Imperialboy
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How to Find Earthworms?

How do you find Earthworms? In your backyard, sewer drain, etc
Don't have time yet to buy some worm castings, but want wouldn't mind making some castings myself and putting some in containers.

Thanks

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Kisal
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I think most people buy them. You'll have to set up a worm bin of some sort, and feed the worms regularly, in order to produce worm castings at home. I don't keep worms, so I'm not knowledgeable about any of the details.

I think the worms kept in bins are called red wrigglers. I get them (worms that look like them, anyway) and night crawlers in my compost bin that sits on the ground. (I don't know that night crawlers would do well in a worm bin. They very well might, I just don't know. :) )
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DoubleDogFarm
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Are you looking for earthworms / nightcrawlers or composting worms?

If you have farms or stables nearby, you can often find composting worms in manure piles.

[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/DSC03101.jpg[/img]

Eric

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Well I'm just trying to find worms that are used for worm castings.
If not, I'll just go buy worm castings when I have time to go out.

I think that a container with worm castings as well as worms to continue to make more might work well.

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I think it's Soil that has the large bathtub worm operation. I'll let him answer your questions. :) :wink:


Eric

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Kisal
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Rainbowgardener has posted some good links in this thread, including a pictorial showing how to build your own worm bin:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=178674&highlight=worm+bins#178674
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applestar
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A quick way to get local worms to come to your party is to moisten an area, dump some UCGs and a layer of leaves, cover with a wet corrugated cardboard, then put a bag of something on top of it (mulch, sand, gravel, whatever).

This only works during the warmer months when worms are closer to the surface and not during the freeze. I love early spring, after the ground thaws, when I start seeing little mounds of "worm signs" all over my garden and lawn. 8)

I mentioned elsewhere too, that my DH puts his leftover fishing worms in my compost pile... so a local Bait Shop?

Imperialboy
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Thanks applestar

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rainbowgardener
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I just turned over my compost pile yesterday and there were hundreds of earthworms in the working section of the pile. I added big clump of them to my worm bin. I started the worm bin back in November just with worms from the compost pile then. But in Nov. it was cold and the worms were a lot harder to find.

Most people do buy worms for worm bins, but mine seems to be working just fine with the compost worms. I'll be interested to see if they need a lot more food, now that I just doubled the population of the bin...
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soil
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first off the earthworms you find in the ground are most likely not composting worms. most earthworms have different feeding,burrowing habits compared to the common composting worm( the red wiggler, aka Eisenia fetida). you can sometimes get them at bait stores but for the price you pay and the amount of worms you get, your basically getting ripped off( not for fishing though its a good deal).

if you don't want to buy castings, but are willing to buy worms. that is a smart decision. there is nothing like homemade castings, and buying a nice supply of worms to get yourself started is the quickest path to buckets and buckets of castings. with proper care your worms will multiply fast, giving you the opportunity to build another bin for more castings, or give some away for someone else to start a bin. which reminds me of the best way to get worms, find someone close by who has worms, chances are they will have more than a few handfuls to spare.

so the best place to get worms is a local fellow vermicomposter. chances are they will like organic gardening too giving you someone else to chat with possibly.

or just buy some online, 1 lb is like 20$, that can turn into a hundred lbs of worms in a year if you manage them right.
For all things come from earth, and all things end by becoming earth.

Imperialboy
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Alrighty. So I'll buy a small bag of castings first to use now. Then I'll buy some earthworms.

If I buy earthworms from nursery, I need to have a compost bib for them?
Or use the link that rainbow instructed?

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rainbowgardener
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Well I figure the worms I find in my compost pile are there because they are busy turning my kitchen scraps and the other stuff in the compost pile into worm castings. So why shouldn't they do the same thing in a worm bin? And why should I buy worms when there are hundreds of them in my compost pile? So far the worm bin seems to be working just fine with worms from my compost pile.
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soil
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So far the worm bin seems to be working just fine with worms from my compost pile.
no where did i say that would not work. i can go to my compost pile, pull out some worms, go to my worm bin which has red wigglers and it turns out they are not the same.

if you or anyone wants to go that route that's fine, youll still get castings no doubt.

for those who still care what i have to say, buying 1 lb of worms is about 20$. which = about 1000 worms. in two months they will be 2000, 2 months after that 4000, 8000, 16,000 ,and so on.... so where as one initial 20$ investment and another 10$ for a homemade bin if you don't use recycled material that is. in a year the 20$ worms multiplied can give you hundreds of dollars worth of castings annually. that will in turn grow hundreds of dollars worth of nutritionally rich food.

or you can get them from someone else with a worm bin for FREE, and start a bin that way. i started out with handful and now i care for thousands upon thousands of the little wigglers.

my 2 cents :D
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cynthia_h
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Or you can have the experience I did with worm-keeping.

In approx. 1998, soon after we moved to this house, I decided to keep worms for compost in addition to the compost bin (BioStack) we had moved with us from Berkeley. I got what was then available, a box with a tap, screens around the top of the sides, and a "roof" that opened sort of like the "wing" storage boxes do now.

I purchased the worms from my favorite independent local nursery. They thrived until...winter 2002/2003, when I was teaching full-time *and* sick over the Christmas (excuse me: "Winter") break. It rained cats and dogs here, and I was pushed to the max taking care of the three dogs and three cats then in residence. One dog was 10.5 y.o., one was 9, and Vesta (still here!) was a pistol at 2.5 y.o. I developed bronchitis, and DH stayed on his computer the whole two weeks. :x

About mid-January, when I turned in semester grades, I had a Moment of Clarity and went, "What happened to the worms? Are they OK?" b/c I had asked DH to make sure the blackberries were pruned in late December and that the composts were "taken care of."

The worms had drowned in the rains. The open-able roof was not watertight, and DH never opening the leachate tap condemned them to drowning. I, of course, had been too pre-occupied with my own illness/need for rest and the dogs/cats to even *think* of the yard.

So we fast forward to Spring 2007. I'm helping my GF turn her compost pile--she also has a BioStack--and ask her for a quart of worms. I've acquired supplies and now want to have back-ups upon back-ups in case something dire happens again.

The worms now live in their Worm Factory (purchased at county/municipal discount) in the carport under an old army blanket. More of them live in the BioStack. I've given a "quart of worms" to several people via FreeCycle.

But I must say that the first worms did *not* double their number in anything close to a month or even three months. They took their time settling in and seem to have found an ideal population density. I don't find ever-increasing numbers of Eisenia foetida in the Worm Factory or the BioStack; they seem happy as they are.

Cynthia H.
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soil
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But I must say that the first worms did *not* double their number in anything close to a month or even three months. They took their time settling in and seem to have found an ideal population density. I don't find ever-increasing numbers of Eisenia foetida in the Worm Factory or the BioStack; they seem happy as they are.

from my earlier post
with proper care your worms will multiply fast,
no offense but it sounds to me like your worms got the complete opposite of proper care considering you left them to drown.
[/quote]
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cynthia_h
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cynthia_h wrote: So we fast forward to Spring 2007. I'm helping my GF turn her compost pile--she also has a BioStack--and ask her for a quart of worms. I've acquired supplies and now want to have back-ups upon back-ups in case something dire happens again.

The worms now live in their Worm Factory (purchased at county/municipal discount) in the carport under an old army blanket. More of them live in the BioStack. I've given a "quart of worms" to several people via FreeCycle.

But I must say that the first worms did *not* double their number in anything close to a month or even three months. They took their time settling in and seem to have found an ideal population density. I don't find ever-increasing numbers of Eisenia foetida in the Worm Factory or the BioStack; they seem happy as they are.
The "first" worms here are the ones I got from GF in Spring 2007 for the Worm Factory. They get *excellent* care (read elsewhere in the forums) and did nothing like double their numbers in a month and again in two months, showing the exponential growth you describe. There were good numbers of them after about three months, so I took a quart of them and moved them to the BioStack for "insurance" against any illness on my part or neglect by DH in the future. Since then, I've given away several quarts of worms to people who request them on my local FreeCycle list.

I'm just saying that the doubling time may be unrealistic for some worm-keepers. These invertebrates are hard workers, but reproduction seems to be slower than often described.

Cynthia

Imperialboy
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So what should I do now?
https://whatcom.wsu.edu/ag/compost/easywormbin.htm

Build one of those and then start?
I will throw a wet cardboard out on the lawn tonight and see what I can get, see if there are any living in my yard.

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soil
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I'm just saying that the doubling time may be unrealistic for some worm-keepers. These invertebrates are hard workers, but reproduction seems to be slower than often described.
even if you don't believe me, populations still grow exponentially. so given enough time youll have more worms than you can deal with. and if anyone doesnt, there doing something wrong.

i personally have found worms given the right environment to increase in population greatly. i wouldn't have thousands of worms if it was not true in some situations

good thing there is more than one right way to make vermicompost.
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DoubleDogFarm
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Alright, alright you two put your gloves back on. :lol:

Soil, Have you posted your operation here. Sure sounds good to me. Pictures, techniques?

I've tried raising, BSF and meal worms, but not a large scale vermicompost. Looking for a protein source for my ducks. :wink:

Eric

Imperialboy
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Isn't of this back and forth talk. Just post your methods/photos/ whatever!

I'm still confused here and all the help I can get will be great:
So what should I do now?
https://whatcom.wsu.edu/ag/compost/easywormbin.htm

Build one of those and then start?
I will throw a wet cardboard out on the lawn tonight and see what I can get, see if there are any living in my yard.

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rainbowgardener
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That's what I did! Just bought the storage containers from the local big box and got started, with worms from my compost pile. I bought two storage containers. Drilled holes in the bottom of one and set it on top of the lid from the second one. Lid from the first one is on top of it.

I put damp shredded paper in the bottom for bedding, then some food, then a bunch of fall leaves, dampened everything, covered it with dampened brown paper bags, then the lid. The worms from my compost pile aren't red wrigglers but they eat kitchen scraps and leaves and turn it into worm castings and worm tea (which accumulates in the bottom lid). I have added more fall leaves twice now, as the original ones have mostly disappeared. So I still don't see why I care whether I have red wrigglers or not. I'm not doing a large scale operation, so I don't care whether I'm getting the maximum amount of food digestion possible.

I've been giving them a loose cup of food twice a week (more like 1/2 cup if it was packed down). I'm assuming since I just added more worms, I will need to increase the food, though I guess if they are hungry they can always eat leaves. If it seems like things are drying out, I occasionally pour a little more water on top of the leaves. Otherwise there doesn't seem to be much they need.

Sometime in spring, I'm going to drill holes in the 2nd bin and quit putting any food in the first one. Put bedding, food, leaves in the second one and set it right down on top of the leaves in the first one. Presumably the worms will migrate up to where the food is (have to be sure the holes are big enough!) and then I can collect whatever is left behind in the first one, which seems to me that it will be a mixture of worm castings, some leftover bits of bedding (much of which has disappeared), some leaves....

Even if it isn't "pure" worm castings, I assume it will be good stuff to add to my garden.
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Imperialboy
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Thanks rainbow! Guess I'll start with that link then. Got any photos of your setup rainbow?

What worms are best?
After lifting up my cardboard over my grass last night; found these little guys. 5 total

[img]https://i51.tinypic.com/15nnl7d.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i56.tinypic.com/122onic.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i54.tinypic.com/2ylpb2t.jpg[/img]

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Kisal
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Those are not worms. They are very common garden pests. The ones in the first two pics are slugs, and the third one is a brown garden snail. :evil:
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DoubleDogFarm
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Slugs! Ducks love them. :wink:

Eric

Imperialboy
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LOL.
Bummer.

Guess not many worms that can help me then? Should I try again?

The Helpful Gardener
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Quit going the cheap IB, and pony up for the worms. It's worth it.

What's your time worth? Twenty an hour?

You are already nearly there!

:lol:

HG
Scott Reil

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$40. :D

treehopper
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Re: How to Find Earthworms?

Try fiddling or grunting...see YouTube.
I started a compost pile, because I gardened. Now I find myself gardening, so I have someplace for my compost!!

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rainbowgardener
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Re: How to Find Earthworms?

tree hopper - I like your signature line. That is in fact how I started gardening. I started composting to keep good stuff from going in to the waste stream and thought it was so cool how you could pile up garbage and dead stuff and come out with rich dark earth. So THEN I started gardening to have something to do with it. :)
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