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Caffeinated Worms!

by Les Albjerg
(Caldwell, ID)

Healthy Caffeinated Wigglers

Healthy Caffeinated Wigglers

This is a report on my last Red Wiggler experiment. I think I am pretty much done playing with worms! Red Wigglers are so easy to raise. Just to recap a few of the other lessons from the past before the details of this experiment. Most important, as long as Red Wigglers are kept in a moist environment, the don't have to have any food for 6 weeks. They are tough. Their natural environment is horse manure. This last experiment was an attempt to see just how lazy I could be and have a healthy worm bin.

I enjoy two cups of coffee in the morning, and my wife has two cups as well. In this experiment, I started with a bin of just moist peat moss. I put about 200 Red Wigglers in the bin, and just added coffee grounds and water for the last year. The end result is I have thousands of Red Wigglers in that bin, and some very nice compost. The Wigglers are as nice and plump at the ones I grow in the "Park Avenue" luxury environment for well pampered Wigglers.

Since I am growing worms for fishing, I don't care about composting that much. I am not growing them for protein. Yes, worms are processed and made into protein powder. Having a Red Wiggler bin is so easy and convenient. Less than 5 minutes playing in the dirt and I have a couple dozen wigglers ready to go! I Red Wiggler fish about half the time now. I still enjoy variety in my fishing. There are times when Wigglers just out fish everything! If you have never tried "Ultralight Worm Fishing", (You can find it under the side-bar under "Worm Fishing.) you are missing some of the most fun fishing out there. It isn't just for streams either. A red wiggler, size 2.5 level line cast between or next to a weed bed in a panfish pond with Daiwa Sagiri 45MC is just pure fun!

Keep them moist, give them some food at least every six weeks, and you too can have plenty of Red Wigglers on hand to enjoy some "Garden Hackle" fishing.

Comments for Caffeinated Worms!

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Jan 11, 2019
What happened to my worms?
by: Kelly Peterson (northern Wisconsin)

Les, just looked at my worms when I aeriated the bedding and there maybe only 100 in there where there used to be 5-700 a couple months ago.

Is there a life span for these worms?

To be honest with you haven't fluffed my bedding for several months, just added food every couple weeks. Actually last time I really looked it was probably October before snow and cold weather came. Actually put them out in the garage so they would be dormant over the Winter(does not freeze in my garage).

Then today after reading this post of yours went out to look at them to find hardly any in there.

I'm puzzled?

Jan 12, 2019
Don't know for sure
by: Les Albjerg

Kelly - I can't say for sure. However your bed will self regulate. Red Wigglers like it between 45 and 80 degrees. My worms are not reproducing as fast as in the spring - fall. However, I still have a nice supply in the "Park Avenue" and I have only been feeding them minimally this winter. Check in the middle of your bin near the bottom and see if you have a ball of worms trying to keep warm.

How is your moisture content? I looked through some of my saved literature, and couldn't find what the life span of a Red Wiggler is. One thing I have been doing lately is putting all the moisture in one corner of my bin to see what moisture level the little guys prefer. I don't have the results of the experiment yet, but I am finding it much easier to go to the opposite corner to harvest the casings for the garden.

My suggestion is to warm up your bin a more, add some more moisture, and the little guys will get busy reproducing. I have one of those water proof warming pads gardeners use for seedlings and I'm going to start a bin today with it under it for warmth just to see what happens. I have a lot of small worms I am going to put in that bin. I would like to plump them up! I have two modes with my worms (actually 3 if you count fishing with them) Basically, I feed and check them once a week and ignore them. Or I am experimenting and having fun. I don't stress out. They should be low maintenance, high fun!

Jan 12, 2019
Brought them in.
by: Kelly Peterson

I did bring them back into the mud room, which is between house and garage and is heated so 60+ temps all the time. Also gave them some food.

I will add some moisture when food is gone.

Jan 14, 2019
by: Kelly Peterson (northern Wisconsin)

Well checked on the red worms today and found mold growing on the food I just put in there two days ago. That makes two times in a row with mold on the food and the bedding doesn't seem that wet so decided to change out the bedding. sifted thru everything to find only 112 worms in the container where last fall there was over 500. Oh well, start over I guess since I don't need any till March/April at the earliest. Sure would like to know what happened to the rest.

As always thanks Les for all your help.

Jan 14, 2019
by: Chris Stewart

What are you feeding them and in what quantity?

Jan 17, 2019
by: Kelly Peterson (northern Wisconsin)

Been feeding them corn meal or Cricket food, 1 teaspoon sprinkled on top every ten days or so. alternate between the two. Same as what I fed all summer long when they were really exploding.

Anyway, still can not account for the severely diminished quantity other than life span and they disintegrated into the bedding. But that seems contrary to the published life span of 4-5 years.

Oh well, am starting over now.

Jan 17, 2019
Amazingly little food needed!
by: Les Albjerg

Kelly - First off you are feeding them too much! Hard to believe, but if you are getting mold, too much food, and too much water. The Wigglers slow down a lot in the cooler weather.

When it gets below 60 degrees here which means it is getting in the high 30's at night, I cut the food to once every two weeks and maybe an 1/8th of a teaspoon of cricket food, just a dusting. I also mix it in. I like the top 1/8 inch to 1/2 inch of the top to be almost dry. You can over water easy in the winter.

One of my other crazy experiments has been watching my worms in one my scouring containers to see how long they can maintain their healthiness. I just went out and counted, and I have a healthy brood of worms in the bedding. They have not been fed since October 15th. The last time they got 3 tablespoons of water was on December 15th. I put 240 worms in there, and I have fished about 80 of them. I just counted and stopped at 125. I am afraid you are trying too hard Kelly!

Remember, we are growing bait, not composting! Good luck on getting your worms back on track!

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