A Morning with the Red Wiggler Worms! An Update.

by Les Albjerg
(Caldwell, Idaho)

This morning I spent a good 20 minutes working with my worm projects. Since several of the threads on the Blog have gone in other directions, I thought a clear update would be helpful those who are raising worms or considering the possibility.

1. Chris has updated his sidebar "Worm Fishing." It is well worth a visit or a revisit.

2. I am over 6 weeks into my scouring experiment, and all of the original worms are still looking great. They have a much nicer pink hue to them, and they are lively and tough. It is so easy to do, and working with clean worms is so much nicer stream side. I am going to declare this as a simple step to move the Red Wigglers to the next level. The "Sages" of yesteryear all say that scouring Red Wigglers is optional, but it makes fishing them so much easier and better. This week, I am transferring 5 dozen worms into a scouring container. It is nice to know that if I run out, most the experts consider them fishable without it.

3. I have a lot of eggs in my "Park Avenue" worm ranch right now. I have several baby and juvenile worms as well. These Red Wiggler worms overall look bigger and healthier than those in my regular compost bins. They should, they are being pampered! The "Park Avenue" was started with 200 worms from a local vermiculturalist, I wanted to start a new ranch at the same time the article came out. I have not counted the number of worms, but I am getting great reproduction.

4. After working with a 3 gallon bin and an 18 gallon bin, I have found the bigger bin is much easier to manage than the smaller one. Since I do garden, I am going to discontinue my 3 gallon bin, and use my large bin for composting as well as a reserve supply of Red Wigglers. I am not sure how many thousands of worms are in the 18 gallon tote!

5. I have a couple of other experiments I am working on. I am also trying to sift through all the materials I have found on Scouring. I am hoping to compile that information and post it here for you to check out.

Comments for A Morning with the Red Wiggler Worms! An Update.

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Mar 15, 2018
Oops!
by: bill piatek

Sorry for side tracking a few posts. :-/

More info on worm keeping would be greatly appreciated.

Bill

Mar 21, 2018
Worm ranch question
by: Kevin. B

I started one of the Park Avenue ranches this weekend, and i have a question about fluffing the bedding. When you do it, do you leave the cardboard squares on the bottom of the bucket, or do you stir them up with the rest of the soil bedding?

Thanks.

Mar 26, 2018
Scouring update
by: Les Albjerg

Kevin - I leave the cardboard on the bottom. If you stir a few squares up toward the middle it won't hurt anything. The primary purpose of the cardboard is to absorb water on the bottom if you over-water and to provide emergency food if you are not feeding enough, and worms seem to love laying eggs in the corrugations.

My research continues on Scouring. Most sources I have read say that worms will last 6 weeks in the moss. This has been proven out in my experiment with 2 dozen worms.

Two of the sources from the 1800's have talked about how to keep scoured worms for up to 6 months! I currently have between 6 and 7 dozen worms being scoured using that method. This morning I checked on this large batch of worms, and they are behaving as predicted by the two authors. I am going to let this play out for about two more weeks before writing about it.

Some lessons learned when scouring a large batch of worms.

It is difficult to get all of the "dirt" out of the worms. I placed the 6-7 dozen worms in a small container and tried to rinse them off under running water. I got most of the dirt off, and the worms formed a nice ball. I just placed the ball on top of the moss, and when the worms buried themselves in the moss, it left a nice little pile of dirt of top. It was easy to skim the dirt off the top.

After one or two days, you need to clean the moss. I carefully pulled the moss and put it in another container and put worms found in the middle on the bottom of the first container. I didn't try to get all of the worms off the bottom of the first container. I left a ball of worms and some dirty moss on the bottom. I then rinsed out the moss, to clean it. I squeezed out the water and fluffed it into a clean container. When fluffing I found two worms! They didn't seem to be harmed even though they went through the rinsing process and squeezing. I then poured the ball of worms and dirty moss on top. After letting the worms work their way down into the moss, I took the top layer off and washed it. The scouring takes place as the worms work through the moss, allowing the moss to clean them. These worms after 3 days are looking good! It sounds harder than it really is.
Last, if you find a couple of worms coupled together, it is time to return them to your main bedding. You really don't want eggs and babies in your scouring bed.

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