red wigglers in the garden?

stitchintime23(6)May 14, 2009

HI all, I have been reaping the rewards of vermicomposting with a large bin of castings ready to place in my veggie bed. I am pretty sure that the castings have no adults but might have a few babies.

A "friend of a friend" said don't put any red wigglers in your reaised bed vegetable garden, these wormies will eat your plant's roots! I can see not dumping the entire vermicomposter in the bed, that would be silly. Plus red wigglers wouldn't survive in this climate past the fall.

Vermicompost is meant for the garden. A few stragglers won't do anything, right? Is this friend full of it?


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My red wigglers in my tomato AKA worm pit do nothing but help my giant tomatoes. Worms eat decomposing organic materiel. The only worm type creature that eats live roots are grub worms.

I do believe that friend was misinformed.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2009 at 8:26PM
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Thanks, it seemed silly, but this "friend of a friend" has been vermicomposting far longer than I.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 6:50AM
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I've been vermicomposting for a couple of years and never heard such nonsense. Well, I have now.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 8:23AM
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All I can say is that I have gotten a lot of bad advice about wormies from well meaning people. I try and educate myself and thank people for their advice.

Thanks to you all for having this informative resource.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 2:02PM
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They thrive pretty easily in raised beds but not actual soil. Those belong to worms like lumbricuses

    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 3:09PM
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Hi All; First lets dispell the myth that earthworms eat live matter of plant or animal. Earthworms do not have teeth. They have no biting or chewing apperatus. They suck in tiny loose moist food particals that have micro organisums with them. It is in the process of decaying it is therefore dead. The dead material goes through a pouch like structure called a crop like a foul has. It is mixed with a calciferous enzyme for digestion. It then is passed to a grinding pouch called a gizzard(some worms have more than one) where it is ground with tiny grit of what ever the worm can find and swallow. It then goes through the rest of the alimentary canal. The microbes are the main source of neutrition and the decaying particals provide the mineral trace elements mostly. Deep burrowing worms get the trace elements directly from the dirt they injest. Earthworms that burrow must eat their way through the soil. Compost worms do the same in order to survive in nature only when they find decaying material they move into the food source until it is gone. While living in the soft food source they have a tendancy to increase in size. When the times that soft food are no longer available they either die or shrink in size to fit into the compacted soil spaces. As the food dries the worm starts to eat its way into the siol where it continues to loose biomass and becomes much smaller.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2009 at 8:08AM
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I put some worm compost complete with worms into some soil a few weeks ago because I just didn't want to be bothered taking them out. When I dig in to the dirt now I always see a worm or two scuttling out of the light.

The compost wasn't that processed so I think as long as there is something for them to eat they are fine, but they won't last long.

If you had a thick layer of degrading mulch they might actually do fine until they freeze. But yeah, they don't eat live roots.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2009 at 10:37PM
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thank you again for all the great replies.

I am holding onto the paragraph by lkittle - extremely informative and succinct. I need to memorize it along with my current mini-rant about non-native invasive plants. :^)

    Bookmark   May 17, 2009 at 7:56AM
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I would think they eat the benifitial micorizae hair-like fungus which feeds roots if there is no other food provided like yummy mulch in various stages of decomposition, or like coffee grounds or tea waste mixed with shredded paper, Ofcourse there could actually be a symbiotic relationship between the mycroriza and worms.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 2:10AM
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