Make Compost Worms Grow Faster And Get BIGGER

“I am [living] in Thailand. I started my worm farm with African Nightcrawlers for about a year. It seem to me like they are not growing fast. What should I do? Do I need to put any stimulizer to enhance the speed of growing up my worm? Please advise. Thanks Best regards” ~ No Name

Hi No Name ;-)

This is a bit of a tough one since I’m not sure how big your worms are, how ‘fast’ they have been growing, or how you have raising them in general. Nevertheless, it’s still a good topic to discuss – there are undoubtedly many others wondering how to make their worms grow faster and get BIGGER.

Let me warn you right off the bat – I don’t have any secret formulas for making worms double in size overnight (and if I did, I probably wouldn’t write about them here), but I do have a little practical advice to share.

In my experience, there are two primary factors responsible for variations in worm size – moisture content (of food, and habitat in general) and of course the nutritional value of the the materials being consumed (Duh!).

Temperature can also play a very important role, particularly in terms of growth speed, but I suspect this isn’t going to be an issue in your case (given your location).

It’s important to keep in mind the fact that worms are basically little cylindrical bags of water surrounded by a semi-permeable membrane. As conditions in a worm bed become drier, it is inevitable that the worms are going to lose moisture as well – thus causing them to shrink in size. If your worms are in open outdoor beds in a hot environment, this could certainly be a significant factor.

Nutritional value of food materials, and more specifically, the availability of highly-nutritious food materials in a worm bed, is extremely important. Essentially, the best food materials are those that support the richest community of microbes. These are typically water-rich materials with a C-to-N ratio between 20:1 and 40:1. Manure is a prime example of an excellent worm ‘food’ – arguably the best. Not all manures are created equal however, and many forms of manure will require some sort of aging / precomposting period.

I know this is going to sound like a serious over-simplification of the issue, but basically it comes down to this – if you can provide your worms with a warm, moisture-rich environment where they have access to unlimited amounts of highly nutritious food, they will almost certainly grow like crazy. (“Gee thanks, Bentley!!” haha) ;-)

Seriously though, it’s amazing how many people forget about the fundamentals of vermicomposting and focus more on trying to track down the ultimate ‘magic’ worm growing foods etc.

Anyway – I could certainly cover this topic in much more detail, but alas, these are supposed to be “short answers” (oops).

Hopefully I’ve at least helped to get you pointed in the right direction.

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