"Without the work of this humble creature, who knows nothing of the benefits he confers upon mankind, agriculture, as we know it, would be very difficult, if not wholly impossible" - - - Charles Darwin
Greetings and Welcome to Redworms Rock!
My name is John Vance. Thank you for visiting Redworms Rock!. You have arrived here because you are either interested in knowing more about what redworms and redworm composting, also known as vermmicomposting, is about - or you are just curious and may want to see if redworm composting [VERMICOMPOSTING] is for you or you may have seen my promotional sign in my driveway at my home, purchased redworms or castings from me recently, ran across me on Twitter, the RWR Facebook page or you may be subscribed to my community newsletter, the Peoples Bark News Berkeley OR you may be following my Redworm Care Wordpress blog - maybe you saw one of my ads on US FreeAds, Classifieds Ads, Domestic Sale, Craigslist, but however you found your way here, WELCOME!
If you would like to follow me on my Wordpress blog, just send an email to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org with 'Wordpress Redworms' in the subject line and i will send you an invite to follow.
However you got here, I am glad you made it and I am sure you will learn a lot about redworms and redworm composting, [vermicomposting] and I hope you enjoy your time here. Any suggestions you have for my website, please send me an email and I will see if your suggestion can work for RWR.
If you would like to write to me or you would like to purchase redworms or castings and you live in the San Marcos, Escondido, Vista, Valley Center, Carlsbad area of southern California, [N. San Diego County] you can send an email to: email@example.com Please put "redworm question" in the subject line, and I will reply to you right away.
Redworms - also known as Eisenia Fetida - can make your life much more interesting
and fun. They eat all of your household food scraps and they enrich your garden soil a hundredfold. Not to mention that redworms can make you a little extra income. They produce pure gold - black gold - castings or vermicast - a natural high energy food for your plants, higher in nutrients than any store fertilizer you can buy at Home Depot, Lowes or anywhere else, for that matter..
All you have to do to get yourself set up is to buy a 10-18 gallon Rubbermaid container. You will want to drill some 1/4" holes in the bottom, on the sides and the lid so the worms will have some fresh air circulation and if you want to add to preventing worms from leaving the bin, tape some screen mesh over the holes, although if you really feed your worms properly and keep the pH balance in order, the worms should have no desire to leave their happy home. Overfeeding is the main culprit for new worm farmers. I feed my worms veggie scraps out of a 3lb coffee can about once a month, and they seem to do fine. They will eat more in the summer and less in the cooler/colder months.
Generally, if your worms are trying to leave the bin, it can mean that there is a problem with the pH and you can best bring things back into balance and create a happy medium by adding some powdered eggshells. Pulverize your egg shells in a blender and then add maybe a 1/4 cup to your bin and mix the eggshells in real good. You might want to do this once a month or so as it can be good in general to keep the balance in the bin, not to mention redworms love it and need it. The worms can also want to leave because it is too wet in the bin. You can add shredded cardboard to help remedy this. You could also be overfeeding them, so be careful not to overfeed.
I generally feed my worms about 3-4 lbs of scraps each month.
I should mention here that I have been raising worms for a little over three years now as of Mar. 1, 2015, and I have a lot of Rubbermaid bins, about 20, but recently, I have built three new wooden bins and find them to be much more superior for the worms. I have not put any drain holes, either, as the bins are outside, and all seems to be well. The wooden bins are about 3' long by 2' wide and 1 1/2' deep. I also have a fairly large garbage can that I add leaves and veggie scraps and the worms just love it in there. You can use all kinds of containers [and sizes] and just as long as you follow the necessary guidelines, your worms will be happy campers.
Recently, I constructed 2 large [7'X3'] wooden bins for nothing but horse manure and
I add plant debris and vegetable scraps there, as well. I use the horse manure, of course to add to my other bins, when necessary. As os May 8, 2016, the worms are loving the big 3'x7' wooden bins.
To get started, shred some newspaper in strips about 1/4"-1/2" wide by tearing the newspaper with your hands or with a machine shredder. Put the shredded newspaper in your new redworm bin. Moisten lightly. Always keep your bedding moist. Now you're ready to put food in your bin for your redworms, assuming that you have your redworms in your bin, by now. If you need redworms for your bin, there are many places you can order redworms. Just type in redworms in Google and you should come up with any number of sources to purchase your them. If you live in San Diego County, I am in San Marcos - and you can always contact me and we can arrange a convenient time for you to pick up some redworms, here.
