Now that kathys worm farm has shut down. Is there any local source of the red wiggler worms? Or is there any place that sells vermicompost ?
You can get worms at most sporting goods stores. They sell them as bait.
Since the worm farm went down, my source for worm castings is now Sea Of Green on Bell just east of the freeway. They also have a store in Mesa...
Will worms survive the summer in Mesa, AZ in my black compost bin from the City?
Sea of Green West
2340 W. Bell Rd.
Phoenix, Arizona, 85023
I would prefer live worms to just worm castings. Why are red wrigglers preferred for gardens as opposed to whatever the sports shops sell as bait. Isn't a worm a worm?
I've been told to only buy red wrigglers for the garden. Summer Winds has them for $20 per container. That seemed pricey to me for a bunch of worms. What do you all think?
I paid 29.99 for a pound shipped. How many are in a container? Mine have been doing great since last fall. Just moved them to a bigger container with fresh bedding for the summer and harvested about 50lbs of compost.
Wow. That's impressive. Are they/will they be housed indoors?
Too weird, yesterday I was thinking about heading to a bait shop and picking up some worms for my compost bin. :)
will worms help the compost bin work a little faster?
My worms are in a 22 gallon rubbermaid container. I started with two smaller containers last fall in November. Just two weeks ago I harvested about 50lbs of compost between the two containers and gave them a new home. I placed them in the new container with plenty of clean, shredded newspaper, pine needles (boy, they do a good job on pine needles!) and just a small amount of rotted food. Kept some of the compost so as not to shock them. Covered with more pine needles. I used very large (1/2 inch) holes all across the bottom, lower and upper sides of the container for good air flow.
They are very active now, much happier than in the smaller containers. I bet I have 10X the worms I had in November. From what I heard, if you keep them in an 18gallon or greater container, don't feed too much during the heat of the summer, and of course keep in the shade, they will thrive here in AZ.
My plan for the fall is to split this container in at least two more containers so that I can double my compost making, perhaps more. I guess their reproductive rate will stop if they are crowded.
Please don't use bait shop worms. They won't do a good job eating your compost. You really need the red wrigglers. Put the bait shop worms in your garden. They are earthworms and you need compost worms.
They make my compost so much faster than my compost bins. BTW, I have the crappy city bins from Mesa and they are worthless. I'm buying a chipper/shredder soon and I'm going to just remove everything from my bins and shred it into a new lasagne plot. I figure I'll just start doing one lasagne plot after another until I get my yard done, then build a proper compost bin. The bins from the city are unsightly and too small to get the compost heated up, plus they are impossible to turn.
Check out the vermicompost forum. I learned what I needed to know off there before purchasing my worms. The thing that was the most important was to underfeed. Otherwise, you will get nasties in your bin and it will overheat/get too wet. Plus, always cover the food with a thick layer of browns. (paper, cardboard or leaves/pine needles). It took me awhile to get the balance I needed so that I got rid of all the creepy crawlers and had happy worms but at least I never had any kind of worm death or runaway worms so I must have done something right.
Well, I have shade under a carob tree but the ground is paved with red bricks. Dunno if the heat from the bricks would be a problem. I like this whole idea but need more time for garden stuff. [sigh]
I thought of getting it from a local source but his content is not too promising plus expensive(10/bucket) but either ways have managed to start a air flow worm bin so far the bin is doing good. I am adding bokashi fermented kitchen waste to the bin and the worms ar feeding good on it without the added head. Would look for a cheaper source of worms top add perhaps 2 pounds of red wigglers. Another use of the bin is to plant seeds boy do they sprout in days. The waether is quite dry in AZ you have to add a cup of water every three days
Be careful if ordering worms during hot weather that they don't arrive cooked. I waited until it cooled off so that they would be able to be shipped safely.
I almost never add water. The food adds a lot of water as it decomposes. Worms get very unhappy if too wet and it attracts all sorts of other nasty bugs. I used to add more water and my worm bin was a mess until I stopped.
Whether or not you keep a lid over the bin makes a difference in how much moisture is evaporated, and how much is needed to add. The time of year and temp and humidity obviously will make a difference.
I found my worms really, I mean really, liked cantalope during the melon season. I'd find stores that had trimmed the rinds rinds etc off and would give that to the worms and in a day or two there would be nothing but the fiberous outside, and my worms would be gathered there.
Coffee grounds are something they enjoy, and are also good for the soil without the worms, but with that worm kick...
They also seem to like to hang out in egg shells.
Give them a bit of grit so they can grind the food up, as that's what they use to help digest the food.
If you have outside bins in phoenix you will probably need to mist them occasionally. I did. Not soak, just a misting. As mentioned above, with a lid partially covering they moisture may condense on the container and last longer.
There was a guy out in cave creek that sold the red wrigglers. Not sure if he's still there.
He would go to some of the farmers markets in northeast phoenix.
From what I've read the material said the microbes like the castings themselves as 'housing'. Says the casting are porous and the microbes 'move in' and take up residence there and start breaking down the soil as useful products for the plants to use.
Red Wrigglers like to hang out at compost areas, where as the night crawlers alot of bait shops sell are more deep soil worms. They don't so much stay around in the shallows and process compost material like red wrigglers. They probably won't stay where you put them as they'll be going deep and moving around.
Nightcrawlers are better for aerating your soil then red wrigglers though, so they both have their place in the garden and compost pile.
The red wrigglers will stay to the outside of the compost, or more like where the compost isn't as hot while it's 'digesting'. You will want to compost hot fertilizers a bit before putting them with the worms, as the environment may get a bit hot, especially in the phoenix area, as the material breaks down, then the stuff that's on the edges of the pile, or under that is already 'cooled off' will be where the worms will frequent.
Red wrigglers will mostly stay where the composting material is though. That's what they thrive on.
I saw an article, can't verify this yet though, but someone had a cardboard box that had been soaked with soy oil that sat on the ground for a couple weeks, and said when they lifted it there were a colony of worms under it. As though the soy oil was what they were after. May be wrong, but I intend to experiment with this.
The soy, being a legume, with add nitrogen fixing nodules to the ground, and the beans will give oil if 'processed', as well as the meal feed critters, so it's gotta be a win win situation.
Last summer, I had a big hatch of soldier fly larva. Shortly after, all of my worms literally disappeared. I don't know if the fly larva ate the worms or if the worms ran away. Either way, I haven't gotten started back into worm farming again.
Curious to know if anyone has made it all the way through the summer with an outdoor worm bin?
I think I do have some red wrigglers in a part of the garden where I used a lot of vermicompost. I may dig some up and start again this fall when it cools off. They sure make awesome compost!
Hi Tracydr and all,
I am guessing from what you said that your worms are outside in the shade? I read the web page mentioned on the vermicomposting forum. it is really good.
I am wondering if digging the hole 2x2x3, like someone on that forum did, would keep them cooler in the summer. Has anyone done that?
There's a guy in Mesa that sells worms and castings. You get a 5 gal. bucket size bag which contains the castings, redwrigglers and pods. I got some and have them outside in the shade and they've done great. Contact him here email@example.com See his slideshow on raising them here http://www.gardenersofeastvalley.org
Petco or Petsmart has them.
I was at Whole Foods Market, and they had them, but pricey like all things at Whole Foods. Cabelas or that other mega fishing store has them fairly cheap. And Petco and Petsmart. I just bought a composting bin today, will be buying some worms soon.