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Earthworms ;o) and grubs :(

Posted by tomatofreak Z9 Phx USA (My Page) on
Thu, Jan 16, 14 at 15:45

I'm pulling out old plants from big tubs and there must be hundreds of earthworms in one, also lots in another. However, in the one replete with fat, happy worms are also big, fat, shiny grubs. I think I got them all but I can't be sure. I don't want to dump all the dirt and lose the worms. What would you do? And do you think the grubs will return?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Earthworms ;o) and grubs :(

I'd like to k now this, too. Where do those godforsaken things come from?


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RE: Earthworms ;o) and grubs :(

Exactly! How did they get in there? No one else has had this happen?


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RE: Earthworms ;o) and grubs :(

Congratulations on the worms, Tomatofreak! I have trouble coaxing worms to even visit my garden.

The grubs come from beetles that visit the soil - either during the day or at night - usually in the summer. If there is not enough organic material in the soil, or if they feel like chewing on plant roots they can cause damage to the plant.

I would definitely remove them from any plants. That being said, they do break table scraps down into lovely soil, like worms do - and they can tolerate much more hot dry conditions than many worms can. I have few pictures of the results of composting with grubs on my little blog at:(http://scientificgardener.blogspot.com/2013/01/composting-with-grubs.html)

Here is a link that might be useful: Composting with Grubs


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RE: Earthworms ;o) and grubs :(

Thanks for that link. I guess I should have thrown them in the compost instead of to the birds. I will continue to sift through the soil to see if I've missed any.

Honestly, I adore June bugs but I never would have guessed that they're responsible for grubs. Oddly, they never seem to have chewed on roots or damaged the plants in the tubs at all. What did they eat, I wonder?


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RE: Earthworms ;o) and grubs :(

Does anyone know of a local source for quality worms in Phoenix?


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RE: Earthworms ;o) and grubs :(

I can give you a couple of links:

First, The Worm Whisperer aka Seda

If she does not have enough wrigglers to sell to you, try
canyonlandworms@cox.net or phone 602-493-7067

Here is a link that might be useful: Vermi Love dot Com

This post was edited by marymcp on Sun, Jan 19, 14 at 10:47


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RE: Earthworms ;o) and grubs :(

Thank you Marymcp


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RE: Earthworms ;o) and grubs :(

YW.......happy wormin'.


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RE: Earthworms ;o) and grubs :(

--What did they eat, I wonder?--
There are a lot of different beetles called June Bugs but in general all grubs eat roots (I think Lettuce and Potatoes are really to the liking of June Bugs) and the beetles eat foliage. The beetles die rapidly and they and the grubs are usually few enough to ignore. Palo Verde beetles are pretty common here and their grubs are big like someone's little finger. None of these things seem to be stem cutters so I ignore them but don't know if that's ultimately foolish or not.


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RE: Earthworms ;o) and grubs :(

If you put grubs you find in your compost pile, how do you keep them from deciding they'd rather be back in your garden?


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RE: Earthworms ;o) and grubs :(

Two good questions and I don't know the answer to either! Matter of fact, the tub with the grubs had sweet potatoes in it. There wasn't much of a harvest, but none of the 'tatoes dug up were eaten or gnawed on.


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RE: Earthworms ;o) and grubs :(

you can also check out worman.com for some good prices on worms.


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RE: Earthworms ;o) and grubs :(

So I don't really get the worm thing. I have ONE worm in my garden. Swear! But I want more. Can't you buy worms and just add them to your garden plots? Mine are the skinny swaths that line the side of my urban, cookie cutter subdivision yard. I followed all the links and read up but it looks like everyone is composting worms. Like I said, I don't get it.


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RE: Earthworms ;o) and grubs :(

If your beds have organic matter in them, like good compost, the worms will come. If you continue to enrich your soil with organic matter - compost - the worms will come, and stay. Nothing for them to eat, they will bid you adieu and go find *my* garden bed, for example. ;-) I have millions of worms. But I've been turning in compost for three years now. I also have composting worms (vermi compost) who live, eat and poop in my back bedroom, and that too gets turned into the bed.

Bottom line? recycle your kitchen scraps. Here's an easy and interesting idea, worm towers. Here's a quick link but if you Google Worm Towers you'll get a variety of hits. Good luck with it!

Here is a link that might be useful: Worm Towers


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RE: Earthworms ;o) and grubs :(

Dear BasilGirl,

I have tried buying worms from the store and incorporating them into my garden with minimal success. I have been told that the longer you garden in a specific plot the better chance you have of getting worms. This was true for me, with my garden in my last house but I see very few worms at all in my garden that is several years old.

All I can say is worms don't like hot dry places. Whenever I see them I usually find them on the bottom of my 2 foot deep bed. The worms that I get seem to look a little different than those you see at the store. Perhaps a fellow gardener who lives near you can share a couple of their precious worms with you.


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RE: Earthworms ;o) and grubs :(

"Can't you buy worms and just add them to your garden plots?"

Yes, you can and it works just fine - as long as you keep your soil at the optimum moisture level for the plants. If you have a cactus garden, you're not likely to keep worms in the soil; if you have a veggie garden planted in soil rich in nutrients (think compost), they'll come to the buffet.

P.S. If you have ONE worm, you have many more. Worms are not solitary.


