Can Red Wigglers Live Outdoors

James Smith
• Friday, 11 December, 2020
• 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 composting bins bin vermicomposting wigglers magnet refrigerator infographic bonus container eat factory system amazon starter adults farm kit
(Source: www.amazon.com)


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.

I recently received some questions related to keeping Red Worms outdoors Be sure to check out my winter worm composting series to learn more about my outdoor (cold weather) system.

worm hotel
(Source: allthedirtongardening.blogspot.com)

I had hesitated to do this originally, because I didn’t have much garden waste except deadheaded flowers etc. The spot I am considering to start is an old unused sandbox that has a layer of garden dirt.

Garden waste actually isn’t the best worm food for the most part, so don’t worry about not having too much of that. I’d recommend adding ALL your fruit/veg food waste as well (you mentioned producing way more than the worms could eat inside).

Learn how to keep red wiggler worms in a compost pile. An outdoor hot compost pile is made of the same ingredients as worm bin: Carbon (leaves or shredded paper), Nitrogen (food scraps), water, and air.

To make a hot compost pile you mix those ingredients at around a 25 to 1 carbon to nitrogen ratio and then sit back and let the microorganisms break things down. Turning or mixing the pile every 4 to 6 weeks will add oxygen and speed up decomposition.

The process of the leaves and food scraps breaking down creates heat deep inside the pile. One tip for keeping an uncovered compost pile moist is to make a funnel shape in the top of the leaves.

earthworm earthworms 4a hgtv rototillers dam nature
(Source: www.hgtv.com)

That way, when it rains, water will be directed into the center of the pile instead of washing off the edges. Vermicomposting is a form of composting that involves the natural process of decomposition using various species.

The Red Wiggler is one of the few earthworms that produces the exact chemical makeup that the soil needs. The Worm Castings contain abundant amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

Since people often confuse traditional nightcrawler earthworms with red wigglers, we needed a better way to identify these compost worms at all stages, which is why we created this interactive guide. Red wigglers will have several stripes or rings down the entire length of the worm’s body.

During the reproductive phase, the two of them will bind together and secrete albumin, which will form into a cocoon. Both worms exchange sperm, which is then placed into the albumin sac, with the eggs and amniotic fluid.

The red wiggler cocoon is tiny, about the size of a grape seed. The cocoons start as clear, then turn white, yellow, and finally reddish-brown when ready to hatch.

bait cartoon funny cartoonstock fishing
(Source: www.cartoonstock.com)

As long as all the conditions are correctly met, the earthworm should start to peek its head out. Temperature between 65-85 Degrees Farhenhieght 80-90% moisture content Proper air circulation pH Neutral, or 7.0 (they can survive between 4.2-8.0 or higher alkalinity).

After the eggs are fertilized inside the cocoon, they start turning into Zygotes. The Cocoon is surprisingly adaptive to most weather conditions; in fact, the pupae can even remain frozen for years with all the life intact when it reaches ideal temperatures.

The recommended temperature is between 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit with a moisture level of 80-90 percent. You need to have adequate space and food for them to reproduce, and there are no dominant traits to take into consideration.

The larvae are not as ideal for composting as the fully developed Red Wiggler (Eugenia Fetid). Looking similar to their cousin, they are often confused with other earthworms such as the European Nightcrawler, or Eugenia Forensic.

The Common Garden Worm (Eugenia Forensic), or European nightcrawler, can easily be confused with the red wiggler. The Red Wiggler looks closer to the Eugenia Andrei, which looks identical except for having a slightly darker reddish tint, and less pronounced stripes on the worm.

A unique characteristic of the Red Wiggler is that it will secrete a foul-smelling liquid to rid itself of possible predators. The Red Wiggler will consume up to half of its weight in nitrogen (food waste) and paper or leaves (carbon) daily.

Start with smaller amounts of food and increase servings until you find the right balance. It would be best if you never fed your worms things like Citrus Fruit, Meats, bones, spices, grease, dairy, or non-biodegradable materials.

Although it can be tempting to throw all of your food waste into the composting bin, it will undoubtedly lead to a disaster. Their muscles are the only thing that helps them grind food into a smooth pulp to digest.

If you have trouble remembering all of this an infographic refrigerator magnet may help (link to Amazon). Okaying ModerationNeverCornXCardboardXPearsXRiceXOrangesXSteakXEggsXFoods with additivesXCabbageXCeleryXBeansXBurgersXFrench FriesXRaw Potatoes Wigglers need oxygen to survive; they produce carbon dioxide like most other land animals.

The oxygen passes through their skin, and carbon dioxide returns to the environment. It does not take much, but that slimy mucous membrane over the body of the worm is what is helping filter the oxygen into its bloodstream.

If you see your worms surfacing a lot, then something in the soil may be causing this drastic change. For the most part, you don’t have to worry if your worm population outgrows your farm.

The population in your worm farm will self-regulate based on the size of the bin and available food supply. If you are noticing that you have many small worms, read this troubleshooting guide.

Thomas Jefferson Vermicomposting is a simple and rewarding way to make use of kitchen scraps while providing your plants with an ongoing supply of truly nutrient-rich amendments. That perfect batch of tomatoes or fruit that you are striving for starts with the nutrients that go into the soil.

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