Red wiggler worms

eisenia fetida

red wiggler worms for compost binsThe worms you want if you’re composting are Red Wigglers (Eisenia fetida). You do not want night crawlers, the ones on the sidewalk after it rains. Red wigglers are used as bait by fisherman.

Nicknames include redworm, brandling worm, panfish worm, trout worm, tiger worm, red californian earth worm, etc. Hey, it’s a red wiggler. And I don’t mean the fishing lure. Originally red wiggles were indigenous to Europe.

Red wigglers feed on the surface. They don’t burrow deep like nightcrawlers. Red wigglers also love to eat kitchen scraps. No meat, dairy or citrus but a red wiggler will eat its half their weight in organic matter every day.

Our compost eating pals are hermaphroditic. They do it by bumping clitellums, the large orange band visible only during reproduction. Both worms exchange sperm and create cocoons containing several eggs. Yep, worm sex. Hey, I couldn’t make this stuff up. Your worm population will double every 3 months.

Not only are red wigglers the best worm for composting they also excrete what are called castings. Worm castings are a great addition to your garden or flower beds. You can also make compost tea.

Are you interested in growing red wigglers? The easiest way is to toss a handful in your outdoor compost pile. They’ll make themselves right at home, up near the top of the pile.

If you’re going to grow them inside, figure 1 sq. ft. of growing space for every 1000 worms, which is approximately 1 lb of worms. Your container needs small holes for aeration at least at the top. Fill the container with moist but not wet peat moss, shredded newspaper, and/or cardboard. Toss in a little dirt for grit. Shredded fruits and vegetables, egg shells, etc. go on top. Only feed the worms as much as they eat. Toss everything every couple of weeks. Avoid letting the contents get overly wet. Moist, but not wet. Cool moderate temperature; don’t let it overheat in the sun.

Learn more by reading this, read more, and then read some more. Experiment, take notes, dare to struggle, dare to win.

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