Composting With Worms?

lnewportMay 5, 2010

In the Vegetable forum I posted a question about "Lazy Composting"

In addition to my lazy composting I want to dump some worms into my raised garden boxes. I don't believe I'll need to till them in the future and I think the worms will help break down the food I throw in and help keep the soil loose.

Can I use worms found in bait and tackle shops to handle this job?

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There are too many factors involved to answer that question.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 12:48PM
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If you use compost in your beds, the native worms should find there way to them on their own. The only way worms will survive it you put them there yourself is if you have LOTS of compost in there.
Most topics in this forum are related to composting with RED WIGGLER worms and they are not suited for dumping in a raised bed.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 12:13AM
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I am all in with "lazy composting" with worms! I am in my first year of experimenting with worms, and worms in compost in particular. I have a new garden bed, yet to be planted, which was built up 16" high last fall with manure, UCG, kelp, pumpkin and straw. I covered in 2 layers of burlap, and now have a good herd of native wigglers and others chomping away (6" tall now!). I will plant next week. I have 3 other compost worm bins going, besides my "mother bin".
Good luck, and worms are eazy in the ground. Keep them covered with 6-8" of straw or ???? and damp. Feed to keep them around.


    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 1:13AM
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@ sbryce: Well two points to you then ... Oh.. right.. this isn't Yahoo Answers. ;)

@ bigtexworms: Great information BigTexWorms: I saw that RED WIGGLER was used in worm composting but wasn't sure if that's the only worms which could work or not. I have a pretty good amount of compost but if native worms makes their way into my beds the more the better!

@Pete: Sweet! If they are native I'm cool with that. I might try with one box and use it as the main compost box and see how it goes. I keep the boxes covered with straw right now to conserve water so hopefully that works for worms too.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 3:15PM
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Thanks for the points. I'm not sure what I am going to do with them, but they are nice to have nonetheless.

Here is the deal: We don't know what type of worms are sold at your local bait shop. Some worms sold at bait shops work well for composting, and some don't.

We don't know anything about your raised garden boxes, so there is no way to know if they are an environment in which worms will thrive.

We don't know anything about the area you live in. While native worms MAY find their way into your garden (and if you can attract them by composting heavily, you will do very well), in my area--the desert SW of the USA--few worms will find their way into a compost pile or well-composted garden. The soil here is thick clay, and is usually dry, so there are few worms, and they don't like to travel.

So while the advice you are getting here is good in general, it may not work as well in your specific situation.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 6:08PM
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@sbryce: You are very welcome. I figure for a Yahoo answer style answer you definitely deserve them!

However unlike Yahoo answers, here people are able to carry on a dialogue and if you had needed more information I'm sure I would be happy enough to give it.

I'm pretty sure that in many cases here on the board your problem with not knowing anything about a person's area or other specific information isn't too uncommon and if you find that a hindrance and not willing to ask a few questions to obtain the information needed to help someone maybe do the OP a favor and not respond?

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 7:35PM
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1newport- This really is not a dialogue, as such(I don't care if you answer), but if your don't know how or what to ask, why would you expect us to throw questions at you and then attempt to educate your dumb ass?

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 9:57PM
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Inewport - How about add "just plain lazy" to "lazy composter"?

There are many posts on this and probably most other worm forums about what you seek, how about have a look, even do a search (gasp!) and help yourself a bit instead of expecting everyone else to be mind readers and to do it all for you.

And your wit wasn't even half successful.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 10:51PM
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My native wigglers came with the very aged horse manure I dug down the road. I have seen nightcrawlers and earthworms hanging out in the lower parts of the compost when I last turned 2 months ago.. I have also added several thousand wigglers in the past 2 months from the main bin. I live in a cool coastal climate, and plan to soak it every few weeks. I think the worms will dive if it gets too hot or dry. You may have to add some worms to have a noticeable effect, unless you have a lot of patience.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 11:13PM
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@Pete: Thanks Pete, I've seen some earthworms in my garden last night when I was watering. Hopefully they stick around.

