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? on vermicomposting?

Spring City, TN

Can I buy worms at a bait shop for this bed? Which kind?

Should I add them directly to a new raised bed or must they go in a compost pile?

Will it help or hurt if I put black plastic over the bed/pile to help warm the soil?


Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Vermicomposting usually refers to setting up a bin with worms.

If you are 'growing worms in compost' I say don't buy any. Just let what comes, come. They come and multiply when they find what they like. They go away when they don't like it. When I build my pile of fall leaves I do not expect to see any worms for months. They appear when things start to break down, when the temp and moisture are good down under, and really take off (multiply) in spring.

Helena, MT

I agree with Sally that worms will probably come to your outdoor compost bin. Not here so much, so I seed my outdoor compost bins with worms form my indoor bins. I also toss in Canadian night crawlers left over from fishing trips.

Covering your bins with black plastic can help in the cooler months, but it may get a bit hot in the summer months. Watering and turning your outdoor composting frequently helps not only in the decomposition process, but it helps the worms as well.

Lots of good information in old threads of the Vermicomposting forum which deal with outdoor composting. Try there and ask questions.

Cloverdale, CA(Zone 15)

I'm in northern California, use worm bins set up in my garage, and found that night crawlers, earthworms and other worms in bait shops or found everywhere after a rain don't produce compost as quickly as red wigglers. Bad news: two pounds of red wigglers from the local "worm farm" was sixty bucks! Good news: I posted a notice on Craig's List and found many folks nearby who do viticulture and were happy to donate red wigglers even though I offered to pay or trade.

Helena, MT

easy to grow...easy to ship...why pay $60 bucks

I posted this information once before but I find it keeps coming up with new members wanting to know about a reasonable source for compost worms.. Anyone who vermicomposts has plenty to spare and will make you a reasonable deal. I have shipped red wigglers to several people using this method.
(1) Place a concentrate food source in the center of your compost bin and give it a couple of days.
(2) Prepare a Styrofoam box which will fit inside a square large flat rate Priority Mailing box offered by your United Postal Service. Several bait worm containers will work as well.
(3) Add to the containers some fresh media which has been soaked and drained so it is neither too wet nor too dry.
(4) Dig down into the center of your vermicompost bin and extract several large handfuls of media and worms.
(5) Place worms in the Styrofoam container(s) and seal the lid(s) with masking tape so the worms can't escape.
(6) Mail package as soon as possible.

Note: Winter shipping is probably a bit risky but Priority Mail is usually pretty safe. Check with your local post office first to make sure you don't run into a hassle with the postal clerk when you get to the post office. If they bulk at the idea of shipping live worms you can refer the clerk to whoever you tallied to prior to taking your package to the post office. I ship project reports regularly which usually arrive in two or three days. Red wigglers are pretty tough critters and should arrive at their new destination in good shape. Although recent Priority Mailing prices have gone up again, I still believe this is the safest method of shipping.

Fabens, TX(Zone 8a)

mraider3, I have been reading your and several others post here on DG in the vermicomposting section for about 3 months now. I have a small garden raised beds for both vegs. and roses and Hardy hibiscus few tropical hibiscus.. This past season I was over come by white flys. So thick you could not work in yard without a face mask.

After speaking with several folks here on DG, and alot of dollars on sprays, yellow stickeys ect. I seem to have gotten ahold on them. I pray! I was infromed from a fellow DG'er that the casting of the Red wigglers has helped him with the same trouble. First have you heard of this with your knowlage? Second if I start rasing worms not if when, would you be willing to supply me with the worms? More than willing to pay cost, and I trust your after I have read your post and realize how much you know about worms and vermicomposting. Sincerly, James

Helena, MT

Never heard of such a thing James. I can't imagine what is drawing these white flies. Could you describe them in a little more detail, and do you have any idea what is attracting them.I would definitely like to learn more about what is going on here James, so please give us some more input.

I am not sure how the vermicompost is helping your friend with his/her problem, but sure we could work something out with some red wigglers.
When you are ready to start vermicomposting Dmail me and we can set something up.

Fabens, TX(Zone 8a)

mraider, from what I can gather from my friend is the "black gold" worm droppings in some way repeal the white flys. He told me it has something to do with worm droppings? Was given some scientific name but oldzimers is sometimes playing games with me. I am of the understanding Hibiscus attract white flys like sh*t does to flys. My reasoning for the large amount of White flys in my garden is bhind my home is cotton fields.

Due to the severe drought we have been having thousands of sections of land were not planted this past year. And cotton is related to hibiscus,therefore these beast have been without a home. (There is some other small insect that thrive on cotton and is one of the prime food sorces for the white fly)

So that in my way of thought led them to my yard.

I don't know if any of this makes 2+2 too you but I hope so. Thanks for you intrest and help I willbe Dmailing you in the near future. I feel we are going to have a very mild winter here. It was 76 today with a low of 48. So I am planing to try to get every thing set up with in the next few weeks. I know for sure I can't go through another year like it was last. Thanking you in advance and Happy Holiday to You, James

Helena, MT

James, I figured it had something to do with your Hibiscus. Wife has several plants in her flower beds which do the same. One draws these miniature house flies and the other a beneficial fly which helps in the pollination of our fruit trees.

If you happen to come across the information about vermicompost repelling these cotton white flies I would really like to know more.

When you decide on starting a vermicomposting system.I have a tutorial which you may like to look over. Just Dmail me at any time and I will send you a copy. My methods aren't fancy, but they have worked from me for fifty years. I use the inexpensive plastic tubs and I don't poke holes in them either. Simple, inexpensive and easy.


Fabens, TX(Zone 8a)

Morgan, I am glad you conclude with me on this one. Makes me feel all my brain cell haven't gone south.HA! Your methods are just what I am looking for,and your inexpensive and easy are the crown to the beginning of a great project.

I will search for the information I was given on the repelling and as soon as I find it will send it to you. Please when you have time send me your tutorial, funny I get excited about rasing worms. As a young child my grandparents, had a farm where I spent every free minute on. My Grandmother loved too fish and had a fairly large worm bed. Ah such wonderful memories. Thanks once again Morgan, Sincerly, James

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