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Red Wigglers
The Cadillac of Worms

Red Wigglers (Eisenia fetida) have a ton of names. Everything from Georgia Reds to Tiger Worm but regardless as to what you call them, they are heavy eaters and make the best organic fertilizer. These guys can easily consume their weight in food everyday, if the Worm Bin conditions are correctly managed.

Some of the conditions most beneficial for raising Red Wigglers are temperature control and pH, moisture control, feeding regimen, and adequate space or room to grow.

The temperature that is most suitable for the Red Wigglers seem to be in the range of 50 degrees to 80 degrees. Much outside of this range and you may start running into issues. On that note, the pH should be kept between 6.5-7.5. As neutral as possible. This will do a lot for the bin’s health. Not only will the Red Wigglers feel healthy enough to reproduce but likely, there will be less odor from the bin because of the neutral pH level.

A Temperature Gauge in the area where your Red Wigglers are can be a good idea
Quick pH tester for your Worm Bin. Excellent for Red Wigglers.

Moisture control is very important when raising Red Wigglers. It seems simple in concept but controlling it can be more challenging than you think. Depending on what you are using for bedding and feed, controlling the moisture may end up being a daily human input. Example: say you are raising Red Wigglers and have decided to use shredded cardboard and newspaper as a bedding. Then you decide to feed them something like corn meal or a dusty type feed. Its likely that you will be having to water them more often than if you were to use more moist food like vegetable scraps. You may even start seeing your worms shrivel up or they will be leaving the bin looking for water. If the bin becomes too wet, depending on what you have been feeding them, the worm bin could become acidic. So now you have multiple problems and this is tough to correct.

A helpful tool in determining when to water your Red Wigglers.

Speaking of food, the feeding regimen and feedstock in general is pretty complex. Its been said that every living thing on this planet will eventually go through a worm belly. Thats probably correct but nevertheless, Red Wigglers eat. A lot. And they are somewhat picky in what the want. Its not enough to just throw something that was once alive into the worm bin and call it done. If it was once alive, it needs to be in the point of decomposition (or quickly getting there) before the Red Wigglers will feed on it. Some things decompose quicker than others. Vegetable scraps work well, spent coffee grounds, and cold manures to name a few. Stay away from any meat products and dairy here. You will also want to limit the citrus due to throwing off the pH of the bin.

Any of this makes GREAT Red Wigglers
Meat will only invite unwanted pest into your Bin.
Try to limit Citrus because of the pH effect it has.

Red Wiggler worm bins can be everything from Rubbermaid totes to expensive industrial size flow through composters. Some are great and some are labor intensive for the farmer. But one thing I’ve noticed in raising Red Wigglers is once they reach a certain level of population for a whatever container/bin you are using the reproduction will slow. So keep this in mind if you are container farming Red Wigglers. When you harvest your Worm Castings, you want to see a presence of Worm Eggs in the harvest. When this stops and you see plenty of Red Wigglers in your bin still, it may be time to split the herd and start a new worm bin.