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RE: Earthworms ;o) and grubs :(

OMG, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of a worm tower. I bought a compost tumbler and I'm working on my first batch but it's been pretty slow going. I think it's because I just keep throwing kitchen scraps and leaves in there as I accumulate them. I have a little compost bucket under my kitchen sink where I collect scraps. Worm towers resonate with me.

The one worm I did find was actually in the bottom of a container when I moved the plant into the garden. I used to fill the bottoms of my containers with heaps of mesquite duff from cleaning up after my trees. :: duh :: I guess that was a mini compost bin because the duff was pretty well incorporated when I tipped over the container. I was digging pretty deep in one of my plots and found him (maybe its not the same worm) about a foot down.

The east side of my garage plot is 22' x 2' and had tomatoes/peppers on one end and will have beans/potatoes on the other end.

The west side of my garage has two strips on either side of my front walkway. One is 9' x 2' and other is 15' x 2'.

I started gardening in the front last year after I rescued a dog...she ate all the irrigation lines so I water by hand. This means the plots are really new. I amend with garden soil I get from Summer Winds and worked some of the mesquite duff right in as I'm working the soil but am excited about adding kitchen scraps right into the garden.

Anyway, I'm thinking I could support a worm tower in each section because they're all surrounded by desert landscaping and subdivision concrete.


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RE: Earthworms ;o) and grubs :(

OMG, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of a worm tower. I bought a compost tumbler and I'm working on my first batch but it's been pretty slow going. I think it's because I just keep throwing kitchen scraps and leaves in there as I accumulate them. I have a little compost bucket under my kitchen sink where I collect scraps. Worm towers resonate with me.

The one worm I did find was actually in the bottom of a container when I moved the plant into the garden. I used to fill the bottoms of my containers with heaps of mesquite duff from cleaning up after my trees. :: duh :: I guess that was a mini compost bin because the duff was pretty well incorporated when I tipped over the container. I was digging pretty deep in one of my plots and found him (maybe its not the same worm) about a foot down.

The east side of my garage plot is 22' x 2' and had tomatoes/peppers on one end and will have beans/potatoes on the other end.

The west side of my garage has two strips on either side of my front walkway. One is 9' x 2' and other is 15' x 2'.

I started gardening in the front last year after I rescued a dog...she ate all the irrigation lines so I water by hand. This means the plots are really new. I amend with garden soil I get from Summer Winds and worked some of the mesquite duff right in as I'm working the soil but am excited about adding kitchen scraps right into the garden.

Anyway, I'm thinking I could support a worm tower in each section because they're all surrounded by desert landscaping and subdivision concrete.


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RE: Earthworms ;o) and grubs :(

Right on! Keep us posted. I have not done the tower yet but am thinking about it.....

Barrel tumbler composting is much different from worm composting....which is different from Bokashi composting. They are all good and I utilize each system to some extent.

Mary McComposter


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RE: Earthworms ;o) and grubs :(

I never bought any worms, but have tons. They will simply find your garden if you have organic matter and don't spray pesticides or use chemical fertilizers. I'm not sure about doing vermicomposting as it gets so hot most of the year. They might get too hot and die off in a worm tower outside. I notice there are lots of worms in my compost bin, but a lot less during the hot months.

If you can't find worms, you could try buying soil with worm castings. Sometimes there are eggs in there and you will have worms in no time.


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RE: Earthworms ;o) and grubs :(

My dirt is pretty new; I had the native soil dug out if my beds and new soil dumped in but that was only last year. I don't use any chemicals. I do use EB Stone Fertilizer and fish emulsion sometimes. So I guess my biggest question is; if I'm surrounded by desert landscaping, concrete and asphalt where would the worms come from?

PS I did dig some coffee grounds (1/3 cup) from yesterday's pot in the spot I found the one worm so hopefully that will make him happy.


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RE: Earthworms ;o) and grubs :(

I use steer manure(98 cents) on the grass, in the rose beds, in the veg garden beds, under the fruit trees, on the bulbs etc. etc. I have worms every where. I shovel it at least once a year on all plants. One year the grass got so wet from the monsoon that the earth worms were drowning in the soil, so they tried to get to high ground and we found over 700 in the bottom of the swimming pool(we counted). It was a bad choice for them. I was so sad what a waste


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RE: Earthworms ;o) and grubs :(

A quick clarification on worms and the worm tower: using the worm tower attracts earth worms not red wiggler vermi-composting worms. There are many many worms in my outside garden beds, but those are different from the worms in my indoor worm bins made of Rubbermaid containers with air vents. The worm tower worms stay 18" or so underground. Red wigglers live in the top 2" of their bedding.

Two different animals....errrr....wormies.


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RE: Earthworms ;o) and grubs :(

I looked up the worm tower you mentioned and what a great idea. Originally I thought it was an above ground bin, but it's in ground. I just did one today using an old 3 gallon plastic nursery pot that had cracked. I drilled holes all over the pot and buried it near my in ground tomato. All I did for now was throw in leaf litter and orange peels. I heard no orange peels but that's what I had to throw out and they compost fine in my compost bin with lots f worms in it.

This post was edited by toucan on Sat, Feb 22, 14 at 21:50


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RE: Earthworms ;o) and grubs :(

Keep us posted on how that works out!!


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RE: Earthworms ;o) and grubs :(

I have tons of earthworms and red wrigglers. The red wrigglers came from some worm compost and decided to stay but only in shady beds with lots of good stuff in them.
I also have a lot of grubs. I've had some problems with cut stems but not too bad. I feed the chickens with the grubs whenever I find some.


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