By Teresa J. Frith
If you have a garden then one of the best things you can do for it is to feed it via high grade organic fertilizer through composting with worms. Yes, worms are fantastic for composting and produce their weight in castings, aka worm poop, daily.
Composting is a method of speeding up the natural decaying process of organic materials and converting it into fertilizer. You use materials like shredded leaves, grass clippings, other plant parts, vegetable and fruit scraps (except for citrus fruits), coffee grounds, and egg shells. However, never use things like meat, fish, dairy, fats, human or pet waste or some breeds of flowers, such as peonies and roses.
The worms live in a bin of shredded newspaper or cardboard, soil or other materials, which is kept moist (but not soaking wet). They eat the materials listed above and leave their castings behind. The way this occurs is the worms suck up the organic materials and store them in their gizzards, then this breaks down and the worms use what they need for themselves, and the rest is extracted through their intestines as castings.
Since worms and plants don’t need the same kind of nutrients, the plants get the benefit of what’s left. The worms also help to aerate the soil via their tunneling process, which loosens the dirt and makes it easier for plants to grow their roots and get what they need to survive.
Here are the best worms for composting:
Two of the best worms for composting are red wrigglers and redworms. That’s because they like to live close to the surface of the ground, while other breeds, such as some types of earthworms, live deep underground so don’t work as well for composting. A few other good worms for composting include tiger worms (also known as brandling or trout worms), and the African earthworm.
Red Wigglers – These are very common worms that live in several places all over the world. They are used both for composting as well as for fish bait. They are very resilient and can tolerate a wide range of temperatures between 55 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Plus they are easy to breed and don’t require a lot of maintenance to keep once you get started.
Red worms-- Red worms are very adaptable, can live in a wide temperature range of between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, live in colonies, need a moist environment, are easy to breed, and can eat about three times their weight in a week. Thus they can produce a goodly amount of castings for use as fertilizer.
Tiger Worms – These worms get their name from the stripes across their bodies. They can be found just about anywhere in the world. They are very hardy, thrive best in temperatures between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit and can’t survive if it gets around 90 degrees Fahrenheit or above. They require a very moist environment, so need dirt with between 43 and 90 percent water. They are known to take a bit more time to digest the organic materials but still work well as a composting choice.
African Nightcrawlers— These are a reddish yellow color and are quite hardy. They originated in Africa but can now be found all over the world. Besides composting, they are used for fishing, as well as in some kinds of medical services. These worms eat around 150 percent of their weight every day so a pound of them could work their composting magic by processing up to one and a half pounds of compost daily. They are a bit less desirable than the previous worms mentioned though because they can die if the temperature gets down to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and need to live in soil between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
All in all, if you are an avid gardener you can do yourself a big favor via building or purchasing a worm composting bin and putting a few pounds of these types of worms to help you obtain fresh, all-natural and best of all free fertilizer. Worm Bucket is one of the best worm bins you can purchase. Buy one by clicking this link.