Raise Your Own Earthworms                                                
Aqualand’s inside info on Lumbricus species

 
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Misc Frogs V

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Cat-N-Around Cat Club 2007 Annual Show
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Parrot Pictures
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Dave's Parrots


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Misc Lizards 6
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Misc Lizards 10


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Earthworms
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White Clouds

 

Decorating
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How to Start
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10 Questions to Ask
What is Ich?
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Pet World Visit
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Onion
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Watersprite

Different Watersprite

Earthworm Factoids

Origin

Most soils with organic matter

Temperature

Room temp fine.  Dont refrigerate.

Foods

Shredded organic matter

Container

Large covered container

Wastes 

Excellent addition to your garden

LA Pic
You need to wash your earthworms.  These are nightcrawlers.
    
      

Earthworms live in the earth -- but not just any earth.  If it’s too wet, too dry, too sandy, or too hot, they go some place else (usually straight down) or die.

LA Pic
Delicious red wiggler earthworms from the backyard.

Best Worms.  Your best worms are the young worms you dig up in the spring when spading your garden.  They are the best size for feeding to most fishes and taste the best (take our word for it, no need to try this at home).  You have to dig these yourself.  Occasionally, they are sold at bait houses.

 

Worst Worms.  The nastiest worms are those stinky, little red worms with yellow guts sold as compost makers.  These stinky worms (also known as dung worms) smell even worse if you break them in half.  They even make terrible fish bait.  You buy these through the mail.  (And you can make thousands of dollars of extra income selling them to other would be worm farmers.)  You may not grow filthy rich raising worms, but you can achieve the filthy part of that goal.  At least it’s good clean dirt.

LA Pic
Tasty nightcrawlers from the bait house.  Refrigerate them.

LA Pic
Big barbs like nightcrawlers.

LA Pic
Big froggies love nightcrawlers.

LA Pic
Even big eaters love nightcrawlers.

Biggest Worms.  Nightcrawlers make great treats for big fishes and amphibians.  (Or you can cut them up for smaller fishes.  Freeze them first to make your job easier.)  Or, got a blender?  

LA Pix Ground up worms make great wormsicles.

Perfect Earth.  Your backyard garden contains the soil the tastiest worms prefer.  The secret?  Lots of tasty organic matter for the worms to eat.  Organic matter also makes the soil easier to crawl through.  The worms are already there.  You just need to dig the little wigglers up.  Unfortunately, these conditions exist for only two or three months during the spring and a couple months during the fall.

Extending the Season.  As the sun comes out more hours, the ground warms up and dries out.  If you can provide any kind of shade, you can extend your worm season by two months.  Even simple sheets of cardboard on the top of the soil will make a big difference -- especially with your neighbors.

Prevent Dry Conditions.  As your soil dries out, worms tunnel straight down to the cooler and moister layers in the subsoil.  They will ball up and loaf there until sufficient rains bring them to the surface again.  If you lightly water your worms (don’t drown them), you can keep them in the topsoil longer.

Provide a Mulch.  In addition to providing overall shade, you need to mulch the earth with a variety of organic materials.  Mulches keep the soil moister and provide food to the little wigglers.

 

Use a Variety of Mulches.  Any single type of mulch has its own disadvantages.  For instance, grass clippings mat down, smell bad, and give off enough ammonia to repel most worms.  Leaves, on the other hand, also mat together and take forever to break down.  Wood shavings are nearly indestructible (they do break down over the winter) and are totally inedible.  Any single one of these mulches does a terrible job of encouraging worm growth.

Combine Them.  But if you mix any of these separate substances together, you get a synergistic effect.  They work really well together when you combine different types of mulches.  Just by raking these different mulches together or running them through your lawn mower, you can keep them from forming an impenetrable layer on the surface.

Table Scraps.  Some people feed their worms table scraps.  Worms have a very small mouth.  Unless you shred your table scraps, you’re really feeding your backyard raccoons.  Coffee grounds are about the right size.  Strew them about rather than making a big lump.  Rake them into your soil or mulch.

Commercial Worm Food.  Harry (our Aqualand worm supplier) feeds his worms finely ground corn meal, oat meal, and cereal.

LA Pic
Part of Harry's earthworm farm.  Worms can't climb up the steep sides.

LA Pic
View of one of his earthworm beds after stirring.

LA Pic
We're lazy.  Here's Harry bringing us 20 packs of 36 earthworms.

Harvesting.  Unfortunately, you have to harvest worms by hand.  So live worms will never replace frozen foods in popularity.

LA Pic
When you rummage thru the dirt, you might spy these earthworm eggs.

LA Pic
More worm eggs to continue the population.

Storage.  If you dig your own, keep your extra worms in the fridge with a bit of extra dirt.  (Those little yogurt containers are great.)  This could be the deciding factor in whether you feed these tasty critters or not.  Not everyone wants to keep live earthworms with their family food.  Refrigerate nightcrawlers.  Do not refrigerate red wigglers.  LA.

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