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RED WIGGLERS

RED WIGGLERS

We sell our Giant Red Wigglers in Insulated Tubs 

(24 worm count per tub) for $6.40 per tub

NOTE: We no longer sell red wigglers by weight as the average size was under 1" in length and the shipping costs were more expensive due to the soil weighing a lot more than the actual worms.

24 RED WIGGLERS FOR $6.40
(Insulated Box)
26.6 cents per worm
(box size: 4 3/8" w x 2 1/8" h)

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Friday April 20, 2018

'NEW' RED WIGGLERS (in Plastic Tubs)

We NOW sell our Red Wigglers in Plastic Tubs too! 

(24 worm count per tub) for $5.95 per tub

24 RED WIGGLERS FOR $5.95
(In Plastic Tub)
24.8 cents per worm
(tub size: 4 3/4" w x 1 3/4" h)

 ORDER HERE 

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Red Wigglers are considered to be the KING of Composting.

Composting Worms

What is the difference between Composting and Vermicomposting? 

Plant and animal material decompose into garden soil through a process called composting.  Nitrogen- and carbon-rich by-products, such as plant stalks, vegetable peelings, egg shells, leaves and yard waste, tea bags and coffee grinds combine to create an environment suitable for micro-organisms to break them down into humus, the rich brown soil plants need for optimal growth. 

Red wigglers, or Eisenia foetida, are the best compost worms. Unlike your everyday night crawlers, they live well in close, highly populated conditions and don't burrow. In nature, you would almost never find a red wiggler worm heading deep underground.  

If you decide to start a compost bin, you can get these red wigglers from any of a number of places.  Like night crawlers, they make a tasty meal for fish, and bait shops often carry them.  These usually come packaged in small containers and at a relatively high price.  It's better to get your worms online from a reputable worm farm.   You can also get your worms from a neighbor who composts.  You'll find when you begin vermicomposting that your worm population will double every 90 days or so.  That's how you know that your worms are healthy and happy.  Just be sure you weigh your worms before you put them in the bin.

Vermicomposting, one method of creating compost, uses red worms (Eisenia foetida) or Red Wigglers (Lumbricus rubellus) to create compost.  Dampened carbon and nitrogen materials, such as newspaper strips and shredded cardbord and grass clippings, are layered in the compost bin before adding the worms.

One of the common misconceptions amongst composting beginners is that any earthworm can be used for worm composting, or kept in an indoor bin in general.  They think that they can keep a population of soil dwelling worms in a bucket under the kitchen sink and expect them to eat the kitchen scraps.  NOT SO !!!

Most of your yard worms are of the “anecic” type – that is to say they are soil dwelling worms that create burrows and tend to lead a somewhat solitary existence (they need their space). The worms ideally suited for composting on the other hand are referred to as “epigeic”.  This group tends to live in rich organic material (not soil), and are adapted to crowding and warmer temperatures.  So its not difficult to see why epigeic worms would do much better in an indoor composting bin than their soil dwelling cousins.

By far, the most common variety of composting worm is Eisenia fetida / andrei – also known as the red worm (aka red wiggler, manure worm, brandling worm, tiger worm).  If you are looking to start up your own worm composting bin this is probably a good one to start with.  Another great composting species is the European Nightcrawler.  They are considerably larger than Red Worms – so they’re an excellent choice for those interested in raising their own bait worms – and produce beautiful granular worm castings.  

The Worm Lady now offers you Large Red Wigglers – an excellent choice for those who want the best of both worlds.  Our Red Wigglers are much larger than the normal red wigglers you can find sold in bulk by the pound and are also used successfully for Trout Fishing.

When it comes to adding worms to a new system, I like to err on the side of caution.  I prefer to build my population up to the ideal level, rather than using standard guidelines.  This is one of the reasons our Red Wigglers are so great for starting up a new system. Rather than dumping in a pound or more of worms, only to then have the population thin itself out (not to mention the mortalities involved with packing a shipping those densities of worms), with our Red Wigglers you are adding a mix of adults and juveniles/cocoons, along with a fair amount of rich food/habitat material the worms love – thus helping them to quickly acclimate to their new environment (and helping to inoculate the new bin with lots of other beneficial organisms).  Stocking a medium-sized worm bin with 24-36 of our Red Wigglers should work well.

One important thing to remember is that worms need total darkness since light can harm them and even kill them so you need a proper system to successfully achieve vermicomposting of your food waste.

Buy Red Wigglers Here

Moving my small kitchen waste bin to my outdoor vermicomposting bin

Aeration

Most composting systems require someone to turn the compost each week with a shovel or pitchfork to aerate the middle of the compost pile.  Without aeration, the inner part of the pile would heat up above 160 degrees Fahrenheit and would kill the micro-organisms necessary for composting.  In a vermicomposting system, worms tunnel in the soil, creating pathways for air to travel so turning the pile is not necessary.  Commercially available vermicompost bins contain screen-covered holes to allow oxygen into the bin.

Waste Materials ( Worm Food )

Ideal Worm Bin Fodder

Usually people set up their own worm bin at home so they can compost their food scraps and other leftovers.  Unfortunately not all kitchen waste materials are created equal from a worm’s standpoint (or a human health standpoint for that matter), so here is a little advice about what should and should not be added to an indoor worm bin.

