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Newbie questions - Can I dig my own worms?

Posted by gardenmom z4 WA ( on
Tue, Feb 7, 12 at 15:07

Hi all.
I tried to start a worm bin last year. I'm using an old wooden drawer. I ordered worms from a Craigslist posting (lesson learned). The gut was in another state(OR) and after 2+ weeks of no contact, I finally called. I got a return call the next day saying they had been shipped that morning. Wonder if I'd still be waiting if I hadn't called. What arrived was a plastic cottage cheese tub of smelly black goo. I counted a little over 20 worms! Needless to say I wasn't successful in getting my bin established.

I have a greenhouse, and today I dug up about 75 worms from one 8' stretch of bed. The worms are red, small, and wiggly. Can I use these?
How many worms do I need to get a bin started? Should I just order them again, this time from a reputable dealer?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Newbie questions - Can I dig my own worms?

Ouch, by that shipping method I'm suprised any survived.

Hard to say on a text description, do they look anything like this?

Main features are (in the pick you can see the varience)
- red to pinkish
- striped (shows up more when they stretch out)
- yellow tips at one end (sometimes very distinct, sometimes not)

If they are, you'll still be waiting a long time for the population to build. If you're in no rush sure, it's kinda fun building up from low populations. You'll just have to keep an eye on overfeeding etc.

Also look around here for some DIY ideas as I see you're doing one with the drawer ;).

RE: Newbie questions - Can I dig my own worms?

75 worms aren't very many, and if you dug them out of soil, they may not live well in a worm bin. There are different types of worms that live in different environments.

A typical starter worm order is 1000 - 2000 worms. Buy from a reputable dealer.

RE: Newbie questions - Can I dig my own worms?

I'll second sbryce's recommendation to order from a reputable dealer.

Those who know a lot more about worm composting than me say that the worms we find outdoors won't be the best species for the purpose: Eisenia foetida.

My setup is a Can O' Worms, but I also like the homemade setup that Dave describes on this page:

Here is a link that might be useful: Homemade Wormery

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