@ steamyb and randomz: Oh boo hoo to the both of you. I'm sure the two of you are eager for a good internet fight but I guess I'll be "lazy" and "witless" and just point out I wasn't talking to either of you :)

Oh and since composting with worms isn't really up my alley and I was just looking for some very basic stuff so *shrug* it doesn't hurt me that two of you are all up in arms by the fact. :) LOL Enjoy!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 11:43AM
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I would like to say I do truly appreciate the information Pete and bigtexworms. Thank You both. :)

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 12:19PM
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OP -- If you have 'lurked' in these forums long enough, you will observe that some people provide more information about their zone, climate, soil, etc right up front, instead of imposing on the good will of those on this forum, who generally are very willing to help. So, please don't take umbrage at some of the short answers. If you want a 'dialogue' you need to offer more up front than that you are lazy and wonder if you might 'dump' some bait worms into your garden to help the composting along. And as to your disrespectful *shrug*. I guess that means that your time is more valuable than is that of those from whom you are seeking advice. You can't spare the time to tell potential helpers ANYTHING about your situation. These willing helpers must drag the information out of you bit by bit? Sorry to sound cranky, but your smirky *shrug* hit my For starters, Soil type, size of planter/bed, amount and type OM provided to soil, climate/zone.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 2:57PM
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hm. i don't think it was so much a disrespectful 'shrug' as much as a response to some name calling (.e.g. "dumb ass"). granted, lnewport initiated it with an failed attempt at humor (yahoo answer points), and a silly response to straightforward postings by sbryce.

but the other responses seem unwarranted, particularly when other posters in the past have asked similar Qs without being jumped on.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 4:43PM
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In my garden all I have to do is add compost or composed manure and the worms come to the area.

Last summer I had a hard dirt area and I added compost and manure (purchased), and used coffee grounds to the garden bed on top of the mulch. Then a new layer of mulch to hold in water.

This year when planting I noticed worms in this bed too! I have lots of worms and they way I got them in the garden was to add organic matter to my beds. Kind of if you build it they will come.

I never bought a worm but my beds have tons of them now!

One winter I even composted right in a bed then when spring came I spread the compost out and lots of baby worms were in the bottom. Still that bed is moist and full of worms.

I hope my indoor compost worm bin does as well as my worms in my flower beds!!


    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 12:51PM
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""in the past have asked similar Qs without being jumped on.""
Maybe it's just the last drop in the bucket or the one hair that broke the camel's back or something like that?

karendee: when you have lots of worms in your compost and manure heap in your flower beds, I am pretty sure they are composting worms. You could get your worms for the indoor bin from your beds. If you are concern about bringing eggs of unwanted critters indoors (though you will get mites, potworms and what not, no matter what), you could rinse them with bottled water or just tap water that was sitting overnight in a bucket (to get rid of chlorine).

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 3:35PM
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I decided to buy composting worms since I was not sure what kind are in the garden. Mine should arrive in a couple days. My indoor bin is ready to go

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 5:13PM
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I have had my worms now for about 8 months and am starting to see a small dusting of dirt or sand like particals on the shredded paper in their bin.(garbage can) Would this possably be castings? I've just added food scraps and some shredded paper about every two months. The worms seem very healthy and growing in size and numbers. No book has really explained the on going process very well.
I have "Worms eat my garbage" book.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 8:04PM
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""I've just added food scraps and some shredded paper about every two months.""
So, how big is your bin and how many worms (what species) do you have in there that you can get away with feeding them just every two months???

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 9:18PM
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It's a 20 gal. Garbage can with close to 1000 red wigglers. I'm getting away with feeding them food scraps every 1-2 months because they feed on the paper as well as food. I'm only doing what those who have been doing this for years have suggested. The number of worms have continued to grow and the health mimicks that of vary active worms. Baby worms continue to show up.
all in all I think things are going good for the weather condition they're living in. 30 to 33 degrees. I keep them in the shed out back.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 11:28PM
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Captaindirt, could the particles be mites? I had small sandy colored mites show up and at first glance they definitely look like a fine powdery sand. It was only upon really close inspection that I realized they were all moving very, very slowly. Mites are a healthy part of the bin, but can be an indicator of too much moisture.

My other thought was that it might be some sort of powdery mold or mildew? I once put in some cooked garbanzo beans that the worms refused to eat (I reckoned later it was because they had too much salt in them). Eventually they just molded and the bedding surrounding them got covered in a grey powdery mold - it looked like someone had sprinkled the ash from the bottom of the barbeque into the bin.

