How to Raise Red Worms for Composting

Overview

Vermiculture is the term for raising composting worms. There are more than 4,000 species of earthworms. Red worms or red wigglers (Eisenia fetida) are the most common worms used in worm farming. Worms ingest microbes that break down material into compost. Their waste, called casings, are nutrient rich and used as organic fertilizer. Red worms have no teeth. They pull their food into their mouth and use muscle contractions to move it along. They reproduce every 30 days by laying eggs. Once red worms are established, they are fairly easy to care for.

Step 1

Construct or assemble your worm compost bin. Add a 1-inch layer of aged manure for a small worm farm. Add a 1-inch layer of sand. Shred newspaper into strips no larger than 1 inch wide. The smaller the pieces, the more efficiently they can be used. You need two packed cups of shredded paper for the initial set up. Mix these layers together and moisten. Pick up a handful of bedding and squeeze it. You should not have more than one or two drops of excess water.

Step 2

Add your worms to the bedding. Leave the top off of your compost bin so that light shines into the bin. This forces the worms to dig deep into the bedding to escape the light. Close the lid after two days.

Step 3

Feed your worms 1/4 cup of grass clippings, leaves and kitchen scraps per day to start. Monitor how long it takes for the additions to disappear. Place worm food under different parts of the bedding each day.

Step 4

Maintain temperature at 40 to 80 degrees. Storing your worm bin in your basement or under your kitchen sink would provide optimal temperature and humidity regulation. You can insulate your compost bin so that it can remain outside in a garage or on a porch.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not add dairy products, meat products, grains or fats to your worm compost bin.

Things You'll Need

  • Worm compost bin
  • Manure
  • Newspaper
  • Sand
  • Worms
  • Grass clippings
  • Kitchen scraps

References

  • How To Raise Red Wigglers
  • City Farmer
Keywords: red worm, red wiggler, compost bin, worm compost

About this Author

Currently residing in Myrtle Beach, SC, Tammy Curry began writing agricultural and frugal living articles in 2004. Her articles have appeared in the Mid-Atlantic Farm Chronicle and Country Family Magazine. Ms. Curry has also written SEO articles for textbroker.com. She holds an associate's degree in science from Jefferson College of Health Sciences.