Has anyone tried using worms from their lawn or garden?

Cuttingsville, VT

I'm new to this and want to try it, but would rather collect worms from my garden/lawn and let them reproduce to vermipost. Has anyone tried this and does it work? I'm willing to start small and expand as my worms reproduce. Then if I ever have too many or they escape I won't feel bad about introducing some obscure non-native worm to my garden. Am I crazy to even think about non-native worms? Thanks!

Superior, MT

What kind of worms do you have in your garden? Most garden worms live in dirt and make permanent tunnels (until a gardener comes along and turns the soil and then they have to start all over). Regular worms like to tunnel deep into the ground. I f you want to use a bin to raise worms you need to use worms that will thrive in a bin. Most of the time people use Eisenia fetida--red wigglers or manure worms. They like to live in moist cardboard, egg cartons, etc. (check out some of the forums at this site or redwormcomposting.com), multiply quickly and are basically surface feeders. Therefore, bins work great for them.

You don't have to start by buying 1000 worms or more. Perhaps you know someone that will give you some red wigglers. They multiply quickly. 3 months ago I put 20 adult red wigglers in an 8"x14"x8.5" plastic box. Monday I emptied the container and I now have 204 adults, 191 juveniles, and many babies and cocoons! That's 20 times my original number!!

This message was edited Feb 17, 2011 7:33 PM

Cuttingsville, VT

Thanks for the reply! I have no idea what kind of worms I have. I'd go dig around, but there's 2 1/2 feet of snow covering everything(hopefully soon I'll be able to dig). I also wouldn't know the difference between worms if I saw them. I'll check out that website you posted and try to learn some more! Thanks!

Lake Charles, LA

Feed the soil web and the worms will come, adding compost and nutrients to your garden soil. Bokashi (EM 1) will attract many worms and microbes. My 2 cents

White Plains, MD

I want to collect garden produce leftovers from local markets and make a huge compost pile. I have a dumptruck load of leaves collected and covered from this fall.
My aim is to have enough compost to really benefit my new garden I am starting in a 30X50 ft high tunnel,, composting all summer hoping to grow in the fall and keep produce going as long as possible in the winter.
My compost pile is usually as big as if a 10 wheeler dumptruck backed up and dumped a pile. (this size pile even when turned with a backhoe 2 or 3 times a month never finishes till the 2nd year.
Never using worms before.... as I build the pile do I add worms with the layers of dry and green... or will that kill the worms? When do I add the worms? Never used worms before,,, have always found them in cold finished compost... Can anyone help?
I really want to make as much as possible in the coming growing season. Is this unrealistic,,, thinking worms will spend the process up.... Sorry,, so many questions... My mind is spinning. I seem to have alot to do and am worried it wont all get done in time.....

Superior, MT

DeMarr Produce--Try Bentley's website: www.redwormcomposting.com for some info on compost piles with worms and local market throw-aways. He has been using a trench method with his gardening that he has been very happy with.

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

when i added coir to my plantings this last summer (1st time using coir).. when i dug up my bananas,EE.. the soil had TONS of worms in there..
i always have worms in my soil.. i have ammended my soil for yrs now..and continue to.. i also find in places where i havent spaded in coffee
grounds in yet.. alot of tiny wrigglers are present..
im not purposely trying to attract the worms.. but.. they are great for aeration..and adding their castings..so its a win/win for them and me...

Hanceville, AL(Zone 7a)

I have always considered worms in the soil a good indication of soil richness. When we 1st moved here 40 years ago, worms were no where to be found. When we would go fishing, instead of throwing the leftover worms into the water, I would bring them home and "plant" them. Now I have worms of all kinds all over the place!!(:^) Luciee

Albany, NY(Zone 5a)

New to composting and just laid out all my shredded documents, some junk biodegradable starter cells ( i hate them. back to old yogurt cups for me! keeping a good moisture level, with out dry out or mold is just too hard!) some of the million weeds i pulled, old wet leaves, coffee grounds, and some grass clippings, will be adding weekly table scraps and manure soon. i'm hoping to find a local bait shop and get some night crawlers there to add to my little pile, which i hope to grow. any other recommendations? i see a lot of grubs and millipedes but not a lot of worms in our soil. "if you build it they will come"?

