I guess one question is, why grow earthworms? There are several reasons I can think of.
- They are good for the soil becuse they help the soil to breath and stay loose
- They break down soil so are good in compost piles
- The worm castings (fertilizer) make great additions to soil and make a great fertilizer tea
- If you fish you have an instant supply of bait
The most popular earthworms to raise are the red worm, which are smallest worm in size but the easiest to raise; and the night crawler, which is the largest worm in size and makes great fish bait.
You can either but the worms from a reputable dealer or have the fun of hunting for them. Red worms are usually purchased from a worm dealer as young worms and eggs. Night crawlers can be found after dark on the edge of lawns or under boards and rocks. They are easy to find after it rains.
You can raise earthworms indoors or outdoors. Use a large tub with drainage for indoors. For raising them outdoors, cut the bottom out of the large tub. Bury part of the tub in the ground. The tub keeps the earthworms contained and will keep animals from disturbing them.
Its important to keep worms damp and in darkness. This is the condition they thrive in. Feed the worms organic matter like compost, grass, leaves, manure, and kitchen scraps. Be careful with the kitchen scraps. If you use items that rot instead of decomposes you will attract flies, which will lay eggs and contaminate the soil.
Place the organic matter on top of the tub. The worms will crawl up to feed and then burrow down into the dirt when they are finished.
You will need to feed the earthworms once a week. Feed them 4 ounces of food per cubic foot of space a week. Every time you feed the worms remember to moisten the soil. Take care though not to add so much water that it puddles. Worms may drown in standing water.
You will need to cover the tub where your earthworms live. This keeps the moisture inside the container and provides the dark that they like. Keep the temperature between 60 and 65 degrees F. This is the temperature range in which worms thrive. In the summer you may have to move your worm tub to make sure it stays cool.
The lazy mans way to raise worms
If you have farm animals and a large manure pile throw a few found worms in the pile and ignore. They will multiply, get the food from the hay and barn matter you add to the pile. If it’s too warm they will burrow down into the pile away from the heat of the sun and rain will supply them with enough water. You loose a few worms this way by them wandering off but there is no effort in the process.
I also grew earthworm under my rabbit pens one year and they thrived. I just used a tub and occasionally added a little water. These worn were later added to the compost pile or my nephew used them for fishing.
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