Are Red Wigglers Good For The Garden

Paul Gonzalez
• Tuesday, 19 January, 2021
• 7 min read

Red worms are excellent at breaking down decaying organic materials, creating a nutrient-rich substance for your garden. Placed directly into a garden with nothing for them to eat, red worms will likely die or move to other areas where they can find food and an environment more suitable for their needs.

worm concrete ground bins food
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They thrive in shallow environments such as plastic bins, fitted with worm bedding, a little soil and the same types of matter you would use in a standard compost bin: yard clippings and plant-based kitchen scraps. If you see worms atop the lawn or garden surface at night, it's these earthworms or nightcrawlers feeding upon decaying matter.

Create a trench near the garden plants 6 to 8 inches deep -- it can be any length or width. Shred a bunch of corrugated cardboard or newspaper to create a moisture-absorbing layer for the trench, then add some partially decomposed plant matter from the yard.

Add some kitchen vegetable scraps, red worms and a layer of cardboard or yard matter atop that. The worms will enjoy their new environment and recycle the decaying matter into nutrients for your garden plants.

A simpler version involves placing decaying plant scraps around the garden, then adding worms, but this may be unattractive. Add crumbled strips of newspaper and corrugated cardboard as worm bedding, a small bit of soil to help the worms' digestion and then scraps from yard plants and plant-based kitchen scraps.

The red worms ingest food scraps and other organic waste at a rapid pace. They contain significantly more beneficial micro-organisms, enzymes, humus, and plant stimulants than regular compost.

compost worms pile coffee mulch mushroom permaculture
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Castings have these nutrients in high percentages in a slow-release form along with superior soil binding, and water retaining abilities. “Available” means that the nutrients in castings can get to the plants for easy absorption because they’re water-soluble.

As they burrow into the soil, they take organic material along with them much into the subsoil of the earth; where the red wigglers don’t travel. Like my fondness for rabbit poop, I take great pride in the rich nutrients they produce for my garden.

While traditional composting and vermicomposting both enlist broken down organic materials, worms bring their own something’something’ to the table by providing a highly nutritional product for the garden. Webinar New plants are what make gardeners’ hearts skip a beat.

Podcast: Let's Argue About Plants Truth be told, Steve and Danielle don’t grow much clematis. But over their many, many years at Fine Gardening, they’ve researched and written a lot about this genus.

“As a recently identified gardening nut I have tried all the magazines and this one is head and shoulders above the pack.” Note This won't delete the recipes and articles you've saved, just the list.

worm hotel
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Get complete site access to decades of expert advice, regional content, and more, plus the print magazine. Smaller red wigglers are indefatigable workers in the garden that condition the soil and fertilize plants.

Worm castings are the waste product excreted by earthworms, a process explained by the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension. As the material passes through the worm’s digestive tract, intestinal fluids are secreted, which contain enzymes such as sugars, amino acids and other organic matter.

Instead of adding organic matter to a pile and waiting for it to decompose into usable compost that you add to your garden, adding worms directly to a vegetable garden bed allows you to provide nutrient-rich vermicompost to your plants on-site without having to turn and otherwise maintain a compost pile. The University of Hawaii’i at Manor notes that vermicompost increases the yield of plants while also suppressing pests and diseases.

The University additionally notes that vermicompost promotes more plant growth than traditionally produced compost. Other worm species are also commonly called red wigglers, such as Luxurious rubella, which can be invasive pests.

Red wigglers stay in the upper layer of topsoil and do not burrow deeply like other species, such as night crawlers (Luxurious terrestrial), which may dig down as deeply as 6 feet, according to North Carolina State Extension. Straw, lawn clippings, crumbled brown leaves and shredded newspaper or paper bags serve as mulch as well as food for red wigglers.

ground worm concrete bins food
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The fact that you have already been able to harvest vermicompost, and your worms are breeding quickly is definitely a good sign. I generally wouldn’t recommend adding composting worms directly to your garden since they are not really soil worms, and will more than likely leave the area or die if they are unable to find a decent amount of decomposing organic matter.

We have some pretties hot weather hear during the summer months, but I’ve had no problems with my worm gardens. Just make sure you have a thick layer of mulch (straw is ideal), and add some water periodically if you are having a dry summer.

Cardboard soaked in it then allowed sitting would likely be fine after a few days since aerobic microbes would likely breakdown any anaerobic bi-products that may have been in the liquid. It can be used fresh, has higher nutrient levels than other manures, and does not burn plant roots.

Nitrogen (N) for leafy green vegetative growth Phosphorus (P) for root formation, stem growth, and fruiting Potassium (K) for flowering and fruit ripening, plant immunity/disease resistance Poultry manure is listed in the above table with various percentages of water because fresh poultry manure is wet, but when dried it reduces in volume and increases in nutrient concentration.

Note that rabbit manure analysis varies, and some sources state lower nutrient levels of approximately 1.3 % N, 0.9 % P, 1.0 % K, but these are still high nutrient levels for a manure. Since it contains nutrients, it is also beneficial to soil microorganisms, and earthworms also love rabbit manure.

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According to the Mississippi State University Extension Service, “Fifteen does, two bucks, and their litters will produce approximately one ton of manure a year.” That’s a decent amount of manure for a small farm. The New Mexico State University Extension Service recommend starting a vermicomposting system (worm farm) under rabbit cages.

Release the compost worms into a pile or bin of bedding under the rabbit cage. A vermicomposting system located beneath a rabbit hutch will provide gardeners with an excellent source of manure and worm castings, which are both very valuable fertilizers, and also a good supply of compost worms.

What if I told you that keeping Red Wiggler worms in your home is clean, doesn’t stink, and is so efficient that you can turn your everyday kitchen and garden scraps into ‘Black Gold’ with little effort? RedWigglersare the most aggressive composting worms available (no argument there), as they consume about half their body weight in food scraps per day.

There are only a few simple ‘do not’ rules you need to remember to maintain a healthy environment within your worm bin composter: Make sure to give your worms plenty of bedding (shredded newspaper, coco coir) and they will do the rest.

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