Can You Put Red Wigglers In A Compost Pile

Ava Flores
• Saturday, 05 December, 2020
• 8 min read

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 compostpileyou mix those ingredients at around a 25 to 1 carbon to nitrogen ratio and then sit back and let the microorganisms break things down.

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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.

To keep your red wigglers happy in a compostpileyou would want to add more carbon (aim for a 50:1 carbon/nitrogen ratio) and more water so that it more closely resembles the mixture found in a worm composting bin. One tip for keeping an uncovered compost pile moist is to make a funnel shape in the top of the leaves.

That way, when it rains, water will be directed into the center of the pile instead of washing off the edges. They can play an important part by helping to decompose waste products.

Certain types of worms, like red wigglers, can help speed up the process of decomposition. Native earthworms generally find their own way into an open bottomed compost bin if conditions are right.

Your compost heap is like a mini-ecosystem with a lot of other bugs, microbes, and fungi contributing to the rotting process. Their presence is helpful but composting occurs regardless of the number of worms in your compost pile.

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That being said, worms are capable of consuming large amounts of decomposing matter in a relatively short time span, which in theory will make your composting process more efficient. For example, if you decide to dig some up from your garden, they may not hang around if you just drop into an open bin.

This type of worm is well suited to eating rich organic matter and belongs to a group of invertebrates we call “epidemic”. They can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, and if you feed them with plenty of kitchen scraps and garden waste, they can consume large amounts of compo stables.

“ Red wigglers are said to be able to process half their body weight in food every day”! The resulting compost (sometimes referred to as vermicompost) is highly beneficial for your plants.

The microbes feeding on waste vegetation can increase the temperature of the composting mass. Red wigglers will eat food waste and rotting vegetation, whereas earthworms get their nutrients directly from the soil or from composting material.

It’s likely you’ll find worms from your garden inside an open compost heap. However, in extremes of heat, cold, or moisture, earthworms will prefer to leave the compost pile and bury themselves in the soil.

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The worms manure (known as casts) actually comes out richer in nitrogen, organic matter, and bacteria than what went in. Their tunnels allow better air and water circulation within the compost which encourages aerobic bacteria to do their job of decomposition.

Effective conditions for composting require a good balance of organic waste, air, and water. If conditions in a compost pile become too wet, or air cannot circulate, a compost heap can become very smelly.

The lack of oxygen and increased humidity will foster anaerobic (oxygen-hating) microbes which give off bad odors. If you have an open bottomed compost bin, you may well find earthworms roaming around inside.

If you want to attract more of this type of useful microorganism you could simply try to replicate the conditions they prefer. Spreading mulch will help keep the ground cool and prevent moisture from evaporating.

The amended soil you create by avoiding chemicals and adding organic compost will naturally attract more worms. The worm-casts (“vermicastings”) and other decaying organic matter combine to create a highly prized “vermicompost”, which makes an excellent fertilizer and soil amendment for your backyard plants.

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So long as the worms have food they usually thrive inside the compost pile. Local backyard earthworms tend to come and go as they please inside an open bottomed compost bin.

This also means that they need a consistent and constant supply of food to satisfy their ravenous hunger. Soil dominated by beneficial bacteria and fungi naturally support healthy plants, hold moisture and help to prevent disease.

So understanding how worms live in the soil, the temperatures they can manager are between 40-80F, and they need to be moist to ensure they can breathe through their skin. Therefore, you must manage worms inside a controlled environment where toucan feed them as needed, like your dining room.

Place 3-4 layers at the bottom of the bin and spray them with water from the garden hose to dampen. Nightcrawlers aerates the soil by digging long tunnels, so be sure that the bin is only halfway full because the volume will nearly double by the time you're ready to harvest.

Powdered limestone can be sprinkled on the soil every time you feed to ensure that the pH levels never get too low or too high. Nightcrawlers aerates the soil by digging long tunnels, so be sure that the bin is only halfway full because the volume will nearly double by the time you're ready to harvest.

Nightcrawlers that are sold as fishing bait are generally past their reproductive prime and don't often make good composting worms. Make sure that the food isn't covering the entire top surface and leave the corners and edges clear, so worms can head back down when they've had their fill.

Make sure that the food isn't covering the entire top surface and leave the corners and edges clear, so worms can head back down when they've had their fill. Keep your bin cool--it shouldn't be in direct sunlight, nor should the bedding be allowed to dry out completely, as it regulates the temperature a bit.

If your compost freezes in the winter, the egg capsules will hatch when the ground warms up again, allowing you to start over with a new generation of nightcrawlers. Harvest compost by scooping it up and sifting with a wire mesh screen to separate the nightcrawlers and undigested food scraps from the black soil.

If you find that they're overcrowding your bin, toucan release some into your garden, give them to a friend or take them fishing. Permaculture or vermicomposting is the method of using worms to break down organic matter into useable compost for your garden.

This method is catching on throughout the US, and toucan often find “worm bins” for composting in your gardening catalogs. To the uninformed, keeping worms in a bin outside or even in your home is pretty odd.

However, vermicomposting has a range of different benefits that heavily outweigh any initial ice factor or hesitation over taking on a new project. Worm bins can easily be set up right in your home or even in a kitchen corner.

A properly maintained worm bin doesn’t have a noticeable odor and to visitors it often just looks like a trash can. The real benefit of having a compost system right in your home is that toucan add your table scraps right away rather than throwing away food or having to carry it out to your compost pile.

Even a substantially smaller worm bin could still produce more, and a better quality, compost compared to a compost pile. Science backs vermicompost as being higher quality and overall superior to other composts, even store-bought.

Toucan see a data table of this on the New Mexico State University website by clicking here. Microbes Present in Vermicompost Improve Plant’s Disease Resistance.

This is believed to be due to the presence of healthy microbes that live with the worms. They help break down organic matter but also are taken with the harvested compost and mixed into the soil.

The secondary way toucan get fertilizer from the bin is through the excess moisture the worms create. This “worm tea” is a liquid that is rich in nutrients and can be poured right on your plants.

The worm castings which make up the vermicompost are extremely effective at retaining water. When you mix the compost into your garden beds or pots, you are giving your soil a helping hand.

All you do is feed them table scraps, inspect them regularly to ensure they aren’t underfed or overfed, and drain the extra worm tea, so the bin doesn’t get too moist. The wonderful thing about using worms is that toucan scale it to your needs, whether you’ve grown a couple of tomato plants or are growing a large garden that feeds your whole family.

There are plenty of manufactured worm bins on the market for a good price. If you decide you need to scale up then toucan buy additional bins or make a larger system yourself.

Even though the common regular old earthworms compost organic matter, they aren’t especially suited for a vermicomposting set-up. These worms are smaller than the earthworms you tend to find in your garden and are composting powerhouses.

Red wigglers or branding worms prefer the more wet compost set-up and will even live right in manure. I recommend you do a litter research or read reviews to ensure the person or company has a history of delivering healthy worms.

You will need about one pound of red wigglers to start up a worm bin the size of the commercial ones listed above. Setting up the bin involves simply adding bedding for the worms.

Your worms can be fed a wide variety of different table scraps or other organic matter, such as: The average-sized worm bin can be fed for roughly three months before toucan harvest the castings.

Fed on a daily basis, the worms should have eaten and broken down their bedding within that time. There are a couple of ways toucan do this, but the easiest is to construct a sifting frame from some leftover lumber and hardware cloth.

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