Today I screened a pound of worms for a customer and thought that a blog about the value of redworms in the composting process would be a good next topic. About nine years ago I purchased a pound of redworms. After the initial investment there was no further cost as these little suckers multiply on their own. Once they are added to a compost bin system, they are there forever (as long as you have at least one bin with some material in it for them to migrate to).
Redworms (or red wigglers), are different then earthworms. Redworms do not live in the soil as they live in leaf litter, compost piles and manure piles. They are small worms but they eat their weight in dead organic matter daily. Their castings (nice name for poop), are a very sought after fertilizer source. As I am into trying to produce all my own compost without having to buy any fertilizer; worm castings and chicken manure are my nutrient sources for the plants through the composting process.
For many years I have used a wooden worm box to keep a supply of redworms to eat all my kitchen scraps. I don’t add any dairy or meat scraps due to smell and rodent issues and the worms don’t like citrus fruit peels so I throw those in the regular compost bin. Vegetable scraps, egg shells and coffee grounds are the preferred food sources for the worm bin. I keep the bin by the side garage door which makes it convenient to dump the kitchen scraps that I save during the week. The worms happily work through the winter (as long as you mulch the box well with about eight inches of leaves for insulation). In the spring there is a supply of worm casting rich compost from the box. It is not a huge amount but I use it to fertilize my roses and fruit trees.
The chicken love to dig the compost for the worms and it cuts down on the feed costs when the chickens are full of worms. The eggs seem to taste even better and have richer colored yokes when the chickens are out eating bugs, grass and worms.
I get so many worms that I am able to sell some with my compost bin business. All in all redworms are great employees and they work cheap. Just throw a pound of worms in the compost bins or worm box, feed them organiz matter and they will do the rest for you.