How To Care For Earthworms: Breeding Feeders
Worms are great pets. Why? Well, they are low maintenance. They live underground, and you do not have to worry much about food. All you can do is place them in a worm box, a window box, a worm farm, or even a potted plant or the garden. As for food, you can give them anything edible, like vegetable scraps, and even your leftovers. This article will surely be a great help if you start on how to care for earthworms.
There are two famous kinds of earthworms you can keep as pets: the red wrigglers and the European nightcrawlers. They are cousins. There is not much of a difference between the two, except their size. European nightcrawlers are bigger than the red wrigglers. They are both great for composting or vermicomposting. You can also use them as fish bait when you go on fishing trips with the family!
Worm Bin and Bedding
The first thing you need to know on how to care for earthworms, of course, is to know where to place them. I have mentioned that you can place them in a potted plant, but you can give them properly by giving them their exclusive place, like a plastic container. You can find one that is perfect in stores. Since earthworms prefer the dark, your plastic container should be solid or translucent. Wash it properly and drill 1/16-inch holes around the side (for aeration) before adding the bedding.
As for the bedding, most worm owners prefer to use peat moss or coir or coconut fiber bedding. You can find these in any gardening supply center. All you have to do is soak it overnight, with the ideal 60% moisture, then place it in the worm bin. Make sure the depth is six to seven inches. Once you have done this, you are ready to place your earthworms!
Food and Feeding Your Worms
Your earthworms will be fat and healthy if you give them a proper diet. You can give them a chicken starter or laying mash. You can also use coffee grounds but feed them these sparingly. The laying mash is better because of higher protein content. You can find and buy these in large pet stores.
In feeding them, sprinkle the mash lightly on top of the bedding. Remember how to care for earthworms; it is better to put in little food that too much. Your earthworms eat all the time, so you add food if it is completely gone. Lightly spray the mash to allow your worms to consume it easily.
Other Things to Consider
Of course, there are also other essential matters you have to consider besides their container and their food to care for earthworms. These things are:
Earthworms can tolerate a range of temperatures, but the ideal temperature for your earthworms is between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. European nightcrawlers' ideal range is between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Always remember, do not put your worm bins under direct sunlight or a place where they can freeze. Your basement or under the kitchen sink are great places to keep your bin.
Earthworms need oxygen. They absorb it through their bodies. Every week or two weeks, lightly toss the bedding so that the one at the bottom can be on top.
Never, ever mix the food into the bedding. The mixing of food can cause acid buildup due to the breaking down of protein into the peat, which can be detrimental to your worms.
If you find that your worm bedding is getting dry, you can lightly spray water into it. Always remember, 60% ideal moisture helps your worms survive and easily burrow into the bedding.
Now you know how to care for earthworms. See how easy and low maintenance they are? The only thing left for you to do is to apply the things you have learned so that you can grow healthy worms!
Remember that there are two popular kinds of earthworms you can take care of, and there are multiple things you must consider first before putting them in your worm bin and bedding. Just make sure you are familiar with these things, especially on how you feed them. Never overfeed them. I am sure that once you master these things, you will be able to grow many worms that you can use for composting, vermicomposting, and even for fish bait.
Earthworms are your friends, especially if you have been into organic gardening for the longest time. If you are still starting as a garden enthusiast, then know that earthworms are incredibly beneficial in keeping your garden alive and healthy.