What Worms Are Best for Worm Composting?
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When it comes to worm composting, you can use many different types of worms, and some are better than others for specific composting situations, but any type of worm will happily coexist in a home compost bin. The main things to consider when choosing which type of worm you want to use are how much space they will need and what type of soil they prefer.
Once you know that, the rest is easy! If you’re new to home composting with worms, don’t worry! Worms are very simple creatures that need little space.
Once you get your worms home and settled into their new living quarters, they’ll practically take care of themselves. They’ll thrive even if you forget about them for a week or two at a time. Keep reading for information on the various types of worms out there and which ones are best suited for your composting setup.
Best Worms for Composting
Worms are a vital ingredient in the composting process. They eat the organic matter and turn it into compost, the ideal soil conditioner for your garden. The best worm for composting depends on what you want to put into your compost pile. There are main types of worm:
Red Wiggler Worms
The Red Wiggler or Eisenia fetida is the most popular compost worm. They are easy to care for and reproduce quickly, which is why they are an ideal composting worm. They’re also the most common worms you’ll see sold at bait shops, so if you want to buy them locally, they are your best bet.
They prefer loamy and moist soil, so they are an excellent choice for gardens or compost bins. Red Wrigglers are also a great option if you are just starting worm composting. They are hearty enough to survive in various environments and are easy to care for.
The Georgia or Alabama jumper
The Georgia or Alabama jumper, sometimes called a Mansell or Northern worm, is a good choice if you have impoverished soil and need a worm that can thrive in it. This worm thrives in soil that is very acidic, rich in clay, and low in organic matter. This makes it a great worm to use if you live in the South and have very sandy soil, as sandy soil tends to be low in nutrients.
The Georgia or Alabama jumper is also good at eating problematic weeds like Bermuda grass and nutsedge. If you have a garden full of weeds or a lawn that is out of control, this worm can come in handy! They’re also very good at eating the roots of plants, so they’re not an excellent option to use with your vegetable garden unless you want the roots to be eaten. The Georgia or Alabama jumper is easy to identify by the reddish-orange or brownish color of its skin.
The European Nightcrawler, or Eudrilus eugeniae, is an excellent worm for composting because it is more significant than most other worms. This means it can consume more material per day, helping your compost pile move along a little faster. The European Nightcrawler is also a very hearty worm and can survive in various temperatures and soil types. It can live in moist, sandy soil or dry, loamy soil and will do great in the garden, indoors in a worm composting bin, or in a compost pile. This worm is also very easy to find at bait shops, and while they are native to Europe, they have been imported to the United States and have become somewhat of an invasive species.
The African Nightcrawler, or Eudrilus Eugeniae, is a type of composting worm very similar to the European Nightcrawler. They are larger than most other composting worms and can help speed up the composting process. They can survive in various temperatures and soil types and are very easy to find in bait shops.
Indian or Malaysian Blue
The Indian or Malaysian Blue, or Phagodes Vagabundus, is one of the larger composting worms and an excellent choice for compost bins. It can grow to be up to 3 inches long and therefore consume a large amount of material daily. Because of its large size, it is best suited to indoor composting bins, as it would not be able to move around in a compost pile. This worm prefers a warm, humid environment and is native to Southeast Asia. It is a perfect choice for compost bins, as it prefers loamy soil and can tolerate a wide range of temperatures.
The Blue Worm
The Blue Worm, or Lumbriculus Variegatus, is an excellent choice for composting if you have little space available. This worm is tiny, growing to only about 1/2 inch in length so it can live in small compost bins. It also prefers soil that is very sandy and rich in organic matter, so it is a good choice if you have poor soil that needs a boost. The Blue Worm is extremely easy to raise and does not require much care or special conditions, making it a good choice for beginners. It thrives in a warm environment, best used indoors in a compost bin.
Benefits of Worm composting
Worm composting has many benefits (I have written about them in “Basics and Benefits of Worm Composting“), including the fact that it can be done indoors and does not smell if done correctly. Composting worms, like red wigglers, can consume all of their waste, plus other organic kitchen scraps like vegetable peels, coffee grounds, and paper towels. This makes them an excellent choice for composting indoors, as they do not create any odor.
They also live in a small space and are easy to maintain, making them an excellent choice for people who don’t have a lot of time or space. Worm composting is also very beneficial to your garden, and it can add nutrients to the soil, improving its health and making it more fertile. It is also straightforward and can be done regularly with minimal effort.
How to keep compost worms happy and healthy
Worms are very simple creatures. They need three basic things to survive:
Worms have a voracious appetite, and they need to be fed regularly. The best food options include vegetables, fruit scraps, and coffee grounds.
Feeding the right food
Most people think that worms will eat anything, but this isn’t true. They have particular tastes, and if you feed them something that doesn’t appeal to their palates, they won’t eat it. If this happens, you’ll end up with an unhappy worm population that can lead to poor composting results.
Maintaining the right temperature.
Temperatures between 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius) and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius) are ideal for keeping compost worms happy and healthy.
Worm composting is a great way to create rich, black soil full of nutrients, has a very low odor and is easy to maintain. When you compost with worms, you recycle your kitchen scraps, turn them into something useful, and create beneficial soil for your garden. When choosing your worms for composting, remember that more giant worms eat more, so they’ll help the composting process a bit quicker. Smaller worms are better if you want to create rich, black soil that is great for your garden but will take a little longer.