scientific observation and research gives clues to
the usefulness of earthworms. Charles Darwin studied
earthworms for more than 40 years. He said, "Worms
seem to be the great promoters of vegetation, perforating
and loosening the soil, rendering it pervious to rains
and the fibers of plants by drawing straws and stalks
of leaves and twigs into it; and most of all, by throwing
up such infinite numbers of lumps of earth called
worm-casts, which being their excrement, is a fine
manure for grain and grass...the earth without worms
would soon become cold, hard-bound, and void of fermentation,
and consequently sterile."
For composting, Eisenia fetida, the so-called
redworm or "red wiggler-the Cadillac of worms",
is particularly valuable. In nature, these composting
worms tend to be highly localized, thriving in pockets
of highly enriched, organic materials. They will consume
a great variety of organic wastes and excrete "earthworm
castings", a highly valued soil conditioner.
Redworms tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions,
which helps explain their adaptability to a variety
of low-tech and high-tech systems and many climates.
Don't be fooled by high-priced "hybrids",
buying clubs or fancy marketing schemes. ALL REDWORMS
Get the highest quality redworms for your project,
large or small, at the
YelmWorms.com online Store
Optimum conditions for redworms:
5 Tips for starting a large-scale redworm
No self-respecting earthworm farmer passes up an
opportunity to give his or her opinion about the business.
Our opinions are based on a decade of experience.
- Respect the basic biology of the earthworm.
Maintain optimum conditions; feed and moisten well,
and avoid unnecessary experimentation.
- Keep your feed bills low.
Use free sources of food for your earthworms, such
as aged manures, leaves, shredded paper, or grocery
store produce. You may even be able to earn money
helping people solve waste problems.
- Keep it simple.
The earthworms could care less if your bins are
made of new materials or look like construction
masterpieces. When you keep your system simple it
will be easy to feed and water and harvest your
redworms and castings.
- Focus on markets.
It's easy to grow redworms. Spend less time experimenting
with variations on ways of growing redworms and
more time on marketing your products. Focus on the
types of marketing that you enjoy (e.g., nurseries,
workshops, farmers markets, mail-order, internet).
- Invest more in your starter population.
The redworm population is critical. Whether for
vermiculture or vermicomposting, start with as large
a population as you can afford. More redworms will
give you a quicker start, meaning you'll be selling
more products earlier. Other improvements can come
later as you sell products.
Common business applications for redworms
- vermiculture operations (worm farms)
- manure management on farms, especially dairy,
horse, hog, and rabbit farms
- waste reduction at schools, hospitals and other
- large-scale vermicomposting of yard debris, food
waste, or biosolids
- soil improvement on organic farms using vermicompost
- compost tea production using vermicompost
- redworm protein production for fish or poultry
Resources for worm farming
• Bulk redworms
to start your project
• “Commercial Vermiculture:guidebook"
• Earthworm Ecology
• Stockton videos
• ARR video
• Continuous-flow video