Can You Put Red Wigglers In Compost

Maria Garcia
• Friday, 27 November, 2020
• 7 min read

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.

worms worm parasite wigglers teeth composter feed master tiny really scraps kitchen
(Source: solanacompost.wordpress.com)


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.

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. 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.

worms compost tumbler put garden soil fertile lush creation
(Source: gardentabs.com)

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”.

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. The worms manure (known as casts) actually comes out richer in nitrogen, organic matter, and bacteria than what went in.

Worms also improve the structure of the compost by their tunneling habits. Their tunnels allow better air and water circulation within the compost which encourages aerobic bacteria to do their job of decomposition.

compost bokashi japanese
(Source: dailyhealthpost.com)

Effective conditions for composting require a good balance of organic waste, air, and water. The lack of oxygen and increased humidity will foster anaerobic (oxygen-hating) microbes which give off bad odors.

Worms improve both the physical and chemical decomposition of compost. 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.

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.

wigglers baby worms update babies hair thin want don vermicompost young
(Source: blog.explosiveblooms.com)

We’ve tried a bunch of foods in our bins at home and have a nice list for you to keep things simple. Vegetable scraps: apple cores, peels, carrot tops and wilted lettuce or trimmings.

Non-citrus fruit work best, such as watermelon rind, strawberry tops, old blueberries, etc. Drastically limit citrus or eliminate all together to avoid fruit flies and to keep the bin clean smelling and easy to work with.

Onions Spicy peppers Twigs Meat Daily Oily foods Plastic Metal Glass Animal feces FINICKY EATERS: If after a week you notice food hasn’t been touched, they may not be too fond of it.

EASY TO PLEASE: If they are happy with the food, temperature and moisture level, they will stay put in the bin even with the top off! SPOIL ‘EM ROTTEN: If you really want to make brats out of your worms, chop up their food.

Your bin may be completed in record time by making it easier for the worms to break down the scraps. You can also store chopped up food in the frig until ready to feed if you end up with extra.

worm farm farming together sturdy lined cinderblock lid cloth hardware walls heat keep feet down light
(Source: www.dawnfarm.org)

PUT THAT FOOD TO BED: Because we keep our worms inside our garage, it’s important to us that the bin not call fruit flies, mice or get over-run with ants. Folks that dump food on top increase the chance of fruit flies or yukky smells. The best method is to make layers of food and bedding with a big layer of bedding on top.

Find out how to mix up homemade nutrients and soil amendments for specific vegetables and fruit! Click on the image to learn more about the e-book or add the .PDF version to your shopping cart now.

We make our own fertilizers and have info on this site and more comprehensive e-book with tons of great recipes. 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. 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.

bottle science compost biology point composting application through project foot
(Source: peter2323.wordpress.com)

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. Before winter hit, I brought my composting worm bin into my basement, so they wouldn’t freeze to death.

I ran down there, tossed the lid off my worm bin, and low and behold, they were doing GREAT! Granted, they had eaten a majority of the organic material that I had previously put in there, but they seemed happy and healthy.

So I wanted to take this opportunity as I replenished they’re food sources, to talk what to feed your composting worms. They will happily digest a wide variety of organic plant material into nutrient rich worm castings.

worm farm tray sunleaves tier
(Source: www.planetnatural.com)

I put old lettuce in there, rotten vegetables, potato peels, fruit, grass clipping, and leaves, just to name a few. It seems when I put a combination of different materials in the worm bin, they preferentially eat the sweet stuff first.

If you have an old banana laying on the counter, cut it in half and bury it in the worm bin. You should avoid putting citrus fruits in the worm bin, as well as garlic, onions, and peppers.

So instead of relying on your worm bin as a viable means of composting all your scraps, you should treat it as more of a fun experiment and feed them sparingly. The end result is nutrient rich worm castings that your garden will absolutely love.

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