April 20, 2012

Compost Worm Countdown, ...........1

They're here!

Eisenia fetida, Red Wigglers

Now here's an odd thing. I'm always delighted when I'm working in the soil and find an earthworm. If I find one somewhere other than the garden, I'll often take it there. Somehow though, photos of worms are creepy. Why live are okay and photos not, I don't know!

These are Red Worms, Eisenia fetida, also called Red Wigglers. They are a type of composting worm and differ from earthworms. The common earthworm's scientific name is Lumbricus terrestris.

Earthworms are burrowers. They like to live deeper in the ground and that's where they do their "composting"; good for the soil, but not good for collecting. They are also usually found one at a time, by themselves. Composting worms live closer to the surface, preferring to munch their way through rich organic matter. This makes their castings easy to collect. These are better adapted to "group" living conditions, which probably explains why they multiply so fast ( I read up to double in 90 days). Besides the Red Wigglers, another common variety of composting worms is European Nightcrawlers, Eisenia hortensis.

Compost worm bed with lid

In Compost Worm Countdown,.....2......, I showed you how I divided the worm bed in half. I have a large sheet of damp cardboard covering their half, on the right. For the lid, we bought two sheets of corrugated vinyl roofing. Right now they're just set on top and weighted down with rocks. Soon they'll be attached to a frame. They are light weight, opaque, and easy to manage. My only concern will be the temperature inside the bed. It gets some morning sun and I worry that it might get too hot, so it's something to keep an eye on .

Now I'll just have to wait and see how they do. Hopefully my new "livestock" will be happy in their new home.

More resources:
http://www.redwormcomposting.com/quick-facts-about-worm-composting/
http://whatcom.wsu.edu/ag/compost/Redwormsedit.htm

15 comments:

badgerpendous said...

I'm with you on the pictures of worms...

The last time I turned our "finished" compost I found a ton (well, ok, maybe two handfuls)of red worms. I threw a bunch of them into the new compost, but unfortunately after cleaning out the chicken run, the new compost bin heated up to 150F. I know worms don't like that kind of heat.

Can't wait to see how your worms do!

Sunnybrook Farm said...

Oh they are beautiful, I just think of all the brown goodness they will produce!

Nina said...

That is exciting news for sure! I appreciate worms in the soil, though I still don't want to pick them up without gardening gloves on. I agree that photos of worms are a bit creepy. Perhaps it's because you always see them out of their normal surroundings.

Renee Nefe said...

I grew up with 3 little brothers, so worms are no big deal!

Humm I wonder what kind of worms I have in my garden? Probably just earthworms...they crawl out of the grass onto the pavement when it rains...but they drown there also. smart.

Leigh said...

Badgerpendous, I imagine if they have a way to escape it, all is well! I took a peek today, to see what I could see, but there was no sign of worms. Not ready to go digging around for them yet though.

Sunnybrook, and of all the brown goodness I can feed them! LOL. We're starting a new trash can just for junk mail and other carbon goodies. :)

Nina, that may be it. I'll have to see if my feelings change on that now that I'll be raising my own. :)

Renee, ha! Maybe the creepy photo reaction is a girl thing, LOL. Not sure how to tell the difference in worms. The red ones are kinda red. My earthworms are more greyish. Both kinds are good guys though.

aleisethefunny said...

Awesome! I'm hoping to get a worm bin going this year.

tami said...

Can't wait to see how it all works out for you. I REALLY need to get a move on with the worms here myself. I don't think I want to do a bin though. I'm leaning towards doing worm towers in all the beds.

CaliforniaGrammy said...

I'm the kind that definitely needs a glove to grab one of those suckers ... and the picture? Eeeeeww! I guess I'm a girly city girl who now loves living in the country (sans worms and crawly things!) But I love checking in on you daily ... love peeking in on what you're up to!

Mama Pea said...

Seeing as how I have a "thing" about worms and snakes anyway (shudder-shudder), I skimmed over your picture, too. I've learned to love them (not really, but I know they're a super-good sign) in our garden and always talk nice to them when I come across one.

Your posting about your worm farming in your usual detailed, interesting and informative way is something I look forward to following.

Homesteading Quest said...

Congratulations on your worms!

Leigh said...

Aleise, it was actually pretty easy. Hopefully we'll have lots of good castings for the garden this summer

Tami, worm towers in all the beds? I'll be very interested in that!

Janice, I have to admit it's something I wouldn't be doing without a good reason!

Mama Pea, that makes too of us. I promise not to show too many wormy pictures in my updates. :)

Homesteading Quest, thanks!

Marissa said...

My two year old has just discovered the joy of worms! She won't touch the toads in the yard but she will dig and dig and dig to find a worm to play with! We've been thinking about getting back into vermiculture for sometime. Growing up, we had one of those big black tubs in the laundry room for it. Very cool!

Tina T-P said...

So why the lid? Is it to keep the chickens out of your worm garden? T.

Tanya @ Lovely Greens said...

I've got red wrigglers in my wormery as well...they're fantastic at breaking down organic material.

But in hauling manure to the allotment I found that the exact same species of worm seems to miraculously appear wherever food is available for them. If anyone wants to save some cash just find a supply of well rotted manure near you (stables?) and get a bucket load to put in your wormery.

Leigh said...

Marissa, good to hear from you! That's too cute about your daughter. It's so neat how many ways there are to raise worms. I'm sure your daughter would be delighted if you got into it again. :)

Tina, technically yes, though the chickens don't usually get down to the garden. The robins though! They were attracted to it when I was just mixing the bedding up. It also keeps it dark and keeps rain from washing them out.

Tanya, great tip! Thanks. :)