Now, let’s talk a bit about those critters you’re going to be taking care. Consider this the meet and greet section of the website! And remember to read our worm composting journal for more tips and things we’ve discovered over the course of our adventures in worm composting.
First off, the worms you see digging around your garden are not the worms you’re going to use in a worm bin. Composting worms are red wigglers. The important thing about these worms is that they reproduce very quickly, and can eat quickly as well. They are smaller than garden worms, which include night crawlers.
According to New Mexico State University, there are actually two kinds of worms most often used in vermiculture. These worms are Brandling worms (Eisenia foetida) and Red Wigglers (Lumbricus rubellus).
The common earthworm includes Allolobophora caliginosa and other species. Earthworms generally like nutrient rich soil as their habitat, whereas red wigglers do better in a compost pile-like setting with lots of bacteria from decomposing food scraps or manure to munch on.
Worms are hugely important in our ecosystems. They can help to decompose literally tons of organic material each year. So when you think or “reduce, reuse, and recycle” don’t forget to feed the worms!
Red worms are top feeders. When you open your bin, you’ll see them digging on the surface of the soil, working away on the bacteria that grows on the kitchen scraps. They also hate light, so if you leave the bin open, they’ll quickly disappear under the bedding.
Composting worms, like earth worms, don’t have a particular sex. That means each worm produces an egg, approximately one egg per worm per week. These worm sacks can contain up to 15 or 20 baby worms. That means that there’s a lot of reproduction going on in your worm bin!
Depending on the size of your bin, you may want to start your bin with just 1000 worms. 2000 works for larger bins or if you don’t want to wait for your worms to reproduce. From what I’ve read, if you buy your worms by the pound, you can expect to find about 1000 worms in a pound of worms if you purchase them by the pound.
If you’re imagining your worm composting experience turning into a horror movie like that movie “Slither,” not to worry. The population of the worms is held stable through the size of the container and the amount of food you give them.
Click on the video below for a look at our worm bin.