Maybe a picture would help us identify it.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 11:45PM
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This is my 2nd compost bin & the 1st time I'm composting with Red Wiggler worms. My bin is a 32 gal. garbage plastic garbage can with holes drilled all around the bin from top to bottom.

I lined the bottom of the bin with soaking wet cardboard a few hand fulls of organic dirt, added my greens & browns & then dumped in a pound of worms of varying sizes babies to adults, I think I was supposed to add the worms before the material to be composted but by then it was impossible to pick out several hundred worms, trust me I tried LOL.

Will the worms survive even though I added them last?

The bin is about 1/3 of the way full, is that too many scraps for a lb. of worms, will they be ok or do I need more worms? I've stopped adding compost materials until I know if my bin is ok.

I noticed worms crawling up the sides of the bin & on the lid I also found some who escaped, I'm assuming the jail break was through the holes, is that normal or is there a problem with the compost & a reason the worms are trying to escape?

It has no odor so I'm assuming my brown/green ratio is correct. I did notice it is warmer inside the middle of the bin. I live in Central Florida where it's really heating up, I keep the bin in a screened porch out of direct sun. I turn my bin daily by turning it on it's side, rolling it around a few times & then stand it upright.

I am container gardening organically. Should my compost material be all organically grown materials? I'm very fortunate to have access to organically grown material for my compost bin!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 7:31AM
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There is nothing wrong with putting red wigglers in your raised beds that contain lots of compost. Google or search for worm towers.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 11:48PM
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This is my first year composting with worms. I started my worm bin 3 months ago with 1 lb of red worms in an 18 gallon plastic tub, layered the bottom with wet shredded newspaper, a few handfuls of dirt and "browns". I added my worms and started feeding in a circular motion around the bin. It eventually turned into black moist muck. I read that worms own castings can be lethal so I started a second bin and sat it right in the first bin on right on top of the black muck so the worms could crawl into the top bin looking for food. My worm population has more than doubled, I see many tiny newborns and scores of worm casings yet to hatch. I live in Central Florida where the weather has really heated up this week in the low 90's, I noticed today I can only find a handful of worms in the top bin, it appears they've gone back down to the original bin. Is that due to the heat? Is it normal? I really don't understand why the worms would return to the muck in the bottom bin, can anyone please educate me? I say much because it doesn't look like dirt yet, I was under the impression when the worms are done the castings should look like dirt and smell like earth, is that correct?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 7:15PM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

Wow. People in this forum are rude as hell. The OP asked a question and the majority of people carried on a dialogue with respect. Not every one has the foresight to post all the EXACT info needed to get a response. To the ones that helped the OP with the info he gave and kindly educated him on his topic and let him know what info to give next time, good job and this comment does not go out to you guys. Now for the 3-4 rude ignorant people who jumped on this guy for NOTHING dont even deserve to be on this site if they dont have the patience for new people or for others who do not post all the info needed. Get a life kids.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 12:11AM
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It is debateable which poster is the rude one. Might be the lazy poster is the rude one. Given the choice between rude posters vs lazy original posters I choose rude replyers. Lazy Posters who expect repliers to take the time to sweet talk an actual answerable question out of them start to add up after a while and take their toll. The first 10 might not do it but the 11th OP (original poster?) who wants to know the answer to a question that is easily answerable with a 5 minute read of a dozen random threads sometimes makes for easily compostable composters. Individually a post that is newby, lazy, ignorent, stupid is fine. But when a poster manages to get all those things into a single first time post even Miss Manners averts her eyes.

It is funny you should post this in a two year old post. The quality of first time posts and posts in general greatly improved after the "rude" reply.

Ironhorselady, When a bin goes bad the story almost always starts "layered the bottom with wet shredded newspaper, a few handfuls of dirt". Not that a bin can not be started that way, just that many that are crawl slowly towards the same sad fate. "black moist muck" is a direct reslult of no additional bedding added. Every time food is added bedding should be added or a huge amount of bedding should be added regulary. This should help with the "black muck".

blazeaglory, I hope my post passes our new Rudness Police. Must be some new TSA thing.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 7:10PM
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