Raising Red Worms

Raising Red Worms

Red worms are the best worms when it comes to composting. They have a large appetite, breed like crazy, and are hearty. They can turn your compost into rich fertilizer in no time. Red worms can drastically increase your soils calcium content, magnesium content , nitrates, potassium, and phosphorous. It is for these reasons that these slimy little composters are so sought after by gardeners.  Red worm farming has taken off over the last few years. After you buy your first batch of red worm you can easily start your own red worm empire. You don’t have to bathe or walk them; Just give them something to eat and after week or so and they will do the rest.(Click here to see worm composter)

For obvious reasons, red worms need a moist environment in order to thrive. The best ingredients for a worm factory are horse manure (or cow) and newspaper. However, you do not want to use any newspaper that has colored ink. Black ink is ok to use. You will also want to make sure that the manure that you are using hasn’t come from an animal that has recently been dewormed. You also do not want to use pet waste, such as dog poop.

Worms love compost, but you will want to be careful. A good compost pile that is really cooking can get up to 170 degrees. High temperatures maybe good for you compost pile, but it’s not good for your worms. I would recommend waiting for your compost to slow down before adding any worms. Red worms thrive at temperatures between 40 and 80 degrees.

Red worm eggs

Red Worm Eggs

If you are thinking about raising worms, you may have wondered how worms mate. One of the most interesting aspects of worms is that they are both male and female. As such, they can perform as either sex. However, it still takes two worms to tango. Now you may have noticed that worms will have a thick band around their body. This band is where they keep their eggs. I won’t bore you with how exactly they go about fertilizing said eggs. The important thing is that they can produce up to 20 egg sacks every time they mate. After a couple of months their offspring will be old enough to reproduce. If kept in the right environment, the population of your worms can double every three months. Please let me know of any investments that can give you that kind of return on your investment.

When it comes to feeding your worms, don’t use any meat or animal products, except for egg shells, worms love egg shells. This is because egg shells are rich in calcium and the worms can use them to breakup their food. With that said, the one thing your red worms will love more than anything is fruit, especially watermelon. Perhaps one of the most important things to remember is that red worms have small mouths. This means that whatever you feed them should be fine in texture so that they can get their little mouth around it. Fresh compost is great because it’s rich in nutrients, moist, and small enough for your worms to digest it. Last but not least, don’t forget coffee grounds. Worms will go crazy for coffee grounds.

This might seem obvious, but you will want to keep your worm factory covered. Covering your worm bin will decrease the amount of both light and evaporation. It will also help deter birds and other animals that may take an unwanted interest in you worm factory. It’s also important to note that worms hate sunlight with a fiery passion. As such, you will want to lightly cover the food will some soil and/or manure.

After several months of operating your worm factory, you may find it advantageous to separate out some of your worms. You want enough worms so that they can easily find each other and get acquainted. However, if you have too many worms in one bin they will sense that there is an overpopulation problem and will stop reproducing. Also, the more you have the more competition there will be for nutrients.

There are several methods for sorting out your worms. One method is to use a screen that will shift out the soil and keep the worms. A less labor intensive processes it so start adding food and nutrients to one side of their container. The worms will gravitate towered the nutrients. Doing this can make your job a whole lot easier.

When sorting out your worms, you will want to keep a careful eye out for your red worm eggs. Although these eggs are small, they are easily identifiable due to their light orange color. It’s also important to note that red worms tend to hang out near the top soil, whereas other worms such as night crawlers prefer to dig themselves deep into the ground.  Another important point  is that worms absolutely hate light. They can also easily dry out. In light of this, you may want to carry a spray bottle to fritz your worms with water. Just remember to use moderation.

Red worms are great for your garden. As previously stated, they will add a great deal of nutrients to you garden. Another noteworthy benefit is that they also produce tunnels. These tunnels will help aerate your soil as well as helping the soil retain moisture.

(Homesteading guide) 

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