red-worms and brandlings but for some reason such heaps are few and far between nowadays. Even when you find a heap with worms in it, you can’t rely on it for long. In hot, dry spells it is likely to dry out, while inevitably other anglers find out about it and it soon becomes exhausted.

The answer to the problem is to make your own wormery. The ideal time to do this is early in the close season, so that your initial stock of worms has an undisturbed couple of months in which to multiply.

Getting started

In a level, shaded corner of your garden, secure four sheets of corrugated iron lengthways with wooden posts to form a pen about 1-1.5m square. You can buy corrugated iron sheets from roofing material suppliers. Failing that, use sheets of hardboard or planks of wood.

Fill the bottom of the pen with a mixture of earth and leaf mould to a depth of 15-30cm. On top of this put a 5cm or so layer of neat pig, cow or horse manure. Now introduce your breeding stock of worms. Then each day add whatever vegetable waste you have from the kitchen: potato peelings, tea leaves, apple cores and the like. And that’s all there is to it! Or nearly all…

Worm husbandry

If your worms are to nourish you must remember three things. First, you must keep the acid content of the mixture down. Many wormeries fail simply because they are too acidic. The trick is to sprinkle on a handful of calcified seaweed every time you add some more vegetable waste. You can buy calcified seaweed from garden centres.

Second, you must ensure the wormery doesn’t dry out. Siting it in a shaded place helps, but it’s a good idea to keep it covered with damp sacking or the like. And it’s essential to sprinkle it regularly with water through the summer.

Finally, try not to take more worms out than you need at one time, or you risk exhausting your wormery. And get into the habit of tipping back any you haven’t used when you get home from fishing.

You’ll know when you’ve got it right; the worms breed like mad, producing loads of tiny, white thread-like baby worms – and turn your kitchen waste into the best potting material money can buy!