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Raising Earthworms

A Beginner’s Guide to Raising Earthworms

Raising earthworms can prove to be a profitable and fulfilling practice. Not only can you raise earthworms to sell as fishing bait, but you can also use them as a food source for other animals you may have, such as chickens, birds, or lizards. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about raising earthworms as a beginner.

The first thing you need to learn about raising earthworms is the amount of time and responsibility you will need to dedicate to them. The soil must be maintained to provide the optimum amount of moisture as well as oxygen. The temperature should also be maintained to a comfortable degree. However, other than getting the “farm” set up initially, and maintaining the water, food, and temperature levels, there isn’t a great deal left for you to do!

The first things you will need to do is buy the “equipment” needed to set up your earthworm farm. The amount and type of equipment you use is completely dependent upon how large you want your farm to be and where you are going keep it. Your farm can exist either outdoors or indoors, but there will be different responsibilities associated with both scenarios. Either way, you have to start off with a bin or an enclosure for your worms. The size of the enclosure needs to be fairly roomy, but that too is subject to how many worms you start out with. If your worm bin is going to be placed outside, try to keep it out of direct sunlight. This not only prevents the soil from becoming too warm in the summer but sunlight can put worms in danger of drying out. Wood makes a very good material for the structure as it allows plenty of oxygen into the bin. As plastic is not very good at aerating the soil, it is recommended that you steer clear of this material. Many people find that having a wide container with a short width allows much more oxygen flow in the soil as opposed to a deep bucket, which would restrict airflow deep in the container, where the worms are most likely found.

The next item on the list is soil. The soil you use should be fairly good quality to produce optimum breeding among your earthworms. You want something that has very little clay or sand present—mostly a good brown dirt will suffice. Fill the container about two thirds of the way up with your chosen soil. Now, you need to prepare the soil for the earthworms, and that means adding food. Many people are unaware that earthworms actually feed off of the microorganisms that are present in the soil. You can add these microorganisms by mixing carrot and apple peels, lettuce, and grass cuttings to the soil. Give it a good mix so that the earthworms are encouraged to spread out. The soil will need to be covered with something to keep the light out. A good layer of leaves or grass cuttings work well for this, but you can also use cardboard.

Now it is time to add the worms. The type of worm you choose to farm is completely up to you. Red worms are most popular if you plan to sell the soil. If you want to sell your worms as fishing bait, look into purchasing or hunting for common night crawlers. Adding your worms to their new home is a simple process—just dump them onto the soil!

You will need to maintain the moisture and temperature levels, as we mentioned before. If your farm is located outside and you notice that the soil has become downright wet, then add some dry soil to it. Your worms can die if the soil is too wet. If the soil has become too dry, just add water to it. As for the temperature, you can place a tarp over the bin in an attempt to keep the soil a bit warmer. Ideally, worms are at their best when the temperature is between 60 – 70 degrees F.

After a few months, the soil should be great for “harvesting” as enriched planting soil. Simply scoop up the dirt, pick out the worms, and place it in a bag or container. If you want to harvest the worms, you should wait spring—after the worm farm is at least a year old. Be careful not to take out ALL of the adult worms, as this can sometimes leave an overabundance of baby worms that are simply too young to reproduce.  

As you can see, the initial investment isn’t very large if you’re looking for a small scale farm, and the work isn’t overly enduring, either. Raising earthworms is definitely something you can do in conjunction with another job or aside from other work you have going on. Congratulations on your new endeavor and best of luck, farmer!


 

 


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