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In my area it is very hard to buy a worm that is a good fit for vermicomposting.

There is a vacant lot in my area and I am thinking if gathering worms there might be a good idea?

Questions:

  1. Is it sufficient if I gather worms there?
  2. Will the worms that I gathered survive?
  3. Is it ideal to gather worms instead of buying?

I'm from the Philippines.

  • I get them mailed in. – J. Musser Feb 24 '16 at 20:24
  • Do you have access to a place where you can buy some worm castings? I hear they have worm eggs in them. So, if you put some worm castings in your compost, they may hatch and eventually breed. – Shule Feb 25 '16 at 0:42
9

I actually just started looking into vermicomposting myself over the last summer and got mine set up.

Unfortunately, you won't be able to collect worms from the vacant lot next door. The reason is because the type of earthworms you're going to find in the ground are not composting worms. They're a type that likes to live a solitary life, running around tunnels they've already created, eating bacterial they come across. When you put them in a shallow composting container, then they'll end up dying pretty quickly.

There are actually a couple of types of good composting worms. They are the preferred Eisenia fetida (commonly known as red wiggler, brandling, or manure worm) and European Nightcrawlers (Eisenia hortensis / Dendrobaena veneta).

The red wrigglers are the best, because they work the top 18" or so of soil and like to be piled on top of one another. These are the ones that you'd see "eating" food scraps. They're actually eating the bacteria that are breaking it down. The European Night crawlers don't pile on top of each other like the red wrigglers do, but they go deeper. You could mix the two types in a deeper bin.

Luckily, it's not hard to find either one. They're often sold as fish bait and you might be able to go to a Walmart or gas station and pick up some worms. Just make sure they are European Nightcrawlers and not Canadian. Also, make sure the red wrigglers are Eisenia fetida.

If you can't find them there, you can order 1000 of them from UncleJim'sWormFarm.com. That's where I got my starter batch. You can easily start with just a few worms and propogate them up to a lot. They're self regulating based on amount of food and space.

Also, if you want a lot of good information, go to redwormcoposting.com That's where I learned a lot.

  • 1
    Well, OP is in the Phillipines, which makes jumping over to Walmart or ordering at Uncle Jim's a bit complicated. – Stephie Feb 24 '16 at 16:25
  • I didn't know they were from the Phillipines, but the informational site will still work for them and a quick internets search provide a list of three places that sale composting worms and some of them had vermicomposting kits. You can find them here: cityfarmer.org/wormsupl79.html – Dalton Feb 24 '16 at 18:14
8

If you have a hard time buying them, you could try attracting "the right sort" (rather than digging up the wrong sort) by building an outside compost pile and letting it stew for a while. If you have any local worms that might work, they would occupy the pile.

  • I've found that sprinkling a mixture of coffee grounds and kitchen waste and placing damp newspaper on top can start the process. – Fiasco Labs Feb 25 '16 at 3:11

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