Vermicomposting is gaining ground as a simple and cost-efficient method to create nutrient-rich manure for your pots, yards and gardens. The benefits are twofold as you can get rid of all your organic waste and reduce your carbon footprint, and secondly get a natural fertilizer for growing healthy plants and trees on the other.
While it's relatively easy to create a worm farm with a substantial bedding topped by all your fruit or vegetable peels, egg shells, leaves, branches and so on, you need the right kind of worms eating the scraps an in the compost bin to do the trick.
While many people assume that all they have to do is dig up some of the omnipresent worms from their backyard, the sad news is that not every kind of earthworm meets the composting job description.
Indeed, when it comes to vermicomposting, all worms are not created equal. Following is a list of those that are considered perfect for the job:
Red Wigglers - These small red worms are right at the top of the composting table. They have a large appetite and voraciously thrive on organic matter. Therefore, they can process large amounts of organic waste to produce nutrient-rich castings that make for the most fertile soil. In fact, they can eat as much as half their body weight every day!
Purchase a small supply of red wigglers from a bait shop or order them online from a reliable and trustworthy source. The worms will not only quickly get to work in the compost bin, but also tend to multiply in spades. They will tend to stay close to the surface of the soil and yet can tolerate temperature, moisture and pH ranges very well.
European Nightcrawlers- These large worms not only make good fishing bait, but are also perfect for composting purposes. In fact, they are the top feeders among the entire Nightcrawlers category.
While European Nightcrawlers are definitely not as ravenous as their red counterparts, a major plus point is that they are much better at decomposing coarser paper and cardboard. They are red or dark pink in color and need a bit more moisture than the red wigglers.
European Nightcrawlers can tolerate a broad range of temperatures. They usually dig deeper into the compost bin too.
European Nightcrawlers reproduce almost just as quickly as the red wigglers. They tend to grow to quite a large size (double or even triple that of their red cousins). Therefore, many people also breed them in compost bins for use as fishing bait later!
African Nightcrawlers - These long worms are just as voracious as Red Wigglers and considered good composters, but have a thin skin that is quite sensitive to cold temperatures. Therefore, they can be used only in warm conditions.
Alabama Jumpers - These worms prefer leaf litter and are considered favorable for outdoor vermicomposting. However, they are quite poor com posters.
In short, not any kind of worms will do for composting. Pick the right ones so that you have a healthy and thriving compost bin always!
The author is a passionate fisherman and writes extensively on how a compost bin and fishing worms can help fishermen to catch fish.
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