Vermicomposting uses earthworms to turn kitchen wastes into nutritious soil amendment quickly and effectively. Vermicompost worms decompose organic materials like kitchen scraps into castings, which are waste products.
Although worm castings are a waste product for them, they are a gold mine for gardeners. Compared to ordinary compost, vermicompost is higher in key plant nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Microbes that aid plant growth is also present.
What Are The Best Composting Worms?
The following are the best Composting worms available:
In the United States and Canada, the Red Wiggler (Eisenia Fetida) is by far the most popular and widely available composting worm. The Red Wiggler, like most epigeic worms, is smaller and weaker, with a yellowish tail and body banding.
The red wiggler is the best choice for vermicomposters since it reproduces quickly, can function in a variety of temperatures (55-95°F), and is less expensive to buy than other species. When buying Red Wigglers, expect to get between 800-1000 worms per pound, with most retailers charging $30-35 per pound, including shipping.
The Red Wiggler’s bigger cousin is the European Nightcrawler (Eisenia Hortensis). It enjoys a somewhat chilly temperature, so it’s a backup option, but it’s still a good composter.
The “Euro” is big enough to be used as a fishing worm, although it reproduces slowly. When buying European Nightcrawlers, expect to receive 300-400 worms per pound. You may expect to pay between $35 and $40 per pound.
Indian or Malaysian Blue
The Indian Blue (Perionyx Excavatus) is sometimes mistaken for the Red Wiggler and sold to unwary buyers as such. It likes warmer, more tropical settings despite being a voracious composting worm.
It’s also quite sensitive to variations in barometric pressure, so a mass evacuation (or attempted evacuation) in reaction to an incoming thunderstorm is not unusual. The Urban Worm Bag’s zipped top and bottom avoid wholesale jailbreaks if your worms panic out like this.
Because most worm farmers in the United States do not purposefully culture the Indian Blue, it is difficult to find them. However, if you can find a store that offers them, you should expect to pay between $800 and $1,000 per pound.
The African Nightcrawler (Eudrilus Eugeniae) is a big composting worm that may go a little deeper into the compost than other worms. African Nightcrawler worm castings are exceedingly granular and appealing (to the extent that worm excrement can be considered attractive).
However, “ANCs” need significantly warmer temperatures and can start dying at 60°F, making them inappropriate for lower climates without climate control. Because African Nightcrawlers and Red Wigglers work at various levels, some of my Urban Worm Company customers tell me that they utilize both species in the Urban Worm Bag to great success. Expect to pay $35 per pound for around 300-400 worms.
The Alabama or Georgia Jumper
The Alabama/Georgia Jumper (Amynthas Gracilis), which is native to tropical Asia, functions well for composting in tropical and subtropical climates. Aside from that, this giant worm species can reach a length of 4 to 6 inches. Temperatures varying from 45 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit are likewise no problem for it (but these jumpers generally like temperatures that are below 70 to 80).
Which Worms Are Best For Gardens?
Among seasoned gardeners, Red Wiggler Worms are frequently sought for. Although nightcrawler worms can be employed, most experts think that red wigglers are the most productive at processing organic waste.
How Many Worms Should I Get for Composting?
Start with 1-3 pounds of worms if you have a tiny compost container. Consider acquiring 10-50 pounds if you have bigger compost containers or piles. Because most composting worms, such as red wigglers, can double their number every 60 days, you can begin with a few pounds and gradually increase your population.