Vermicomposting is simply composting with earthworms. Earthworms speed up the composting process, aerate the organic material in the bin, and enhance the finished compost with nutrients and enzymes from their digestive tracts. Even a small bin of red worms will yield pounds of rich compost, also known as worm castings. You do not need to add worms to your compost pile. Outside, composting happens with and without the help of earthworms. Worms will usually find their own way to a compost pile. Worms and Composting Worms/worm eggs casts are found in soil or old compost just like slugs and snails and can also be found attached to leaf mould (tiger worms are used to decompose leaves). In the case of the HOTBIN which is a sealed unit, worms are often added during the set-up of the initial base layer. Sort the Worms from Compost Using Piles Start by picking a spot indoors or out that has good lighting, but not too much direct sun. Dump the contents of your composting bin onto a tarp. Shape the bedding/compost/worm mixture into a bunch of mounds. Let the mounds sit for a few minutes. The best types of worms for vermicomposting are red wigglers (Eisenia fetida) and redworms (Lumbricus rubellus). These two species make great worms for the compost bin because they prefer a compost environment to plain soil, and they are very easy to keep.
Maggots, or compost-dwelling soldier fly larvae, breed in compost bins because they thrive on the nitrogen-rich products of the decaying process that produces good compost fertilizer. Maggots are harmless and may even help the composting process by breaking down organic material.
A compost pile or bin that's primarily run by worms can and does heat up sometimes, but generally vermicomposters are happy that the bins don't heat up too much so that your worms don't get killed off. If you really do have too many worms, you can divide them into two containers or piles and build your throughput.
It is possible to house both earthworms and red worms together, however, it is not ideal. This is because the two species are adapted for different population densities, temperatures, and soil depths. They also break down elements in the soil for optimal intake by your garden plants.
Composting without worms can be just as successful as the wormy variety. Add garden wastes such as grass clippings, leaves, or plant prunings. Avoid anything big or woody because it won't decompose quickly. If you don't have a good spot on the ground in your yard for a compost pile, consider getting a compost bin.
Yes, you can add red wigglers to a compost pile. You will want to keep the pile a little wetter than you would a normal hot compost pile to keep the worms happy. They will leave the pile if it gets too dry or too hot. But, if you keep it moist and stocked with food scraps, they should stick around.
Composting with worms, or vermicomposting, is a convenient and environmentally friendly way to turn your unwanted kitchen scraps into rich compost for your garden. Worms aerate the soil, introduce friendly micro-organisms, and speed up the composting process.
Amazingly, red wiggler composting worms eat roughly half their weight every day! So, if your daily average food waste is 2 lbs, you will need roughly 4 lbs of composting worms to eat that amount each day. In this scenario, 4 lbs of worms is your optimal worm composting herd.
Whether or not it's too many red wigglers or rodents that are coming in and stealing food, some worms are going without and they will not grow as they should. If you're noticing that your worms are smaller, and on top of that, you're finding escapees, then overcrowding is most likely to blame.
Remember, the main difference between red wigglers vs earthworms is in what they eat and how they live. More specifically: The nightcrawler/dew worm eats soil, a red wiggler eats decaying matter. Red wigglers like manure, vegetable matter, rotten fruit, etc.
After worms are added, bedding should be kept moist but not soggy and the top 6 to 8 inches turned every 7 to 10 days to keep it loose. About every 6 to 9 months the old bedding should be replaced with properly prepared new bedding. To change bedding, remove the top 5 or 6 inches (where most of the worms are).
They're soldier fly larvae. EUGENE – Most people shudder when they see maggots in their bin composter or compost pile. Don't be grossed out – they won't hurt you. In fact, these larvae play a role in breaking down and recycling nutrients back into the soil.
Red wigglers are only about 1-3 inches long and the diameter of a pencil lead, but they can easily turn piles of vegetable scraps into excellent garden fertilizer. Red Wigglers don't tend to dig deep–they are adapted to chewing up vegetable matter and animal manure in the top layer of soil.
Instead of soil, composting red worms live in moist newspaper bedding. Like soil, newspaper strips provide air, water, and food for the worms. Using about 50 pages, tear newspaper into 1/2" to 1" strips. Avoid using colored print, which may be toxic to the worms.