In July of 2008 my grandsons and I put 1000 red wigglers into a bin we had prepared. We were worm farmers. I wanted worm castings, considered very fine compost, to use in my garden. The process of making that compost has been a slower process than I expected.
Red wigglers are not earthworms. They need to be kept warm – at least warmer than 50 degrees to thrive. I did not want to keep the worm bin in my kitchen so when fall came I moved it to our basement where the temperature is a constant 50 degrees. A few worms survived to be put outdoors when spring became warm enough in 2009. In September 2009 I took a very modest harvest of vermicompost and set the worms up with new bedding. The worm population increased during the summer, but another winter in the basement did it no good.
There was no vermicompost harvest in 2010. We did dump out the bin and check through in July when the grandsons were again visiting, but we saw very few adult worms and little tiny white things that we thought (hoped) must be baby worms. We put them all back in the bin, along with damp peat moss, which a vermicomposting neighbor said he used, in addition to wet shredded newspaper. In the fall I gritted my teeth and kept the bin in our kitchen. The fruitflies I dreaded did not appear. There was no smell, but I did not expect that. Clearly the population has increased because they are going through much more kitchen waste than they ever have before. This is especially appreciated since I haven’t been able to use the outdoor compost bin for about a month now.
Yesterday I dug into the bin to take a rough population account. The verdict is A Lot! That means there will be a good harvest, just in time for spring planting.
While the worms are luxuriating in the warmth of our woodstove heated living/dining/cooking space –
this is the kind of weather we have been enjoying outdoors at the End of the Road.
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I should have some worms. Should is the operative word. I have no room for worms but yours look quite happy. I hope you survived those winds. February is the longest month of the year. It seems that way anyway.
Layanee – Few shoulds in the garden. These worms are happy and so am I – even out in the wind. Only a week and it’s March!
OK, I give up. If they aren’t earthworms, what are they? Can’t quite figure this out! Thanks.
Bill – The scientific name of these red wiggler worms is Eisenia fetida. They are adifferent variety of worm from the earthworm. I had to order them from a supplier; I did not dig them up from the garden. If you Google red wigglers you’ll come up with any number of suppliers and more information than I have given in my several posts. Worms Eat My Garbage by Mary Appelhof is the bible of worm composting.
Unknown to most of my squeamish girlfriends, I keep my worm-bin in the laundry room.. Fruit flies are an occasional problem, but the amount of kitchen scraps they eat is incredible!
Rebecca – I wish I had a warm laundry room instead of having the bin, which is altogether too large, out in the middle of things.