YES

  • Vegetable & fruit waste (citrus fruit should be added in moderation when using smaller bins)
  • Starchy materials – bread, pasta, rice, potatoes – all in moderation (beginners may want to avoid these altogether initially)
  • Shredded newspaper, used paper towels (common sense applies here), cardboard (great idea to add these carbon rich materials at the same time you add any wet food waste)
  • Egg shells (best if ground up and in moderation)
  • Coffee grounds
  • Tea bags

NO - NEVER

  • Human/pet waste
  • Non biodegradable materials
  • Dairy/meat
  • Oils/grease
  • Harsh chemicals

These are simple basic guidelines and of course there are exceptions under certain circumstances. 

Something I alluded to in the previous section was the fact that letting your waste material sit for a period of time is better than adding it right away.  Often people assume that the worms feed directly on the waste materials themselves.  In a sense they do, but more specifically they are slurping up the microbial soup that forms on rotting materials.  If you throw in a bunch of fresh carrot peelings the worms won’t be able to start processing the material until sufficient microbial colonization has taken place.

As I mentioned above, a fantastic way to ensure that your new bin takes off successfully is to mix a decent quantity of waste material in with your fresh bedding, then simply letting the bin sit for a week or so before adding the worms.  I know this can be a challenge for those people anxious to get started, but it will go a long way in terms of ensuring your success.

I placed my vermicomposting bin outdoors (just beside my vegetable garden)

Should you choose not to wait (obviously if you get your worms at the same time you get your bin it doesn’t make sense to wait) I would highly recommend that you at least try to add some partially rotting materials so that the worms have something to feed on.

I like to keep food waste in a good sized bin that sits under my sink.  Aside from the convenience of not needing to take it out each day to my bin outside, multiple times per week, this also allows time for microbial colonization of the materials at room temperatures – and don’t worry, you won’t have a stinky mess in your container if you do it properly (I’ll definitely write more about that in another article).

Bedding

Cardboard & Paper Bedding Options

Composting worms not only need food, but also need some sort of habitat to live in – bedding materials provide both. The ideal worm living conditions can be created initially by adding lots of bedding material with a decent amount of waste material (and likely some water to ensure adequate moisture conditions).

People often refer to the ideal composting moisture content as being similar to that of a wrung-out sponge.  Higher moisture levels do tend to work better for worm composting, but this is definitely a good guideline to start with (especially when using a water-tight bin).

I really like using newspaper to line the inside of my watertight bin which helps to hold excees moisture under control.  Some great materials for bedding include shredded cardboard (my favorite), shredded newspaper, aged straw, coconut coir and fall leaves.  Worms seem to absolutely love rotting leaves, so definitely don’t be so quick to kick those bags to the curb in the fall.  The downside of using leaves (aside from seasonality) is the fact that they don’t really absorb much water – this is why my ideal bedding will consist of a mix of leaves and brown cardboard (another material worms seem to have a real affinity for).

Bedding materials will typically need to be moistened before any worms are added. I n fact, a practice I highly recommend when starting a new bin is mixing bedding with a decent amount of moist food waste, then simply letting the mixture sit in a closed bin for a week or so before adding worms.  This way you are creating a very friendly environment for your worms to live in.  Aside from activating the important microbial community, this also allows for moisture to makes its way throughout the bin materials.

Container

Rubbermaid Roughneck

There are a wide variety of options when it comes to choosing the type of worm bin you want to set up.  If you are the handy type you may want to build your own creation, OR if you don’t mind spending the money perhaps you will opt for purchasing a complete worm bin system (which may come with bin, bedding and worms).

For anyone interested in simply trying out vermicomposting (or if you want to save some money), I would recommend heading to your local hardware store and grabbing yourself a standard Rubbermaid tub (with lid) or something similar.

Some things to keep in mind when you choose your vessel – 1) Light penetration, 2) Surface area vs depth.  An ideal bin will be opaque (ie not allowing in light) and will be relatively shallow.

Red worms (and earth worms in general) are very sensitive to direct light – it can lead to considerable stress and even death if they are unable to escape from it.

As far as depth goes, you don’t need to worry too much about exact dimensions but you definitely do want to put more emphasis on the surface area – this allows for greater oxygenation of the bin and also allows the worms to spread out more.
In other words, a Rubbermaid tub will be much better than a bucket.

Something I would recommend is either setting up multiple small bins OR one decent sized bin.  The larger the system the more buffering capacity it will have.  For example, I have a very large outdoor bin.  All worm composting experience aside, the sheer size of this system makes it very worry free.  Even if there are unfavorable conditions in one section of the bin, the worms can easily move into many other favorable zones.
Similarly, I tend to keep 1 or 2 small indoor bins at one time, plus an “overflow” bucket (for excess food waste), thus making it much easier to ensure that balanced conditions prevail.

All that being said, there is nothing wrong with a single worm bin in the size range of a typical ‘blue box’ recycling container.  This size of bin should be large enough to provide both buffering capacity and waste-processing potential for a typical household (especially if you use an overflow bucket and/or an outdoor composting heap as well).

Another important thing to mention is aeration.  If you are using a typical Rubbermaid type of bin its not a bad idea to drill some holes in the lid and along the sides prior to adding your bedding/worms etc.  This allows for more air flow in and out of the bin.  If you have your bin sitting on some sort of tray you may even desire to drill a few holes in the bottom of the bin – a great way to ensure bin contents don’t get too waterlogged.

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Red Wigglers

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