Basic Worm Care
Compost worms like to live in compost and differ from the typical earthworm you would find in the ground. They don’t require any soil in their bedding. These worms include:
Care for the above types of worms is very similar with the only difference being that the African Nightcrawlers are more sensitive to cold temperatures and must be kept in a warmer environment.
- Worm bin (make your own or buy a Happy Frog Composter)
- A few pounds of Worms
- Table Scraps (Worm food)
- Bedding material
If possible, it is good to set up your worm bin 2-3 days before you are scheduled to receive your worms. This allows time for your food scraps to break down so that the worms will be able to start eating them right away when they arrive. Worms can’t eat fresh fruits and veggies as they are still to hard for them, they need to have a little time to start decomposing before the worms can break them down.
Setting up the bin: Place 3-4 inches of bedding into your worm bin. Acceptable worm bedding materials include: coconut coir, shredded paper, shredded cardboard, peat moss, and pre-composted manure. Next add in your food scraps. Worms like things like fruit and veggies wastes. They can process just about any food material but there are some foods you should avoid or feed very little to your worms. The items you shouldn’t feed your worms include meats, dairy, citrus, or greasy foods. Next add one more layer of bedding material on top so that flies can’t get to the food.
Ongoing Care: Feed the worms as needed. Don’t overfeed. Once they have gone through most of the material add more, don’t pile on more food if they haven’t gone through their initial food. You will want to add dry bedding with every feeding, otherwise your worm bin will start to get too wet and may start to smell bad. Your bin should be moist, but not wet.
Harvesting Castings: Every few months you should have enough castings to harvest. If you purchased a Worm Factory 360, this should be super easy, you just lift out the bottom tray and use the castings. If you built your own worm bin, you will have to sort out the worms and the castings by hand. Methods for doing so will be covered in another article.
Regular earthworms include:
- Alabama Jumpers
- Canadian Nightcrawlers
The two types of worms are very similar except the Canadian Nightcrawlers are better suited for the north while the Alabama Jumpers are better suited for the south.
Worms can be stored in the fridge for later use for fishing. The bedding should be changed out upon receipt of the worms and then again every couple of weeks. Remove old bedding and replace with fresh, damp peat moss.
Release Instructions: If releasing the worms to benefit your lawn or garden, we recommend releasing the worms at night after a rain or a good watering. This allows the worms to get into the ground quickly and avoid predators on their way in. You will want to spread the worms out such that there are at least a few worms per square foot. Alternatively you can release them in small groups throughout your lawn/garden and let them spread out on their own.