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Red Worms For Composting

Red Worms For Composting1Not to be silly, but have you ever thought of poop as priceless? Welcome to the wonderful world of vermicomposting. Meet Mr. Red Wiggler – the best natural composter we know. He works tirelessly scouring for organic matter to eat and digest, which results in nutrient-rich castings that are very beneficial to plants. These castings are referred to as “black gold” by Uncle Jim. It’s the very best form of fertilizer or compost known to plants!

Getting Started

Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm offers everything you need to start a home vermiculture system, including our famous Red Wigglers who are guaranteed to arrive healthy and ready to gobble up your food waste. Here’s a basic list of what you’ll need to start composting with red worms:
  • Shallow box or container – your box system doesn’t need to be deep because worms like to feed in the uppermost layers of bedding. You can build your own container/box with wood pallets or you can order one specifically designed for red worm composting.
  • Bedding – the material used for bedding is important because it has to be able to retain moisture. Worms require moisture so that they can breathe. Suitable materials include cardboard, shredded newspaper, fallen leaves, manure, or peat moss. Soaking new bedding overnight in water brings good results. Just remember the saying, “if it’s dry, they will die.” Worms also need a little bit of soil in their bedding so that they can use it to break down food in their gizzard.
  • Red Worms (Eisenia Foetida) – These worms are known by many names; “Red Wigglers,” “Dungworms,” and “Manure Worms,” to name just a few. No other worm is as good at composting as the famous red worm. Don’t bother using night crawlers or garden worms. Determining how many red worms to start off with is easy. What is the average amount of daily food waste at your household? Red worms typically eat about half of their weight in food each day.
  • Food – having a home vermiculture system  is not only good for enriching crops, it is good for the environment. Your kitchen waste (any fruits or veggies, coffee grounds, tea bags, egg shells and more) can be fed to red worms, and they love it! In return, you get nutrient-rich “black gold” or worm castings that your garden or indoor plants will love.

Basic Maintenance

Red worms like cool and dark places, so it’s important to set up your vermiculture system in a controlled environment if you experience extreme temperatures – high or low. If freezing temperatures are a possibility, move the container inside the garage. If it’s hot and dry, keep it in a shady place and place a soaked newspaper over the top of the container to help keep them cool. If you notice, worms are everywhere after it rains or during the cool hours of the morning.
Red worms must be kept moist in order to survive, which is why the bedding is important. To help keep the worms moist and productive, place a soaked newspaper over them so help retain moisture in the bedding.
After a few months of feeding and proper care, the bedding will go down and you’ll need to add new bedding. Move the old bedding to the side and add fresh bedding in the empty space. The worms will figure it all out, don’t worry. Start feeding them in the fresh bedding and they’ll move over.
The timing all depends on the amount of bedding and worms you began with, so observe from time to time to see how things are going. Don’t let too much time go by (6 months+) before collecting castings. You will usually be able to start collecting castings after 3 months!
One good technique people use to separate the worms from the bedding and castings is to spread them all out on a flat sheet of plastic. When exposed to light, worms will burrow down. You can then scrape off the upper portions carefully until you’re left with a pile of worms! If you have a big pile of worms left, use some to start a new composting box and give it to a friend or neighbor. Or you can use the worms for pet food or fishing!

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