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Food bedding water HELP

Posted by twilightworms 44875 Ohio (My Page) on
Fri, May 7, 10 at 9:02

Hi everyone. I have 108 nightcrawlers that I caught outside. We are on fixed income ssi check and going to sell worms and other bait for little extra cash. Well I have my worms in potting soil and they are dying. One by one. I don't have any other bedding until the worms I ordered online comes in and that won't be until Thursday maybe sooner not sure. They go out monday. What can I put in there with them. Should I take them out of the dirt and just put paper in there with them or what should I do. Also I have been given them left over coffee grounds. Will that work for food or can I put some of my home canned fruits in there. And some green beans and stuff. i am not sure what all I can and can not do. All that I know is that they are dying slowly but surely. And I wanted to have 100 dozen by end of this month to start selling. And I wanted them to breed as well so that I can keep them growing all winter long until next summer and not be short on worms next summer. Any info you guys could offer would be so much help you have no idea. I have spray bottle that I put 12 sprays of water in every few days. Do you think that is to much water. Someone told me to get news papers and junk mail cut them into 2 inch pieces and put them in there with my potting soil or just the paper and they will be fine like that. What is the best way to get them to start laying eggs and get this going. Please let me know thanks.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Food bedding water HELP

Hi Twilight! Sounds like you do need some help!
The worms you found will likely die. You probably can't replicate their environment in your bin to their liking.

What kind of worms did you order? I can help with red wigglers, and European Night crawlers, but Canadian Nightcrawlers (the big ones for fishing) are totally different, and I don't know anything about raising them.

You can search here for other people who were just starting out and asking similar questions, or I added a link to a website down below this post.

At any rate, you will won't have 100 dozen at the end of this month to start selling, unless you ordered 100 dozen. They just don't breed that fast. But if you sell them buy the dozen you should be able to charge more for them than you paid, so you could make a profit if you keep them alive.

I am sorry! What part of Ohio do you live in? I used to live in Mount Vernon. Loved it there!
Good luck to you!

Here is a link that might be useful: how to raise red wigglers


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RE: Food bedding water HELP

One way or another, you are not going to breed 100 dozen in a month. I would release the ones you have and focus on the ones you are ordering; they will be here soon.

If you don't want to release them, I would get a big deep trash can and fill it with native soil, mixing in some shredded cardboard to help keep it loose. Be sure there are drainage holes and keep the soil moist but not wet.

What you are feeding sounds good, but don't overfeed. It will rot and cause too much heat. As deep-dwellers, nightcrawers don't have as much tolerance for heat as surface-dwellers like red wigglers do.

The above is all guessing -- different worm species need different things -- but I think it will get you closer than your current plan.


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RE: Food bedding water HELP

My first piece of advice is to never EVER start a business venture doing something you know nothing about!!

My next piece of advice is to go to your local library and get a copy of Worms Eat My Garbage by Mary Appelhof.

> I have 108 nightcrawlers that I caught outside.

Odds are that these are Canadian Nightcrawlers. Conventional wisdom says that Canadian Nightcrawlers cannot be raised in a bin. There is someone on another forum who claims to be raising them successfully. He is the exception, and not the rule. If you want to raise bait worms in a bin, you want to raise European Nightcrawlers. People who sell Canadian Nightcrawlers for bait gather them from the ground at night.

> Well I have my worms in potting soil and they are dying.

Composting worms will die in potting soil. Or they will live, but they won't thrive. You did not mention what species of worm you bought, so we don't know how to advise you to care for them. Since this forum is about composting, my advice will pertain to composting worms.

> I don't have any other bedding until the worms I ordered online come

Your bed for the worms should be prepared before the worms arrive. Worms eat decomposing organic matter. Unless you already have a bin full of decomposing organic matter, they will have nothing to eat.

> Should I take them out of the dirt and just put paper in there with them

That may not help the nightcrawlers you already have, but if what you ordered are composting worms, then, yes, you want to put them in damp paper.

> Also I have been given them left over coffee grounds.

This is good. If this is from your own morning coffee, you won't produce enough to keep an active bin fed. You will need another food source.

> can I put some of my home canned fruits in there

You can, but my rule of thumb is that people eat before the worms do. If any food is people edible, I don't feed it to the worms.

> And some green beans

Green beans tend to be canned with salt. I do not put anything with salt in my worm bins. Salt is a preservative. As such it kills bacteria. Your worms need bacteria to eat.

> i am not sure what all I can and can not do.

Dare I say again, you NEVER start a business venture not knowing what you are doing!

> And I wanted to have 100 dozen by end of this month to start selling.

Worms breed quickly, but not that quickly. It takes time for worms to breed and the new worms to mature to bait size. It will probably take several months to have a stable enough herd that you can remove worms for sale without diminishing your herd of breeders. If I were raising European Nightcrawlers to sell for bait, I would not expect to have enough to sell for the first year.

> And I wanted them to breed as well

Worms you sell this month will not be available for breeding over the winter. If you want your worms to breed, you cannot sell them, until you have a large enough herd that you can remove worms without significantly reducing their overall numbers. That means that you cannot sell your worms faster than they reproduce.

> I have spray bottle that I put 12 sprays of water in every few days. Do you think that is to much water.

Without looking at your bin, we cannot tell if the moisture level is correct. I general, the food given to worms contains enough water to keep the bedding moist. It really depends on the food you are giving them. The food I placed in my flowthrough last week was ignored by the worms until I added copious amounts of water, but my Rubbermaid bins tend to be too wet without any water being added to the bin.

> Someone told me to get news papers and junk mail cut them into 2 inch pieces and put them in there with my potting soil or just the paper and they will be fine like that.

It depends on your worm species, but in general the worms will be happier in just paper. Cardboard is better, but it is more effort to cut unless you have a paper shredder. Newspaper can be torn into strips by hand.

Keep in mind that if you want a large enough herd to have worms to sell, you will need a LOT of newspaper/cardboard/etc for the worms to live in as the herd grows.

> What is the best way to get them to start laying eggs and get this going.

If you want lots of reproducing going on, provide the worms with optimum conditions. If there is more than adequate food and space, and the temperature, moisture and oxygen are right, they will reproduce. The best food I have found to encourage reproduction is aged horse manure.

From what I have observed, people who make money raising worms tend to do so as a side business, and their primary business is one that produces food for the worms as a waste product. This usually means that they are raising some other type of livestock, and they began raising worms as a way to deal with the manure.


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RE: Food bedding water HELP

In rereading my post at the top, I think I may have sounded rude. I hope I didn't! I didn't mean it that way at all! I really do hope that you work out your worm troubles and figure out a way to make a little income from them. Worms are a nice 'livestock' to 'ranch'!
I wish you all the very best, and please I hope I didn't come off as abrupt! I hate that there is no possibility of inflection with writing!


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RE: Food bedding water HELP

When I was a kid, long before I knew about composting worms and gardening, I picked night crawlers for fishing. I often had them die on me trying to keep them in small containers with dirt in the fridge. One day somebody gave me a large styrofoam box 2'x 4'x 2' high. I went down to a swampy marsh and picked a load of wet moss to fill it with. I kept the box full of moss in the cool basement and threw night crawlers in it whenever I got them. Through the drought of summer I had plenty of crawlers in the bin. They didn't thrive but they were alive and good enough to keep for a few months. Not good enough to sustain and reproduce but great for preserving and prolonging the dying process. I'm not sure if it is practical to breed and raise Canadian crawlers.


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