Helena, MT

I grew up in Mich. and we had Canadian night crawlers which came up in our yards after a rain. Here in Mont. I have yet to find a native worm in my soil. I have tried both European night crawler and Canadian Night crawler transplants in a sunken raised bed with some well aged cow manure and straw, plus lots of chopped up garden scraps from last fallís garden cleanup. The Europeans did well, however there are not many Canadians. I don't believe Canadians are really fond of compost piles. My grandfather use to keep a pit at his cabin, filled with leaves and compost, and covered with a board. The pit contained plenty of earthworms for fishing, but I had to collect the night crawlers from the yard. I knew a guy in Kansas who tossed his left over Canadian night crawlers from walleye fishing trips in his yard, and after twenty years he had established them in his lawn. I guess it just takes time and patients to establish the Canadians.

Albany, NY(Zone 5a)

oh dear... i wouldn't know a canadian from a european unless they spoke to me with accents. lol i'm going to give this a shot though! i'll just buy local night crawlers i guess? when i find a bait shop i'll just hit them with a load of questions. :)


outlaw if they speak to you cut down on the vodka.....

landmark mb., Canada

My son tryed using wild worms from his garden had many nice fat worms

He put them in a tub and fed them house scrapes all worms died,they would not

touch the feed he gave them,so repaced them with red wigglers they do

fine in confinement but will die in the garden when it gets cold

Helena, MT

One of the neighbor kids brought over a native worm he found on the sidewalk next to his mothers flower bed after a rain. The worm was pinkish-gray in color and about the size of a normal red wiggler. For a number of years I have been trying to establish some type of worm in my garden with no luck. But the red wiggler is great for outdoor compost piles using horse or cow manure. I have even added them to holes I dig in the garden for transplants and they survive the growing season like hertzog says. Red wigglers are the easiest worm to cultivate and can be used to compost kitchen scraps or manures. Just don't try vermicomposting indoors with manure...not a good idea.

landmark mb., Canada

mraider3 Have you any experience useing worm tea made from worm castings
or vermiliquer? used in foilar feeding.
I am going to do that this year. Last year I used kelp,liquid calcium,sugar.
Had the best yield ever and also best quality.
Worm castings seem to have all the nutrients.

noonamah, Australia

I think I've mentioned this on another thread. We have worms that live down in the soil. But there are also worms that live in the mulch and leaf litter on top of the soil. These mulch dwellers should be suitable for worm bins. If you want to collect your own it's probably a good idea to set up a pile of compost/mulch on top of the ground and collect what sets up home in there.

Helena, MT

hertzog, there is lots of information here in DG on making tea. I have yet to put together a system which I designed for making worm tea, but it is a top priority for next spring. There are lots of formulas for making tea which include vermicompost, and I like your idea of using kelp and sugar. I had planned on using some molasses from the feed store as well as some alfalfa grass. By aerating an extra few days you can develop some higher organisms like paramecium and amoeba, so I've read. Some people advocate placing their ingredients in a bag like a poultice, however I plan to just add the ingredients to a 55 gallon drum and mix with an air driven mechanical device which will keep the solids in suspension. I don't collect vermiliquer, but I'm sure it would work fine. Liquid calcium seems like a good idea as well...will add that to my formula.

landmark mb., Canada

mraider3 The only sugar that will work is molases sugar or perhaps organic sugar. The molases at the feed mill as well as the sugar in the food store is
processed at a to high of temp. process needs to be less then 160 degrees f.
sugar processed behond this temp. has all the minerals burned out of it.
I used this molasses sugar at the rate of 8oz. per acre. You need to be carefull
as to much will kill the micro organisims in the soil.
I do not think that what you have planed needs any calcium. I foiler feed every
10 days early in the am or late in the evening.
Best garden I have ever had.

Helena, MT

Good to know hertzog. We use Turbino sugar from the health food store for making preservatives. This would be simpler than dealing with a gallon of molasses.

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