How to Raise Red Worms

Overview

Red worms are a favorite critter for both gardeners and fishermen. They effectively turn all of your edible scraps into rich organic compost. On an angler's hook, they offer an enticing bit of bait to a wide variety of sports fish. Raising red worms is a simple and rewarding hobby requiring very little in the way of specialized equipment or skills.

Step 1

Build the worm bed. Using a large plastic bin or a combination of landscaping timbers and concrete blocks, establish a worm living area that is approximately 4 feet long and 2 feet high. If you choose to make use of plastic bins, use a pair of large scissors to create a series of holes in the bottom to aid in air circulation. Try to position the bed under a natural shade source to provide shelter from the weather and protection from the sun.

Step 2

Line the bottom of the bed with sheets of cardboard to retain moisture throughout the bedding material. Fill the bin with bedding material. Appropriate materials include peat moss, shredded paper, potting soil, composted manure or any combination of these materials. Soak the bedding material in water for one day, and then drain off any excess liquid prior to using. Add more material as needed to keep the bins filled, leaving approximately six inches of space at the top.

Step 3

Check the pH of the bedding material. Red worms thrive in a slightly acidic environment with a pH of about 6.5, though anything between 6.0 and 7.0 would not be harmful. To raise the pH of the bedding material, mix in ¼ cup of sulfur. Wait 30 minutes and check the pH again, adding more sulfur if necessary until you have reached your target. To lower the pH, mix in ground limestone.

Step 4

Add your worms. Spread them gently across the top of the bedding, and cover the bin with a spare sheet of cardboard. Leave the worms to wiggle their way down into the bin. After 30 minutes, any worms remaining on top of the bedding should be discarded.

Step 5

Wait three days, and then add food to the worm bin. Sprinkle natural compost products such as coffee grounds, vegetable peelings and yard waste over the surface of the bin. Place larger pieces in the center and smaller bits toward the edges. This will ensure the most efficient processing of the food as juvenile worms have a tendency to gather in the middle.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not feed your red worms meat or dairy products.

Things You'll Need

  • Large plastic bin
  • Sheets of cardboard
  • Peat moss
  • Soil pH test kit

References

  • Basic Worm Care
  • Raising Red Worms
Keywords: red worms, red wigglers, raise worms

About this Author

Lisa Parris is a freelance writer covering a variety of topics, particularly health and wellness. Her work has appeared in various publications including the "Journal of Comparative Parasitology" and "The Monterey County Herald." She holds a bachelor's degree in biology from Peru State College.