If You Can Lick a Stamp You Can Successfully Raise Compost Worms

There are two types of compost worms most typically used to make vermicast, or worm manure. Vermicast is the most nutrient rich, organic fertilizer or soil conditioner you can find. Period.

The two types are the red wriggler, Latin name Eisenia fetida https://8hoxtonsquare.com/ , and the European night crawler, Latin name Eisenia hortensis. In their natural environment they can be found in manure piles or rotten vegetables. These compost worms are different from ones mainly found in dirt and leaf piles. Many sites sell the worms as do fish and bait stores

A word of caution to save you money:

Before you run out get some of these compost worms, they will need a place to call home. You will have to supply them proper housing if you ever hope to keep them alive and multiplying. Worm compost bins can be found and bought online, they can cost $100 or more plus S/H. You can save yourself money by making your own bin at home. In fact, everything needed may already be sitting in your home collecting dust.

What it takes to make your own bin

You can use a wooden box or a plastic tub to keep the compost worms in. Do not use a metal container because they can hold to much heat which will kills the worms. Avoid Styrofoam containers because they release toxins known to be harmful to compost worms.

Personally, I use plastic Rubbermaid bins. Why? The lids are excellent at keeping critters out and worms from escaping. These lids remove easily which makes adding kitchen waste quick and easy. Worms don’t try to leave unless conditions inside the compost bin are unfavorable.

A lid also keeps sunlight out and prevents the bedding from drying out. Red worms do not like light, nor can they live in conditions that are dry. Do not place the worms in a sunny location because you’ll end up killing them. Holes 1/8 of an inch should be drilled in the bottom sides and top of the bin for air circulation.

Red compost worms are top feeders, so it’s best not to make your bin more than two feet deep. Many different bedding materials can be used for the worms. Newspapers corrugated cardboard, peat moss, partially rotted leaves and manures all can be used as bedding. These compost bin materials should be placed at the bottom of bin before adding the worms.

The bedding should be wet down with water to the consistency of a damp kitchen sponge. Grab a handful and squeeze it tightly, a drop or two should be extracted from your efforts. Once the bedding is set-up you can add the compost worms. Give the worms a couple of days to settle in before adding food. The worms will eat coffee grounds, eggshells, old bread, watermelon, spinach, lettuce and other vegetable scrapes. For every pound of compost worms a half of pound of food waste should be added a week. Do not feed them meat, fried foods or pet feces.

Harvesting the vemicast:

When you no longer see food remaining and the bedding almost gone, its time to gather your vermicast. A common method is to place the worm bin under a direct light source so the worms hide at the bottom. You then can remove it by hand placing it in a separate container. Repeat this until you see the compost worms. Then, separate the worms from the remaining castings by hand placing them in a ready to go compost bin. Good luck.

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