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What breed of worms can I put directly into my garden?

UserPost

12:29 am
May 2, 2012


Bob Shoaf

Member

posts 4

My garden has lots of dried horse manure tilled into it.  It has been 9-10 months since the horses were wormed, so this isn't a problem.  I'm very selective whose manure I get.  The horses have been feed good quality alfalfa, minimal weed seed.  No first cuttings.

 

I've tried Alabama Jumpers, but they seemed to have died immediately.  They wouldn't go down into the ground, so died when it warmed up.  Maybe some did survive, but many didn't.  I'm currently raising Red Wigglers and have been very successful.  I'd like to raise a breed that I can put into my garden.

 

If there is such a animal, could I raise them in a bin that had Red Wigglers too?

 

Thanks mucho,

 

Bob  LaughLaughLaugh   

3:17 am
May 6, 2012


Philip Rock

Member

posts 43

Bob – As far as I know (which admittedly isn't all that muchEmbarassed) composting worms only 'hang out' in the upper layers of soil that contains a large amount of decomposing matter and a high moisture content.  This does not describe the conditions found in typical garden soils.  Composting worms are considered 'epigeic' – that is, living in the uppermost layers under the conditions I just described. 

It sounds to me like you are after 'endogeic' species – these are the worms that live in the top several inches of typical soils.  As I think I implied to you in a previous post, "if you build it, they will come".  I mean to say that by doing exactly what you are doing and enriching your soil the way you have been, the 'endogeic' worm species will find you. It is unlikely you will ever see extremely large populations of these types or worms – certainly not like we are accustomed to seeing with Red Wigglers in well-maintained composting bins.

I am not aware of people who are breeding endogeic species (perhaps there are other people who do…Mr. Duncan Carver…do you want to chime in here???) – it sounds to me like an area worthy of research and development and a niche market to tap into! 

 

Here is a link to an informative article on composting worms from the County of Los Angeles Countywide Smart Gardening Program – perhaps it will help:  http://ladpw.org/epd/sg/tech_s…..c_info.pdf

 

Good luck to you Bob!  Philip Rock

12:32 pm
May 6, 2012


Bob Shoaf

Member

posts 4

Thanks Philip for the info.  I suspect you are correct.  I purchased Alabama Jumpers from a person who felt they were the best ones to put directly into the garden.  I did keep the top moist and the soil near (within a few inches of them) was pretty moist from the drip irrigation system.

As you suggested, I'll continue to build up the soil over the years and this will bring the ordinary earth worms in small numbers.

 

Thanks again,

 

Bob

12:32 pm
May 7, 2012


Philip Rock

Member

posts 43

Sure thing Bob – I've been doing a little reading on worms (it beats grading exams!).  It sounds like the worm species you want is Lumbricus rubellus.  This seems to be a type of 'combo' worm, kind of in between a true composting (epigeic) worm and an endogeic worm.  It is said to move horizontally in the upper layers of soil and help with aeration and nutrient mixing – just the kind of thing you want in a garden. In the Worm Farming Secrets book, Duncan Carver and Bentley Christie don't seem to think too much of this species for composting.  I don't know where you will find a source for this worm.  It is said to be one of the more common species in the soil where I live (Virginia).  Like its bigger cousin – the 'Canadian Nightcrawler', it is an introduced species – having come from Europe a long time ago.  Perhaps you might be able to find some by digging around in a meadow or a field and try introducing them into your garden.  Heck, it probably wouldn't hurt to add to your garden any and all worms you can find digging around in nice soil!

2:41 pm
May 7, 2012


Bob Shoaf

Member

posts 4

You're right.  I'll check out the species Lumbricus rubellus.

 

Thanks,

 

BobLaughLaughLaugh


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