Also called red worms and red wrigglers, compost worms convert organic kitchen scraps such as vegetable peelings, spoiled fruit and coffee grounds into castings, a rich soil amendment to use for your potted plants and garden. Doubling your compost worm population allows you to start more compost bins, provide worms for other vermicomposting enthusiasts and sell worms to anglers and fishermen. Doubling compost worms is a procedure that requires you to have a clear understanding of the space, food and maintenance requirements of the red worm.
Acquire a population of mature compost worms. You can identify adult red worms by the distinctive flesh-colored ring encircling their bodies. Although you can get your worms from a range of gardening websites, try to acquire them in person, from a source such as a bait shop, garden store or another worm composter. This allows you to inspect your worms to make sure you have a large number of breeding age worms. According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), worms require 2 to 3 months to mature. Thus, having a population completely composed of immature worms will add a lot of unnecessary time to your process of doubling your compost worms.
Give your worms a container that provides them with enough room to reproduce. Compost worms adjust their population based on the amount of space and food they have available, according to the WDNR. If you have 1 pound of red worms (about 1,000), then you'll need to be able to provide enough food and space for 2 pounds of worms to encourage them to breed. Two pounds of worms can consume about 1 pound of kitchen waste per day, according to Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture. Typically, your container (wooden or plastic) should be sized so that you provide one square foot of surface area for each pound of kitchen waste that you give to the worms weekly. Since 2,000 worms require 6 to 7 pounds of kitchen scraps in a one-week period, your container should be about 2 feet by 3 feet to encourage your population of 1,000 worms to double in number.
Provide conditions that encourage your worms to reproduce. Make sure the bedding (such as torn newspaper and shredded cardboard) is damp, spraying it with a water bottle every time you notice it starting to dry out; ideally, you want it to be moist but not dripping wet. Bury the food scraps completely, making sure that several inches of bedding covers them and your worms. WormFarmingSecrets.com states that keeping the bin around 70 degrees reduces the time it takes for the worm eggs to hatch.
Give your worms time to reproduce. According to the WDNR, breeding worms lay 2 to 3 cocoons each week; these cocoons require about 3 weeks before the worms hatch. Once several weeks have passed, start gradually increasing the amount of kitchen waste that you feed your worms. Your worm population should double in approximately 2 to 3 months, according to WormFarmingSecrets.com.