Since I started tending redworms about three years ago, I have found doing so to be a lot of fun, a real pleasure. It's always so cool to remove the shredded newspaper covering each bin when I check on the redworms where the food is located and see this swarm of wriggling little critters just covering the food, slowly making it disappear and turning it into some of the richest plant food you can imagine. And, as unappealing as it may sound to some of you, I really love just picking up a mess of my redworms and checking them out for a few seconds - they are just so cool, almost like my pets. Just always remember, even though a lot of tending redworms is hands off, there is still a lot of hands on - they do need care - they are living creatures and so, never believe you can just set em' and forget em' - you cannot do that!
I guess the most important thing about the redworms is being careful what you feed them. I also have the tendency to put their food on one end of their bin now and the next time put the food on the other end of the bin. This gets them to move to the other area in the bin and then I can remove the castings they have created. I have noticed though, that you don't really have to remove the castings too regular as it doesn't seem to bother them, as many experts claim. Ideally, you should remove the castings at least once every 3 months, as I am sure that some toxicity could build up that might be harmful to your worms.
As for what you should and should not feed your redworms, follow these guidelines and you should be fairly safe and have happy worms:
Fruit & Vegetable Scraps, Stems, Peels
Egg Shells [powder them in your blender, if you can - handful a month]
Grains, Cereals, Bread, Corn Meal - yep, cooked
Beans, Rice, Pasta cooked, of course
Coffee Grounds & Filters
Tea Bags (Remove Staple)
Dead or Wilted Flowers
Dry Grass Clippings & Leaves [be sure not infested with fertilizers
Newspaper & Junk Mail (try to avoid glossy paper)
Cardboard & Paper Egg Cartons
Hair, Dryer Lint, Vacuum Cleaner Dust
Eggshells ... best if they are cleaned out and crushed/powdered with a blender is ideal, before adding to your bin. Egg shells add calcium as well as grit and helps in digestion of their food. Eggshells also good to keep pH balance and helps with the redworm's reproductive activity. A few large egg shells can be good to have in your bin for an excellent habitat for babies. I save my powdered eggshells in a coffee can for when I need them.
Potato peels are OK to add, but since they can sprout eyes you may begin to see plants in your bin. Pull the sprouted plants out and put back for your worms to gobble..
Treats For Your Red Wigglers
They really love this:
Corn on the Cob
Reds have a sweet tooth. Adding sweet food will bring the worms closer together, resultant in more reproductive activity. Eggshells can help them, reproductively, too, as well as helping to maintain the pH.
I am planning a photo shoot soon, so keep checking back and you should shortly see some cool redworm graphics.
What To Keep Out Of Your Worm Compost Bin
Although your worms will eat most organic matter, here are some things you should avoid feeding your worms. Since the worms are living in a small space, keep the pH level of the bin balanced. As your worms breathe through their skin, they can become irritated when making contact with specific foods. Some foods will also rot and smell, which can attract fruit flies and other unwanted pests. Keeping your food scraps covered at all times should minimize and probably eliminate such worries.
Don't add these items to your worm compost bin:
Meat, Poultry, Seafood, Bones
Dairy Products (Butter, Sour cream, Whole eggs, Cheese)
Oily or Salty Foods (Peanut Butter)
Acidic Foods (Pineapple)
[although my neighbor has pineapple and his redworms seem to love it, I am told there is a chemical in pineapples that will absolutely harm your redworms, so I DO NOT FEED THEM PINEAPPLE AT ALL, EVER!!!]]
Sauces or Processed Foods
Citrus (Lemon, Lime, Orange)
Onions & Garlic [cooked onions seem to be ok]
Spicy Foods & Chili Peppers (Jalapeños)
Plants or Grasses That Have Been Sprayed with Pesticides
Glossy Paper or with Colored Ink
Glass, Plastic, Tin Foil, Metal
Dog, Cat or Human Waste
If you do horse, rabbit, goat, or cow manure, be sure the animal has not been receiving antibiotics or worm medicine, as that could kill your worms. DO not add anything that is not biodegradable. It will not be digested and could be harmful to your worms. I tend to have a problem even with newspaper, though I did use it when
I started out, because of the dioxins, so your call on the newspaper. Cardboard is ok
as it is not dyed and contains no dioxin or other harmful chemicals.
If you would like to know all about worm composting and get updates for life, check out this great audio course: