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Worm Farming

Vermicomposting With Red Wiggler Worms

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Are you looking for something to do that is a little unusual? If you are looking for an activity that is good for the environment and has business potential-worm farming may be for you.

Were you aware that an earthworm can lay nearly 900 eggs each year? That’s a lot of eggs! Their gastrointestinal tract helps neutralize acidic soil or soil with a high alkaline level. Gardener’s really like the soil that worms produce. Other animals eat worms-nice diet huh? A natural food that is safe and healthy. So, how could you go wrong with a good worm farm?

An interesting and strange thing to know about worm farming is that long ago Cleopatra declared earthworms to be sacred, gods of fertility. A little old earthworm was protected and cherished, death to the person who caused harm to the earthworm. Of course in the United States today the earthworm doesn’t get that form of respect. Most of the time the worm is used as bait, thought to be “icky” or simply forgotten about. Some other cultures use it for food, which could be considered sacred to a starving person!

Red Wigglers


Worms are good to eat if you are trying to lower your cholesterol level. Seriously, earthworms can reduce your cholesterol level because they contain Omega 3 oil. You may be saying that you’d rather have a high cholesterol level. Consider some of the other things that you eat. To a vegetarian, meat eaters are the sick people. Someone that eats meat might not understand how someone can live by eating only vegetables. Perhaps eating worms isn’t so crazy after all! Worms do contain protein, are very lean, and are inexpensive to farm. If you prefer a sophisticated term for this oddity, its scientific term is entomophagy.

In the United States worm farming isn’t done to produce human food, however they are raised for other reasons. Those worms in the bait shop or in the pet store need to come from somewhere. Now you know where they came from. All businesses have risks associated with them, worm farming is no exception. There is some work involved in building a productive worm farm.

Feeding your worms doesn’t cost much for a small worm farm. Worms will eat fruits and vegetables, newspapers, grass clippings and leaves. Just make sure that anything you feed them has no residues of any sort of poisons.

The easiest worm farm is a container with some dirt, air holes, newspaper bedding and some food scraps. A larger worm farm needs a method to separate the worms from the castings after the worms have done their thing. The liquid that is produced can be diluted and used to water your plants. Try starting a small worm farm to see if it is something that is of interest to you before you try to become a mega worm farmer.

Worm farming is becoming more and more popular all over the United States, this article will give you some ideas to help you start your own worm farm.

Worm farms on a large scale exist as follows: Arizona, Connecticut, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico-1 each. Florida, Massachusetts, Missouri, and the United Kingdom-2 each. Pennsylvania, Texas-3 each. Canada and Washington-4 each. California-15. There are many more smaller worm farms that are not listed in the major directories. All over the world there are people with small worm farms in their yard.

Any business, including worm farming, will take from 3 to 5 years to break-even after their initial investment and maintenance costs. Proper planning is the key to starting a worm farming business. Careful consideration means a better chance of netting profits sooner.

What do you know about breed stock? You can find good breed stock in a city gardener’s basement supply just as well as you can from any established breeder with the same type of worm. It isn’t unusual for someone to try to sell breed stock at an inflated price in any animal business. The population can take as long as 90 days to double no matter where you buy your breed stock.

How many worms you should start with depends on several things. What is your budget? Will you have a large or small worm farm? Do you have enough space or will you need to expand? Will this be your primary souce of income or just a side business? Do you live in an area with seasonal temperature changes and will you be able to keep the worm farm at a fairly consistent temperature? Are you going to ship worms all over the country or are you just going to sell locally?

Other useful ideas:

1. Weather changes will affect the worms. Finding them in the lid of your worm bin before it rains is no reason to panic.

2. Ants will be more likely to enter your worm bins if the bedding is dry or highly acidic. Raise the moisture content or keep the legs of your stand in a container of water. You could try applying petroleum jelly around the legs or adding some garden lime near the ant gathering spot.

3. Cover your fresh worm food with the soil in the bed or place a layer of wet newspaper over it to get rid of vinegar flies. Don’t overfeed the worms because that can attract flies and other insects if there is extra food for them.

4. If the worm bin smells you are either feeding them too much or you are feeding them food which is rotting before they can eat it. Stir the waste lightly to allow air flow and space for the worms to travel more easily and feed less. Over time you will get an idea of the amount of food the worms can digest. The amount will change as the worms multiply.

Knowing this information should help you to become an excellent worm farmer!

Some people ask, “Why in the world would I want to have a worm farm? There are plenty of other useful farms that sell vegetables, fruits, animals, and eggs. What good is a worm farm?” Well, it’s an understandable reaction. After all, it’s usually the quiet people in society that go unnoticed; so why shouldn’t there be quiet creatures that go unnoticed? People underestimate the value of the worm.

It’s true that there are worms that do damage to crops, animals, and people. Worms in your intestinal system are best flushed out. That’s why dogs and cats, even horses and cows receive worm treatments. These worms are taking away nutritional values the animals need to survive.

Worms

What about the good worms? The first reaction to a worm is, “Ewww, gross.” Well, understanding anything is the key to appreciating it more. The good worms are not poisonous and have positive benefits that are not readily seen. They’re hard-working little creatures and deserve our respect.

So, what are good worms? Earthworms, compost worms (red wigglers, blue worms), and fishing worms (night crawlers) are good worms. Earthworms are found in rich soil. If your plants are healthy and growing, chances are there are earthworms down there toiling away to help make this happen. Those die-hard fishermen can tell you about the benefits of a good, fat fishing worm! Catfish and bream are two of the types of fish that enjoy worms.

Worms are important for composting. They break down the material and produce a rich compost called vermicast or vermicompost. This compost is an excellent fertilizer. It retains moisture, encourages root growth and is high in the minerals that help plants grow.

Here’s one way you can help an earthworm (I know you want to)-the next time it rains and you see a worm on the street or sidewalk, gently move it to a grassy area so that it can burrow back into the ground. You can then congratulate yourself on being a lifesaver!

So now you know why you should create a worm farm. Worms are a vital part of our ecosystem and they do deserve our appreciation and respect.

Worm farming is an excellent way to naturally compost waste without adding to landfills. Vermicompost is produced as a result, providing a nutrient rich substance that greatly benefits gardens, crops and house plants. The worms (red wigglers) kept in worm farms demand little to remain healthy, voracious eaters. Understanding the anatomy of these worms proves useful in understanding their needs.

A worm’s body is made up of 70-95 percent water. Worms therefore require a very moist environment that should be mimicked in the worm farm. When worms die, they often shrivel up and go unnoticed as the water content is lost at this point.

Worms are cold blooded animals. Temperatures between 50-80 degrees are required to maintain the worm farm. The optimum temperature would be between 72 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit to assist the regulation of their body temperatures. Worm farms should be placed in a location that allows for this constant temperature, or bins that are insulated should be purchased.

One focus of worm farming is to have worms that will reproduce easily. Worms are hermaphrodites, meaning they possess both male and female sex organs. Worm farmers must realize that although they are hermaphrodites, they cannot self-fertilize. A single worm cannot reproduce alone. A colony of many worms will result in larger numbers being produced.

Red Wiggler

Worms used in worm farms are covered in a slimy mucus coating. This coating serves many purposes. The mucus helps the worms retain water. Since their bodies are made up of a high percentage of water, an important step when worm farming is to be sure to provide adequate moisture levels in the bin. The worm is able to hold in the required moisture level because of this mucus coating.

The worm’s mucus coating is also a protector. As the worm burrows into soil and bedding, the mucus provides a slick coat protecting it from harmful substances that may reside there.

The anatomy of the mouth of the worm is regarded as unique. In the worm, the mouth is called the Peristonium. Worms do not have teeth. Instead they have this mouth organ that is used for prying. Worm farmers should be aware that worms will be able to better compost food items that have been cut into smaller pieces. Soaked paper and cardboard products will be more easily pried apart than hard, non-soaked pieces.

Established worm farmers and those new to the hobby are often surprised to learn the life span of the worms that are commonly used in worm farming. The common lifespan of these worms is typically between 4 and 8 years. It has been reported that some worms have been known to live over 15 years.

These are long lived creatures whose lives are most often cut short by accidents. The myth that worms can be cut in half and therefore produce two worms is false. If a worm is cut behind its vital organs it will grow a new tail, but the back part will not survive. Worm farmers should always be careful when searching for worms, replacing bedding or removing vermicompost. Sharp or hard tools are likely to injure a worm or even cause death.

If provided a good diet, proper living conditions and a safe environment, worms can live long healthy lives. Healthy worms produce healthy compost that can be put to good use. Understanding the basics of the anatomy of these worms will aid in the understanding of how unique they are and how to address their needs.

If you want to raise worms as a business then you need to raise worms that can be used for fishing bait, food for birds and reptiles, for composting or those used to help benefit the soil.

Worms have no exoskeletons and are not created the same inside as humans and other animals. A worm has one brain and five hearts. Contrary to popular belief, if you cut an earthworm in half you will not get two new worms. If the cut is behind the vital organs the worm will grow a new tail-the other end will die.

Earthworms breathe through their skin. They breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. They can’t control their own body temperatures. When they’re in captivity, you must control their environment-especially the temperature and moisture content.

Some people grow worm farms for their own personal adventure. Kids use them for pets. Gardeners encourage their growth to maintain healthy crops or flower gardens. They create excellent natural compost and fertilizers! Some people eat worms, although it isn’t something that is a big hit in the United States.

Red Wiggler Worms


Composting is encouraged to help the environment and to reduce the amount of waste that is hauled to landfills daily. Worm farming is one small way to help. Small ways add up to big benefits when enough people join together in their efforts. If you have complaints about the environment, if you’ve thrown away food scraps, newspapers, sticks and grass clippings or leaves, if you want to be involved in a positive way to help, then worm farming may be just the right adventure for you!

Night crawlers, red wiggler worms, catalpa worms, and grub worms all make good fishing worms.

When feeding worms in your worm bin it is important to remember a few things. Worms love vegetable and fruit scraps. If you cut the scraps into small pieces it will be easier for the worms to eat, but is not required. Do not feed them onions, garlic or peppers-it will only make the worms want to escape! Never feed the worms meat-it takes too long for it to decompose and your worm bin will start to smell. Make sure that when you feed the worms you bury the food.

Check out what the other worm farmers are doing. Their prices, shipping methods, growing bins, advertisements may all come in handy for helping you plan your own adventure in worm farming.