What are Red Wigglers?
Red Wigglers (Eisenia foetida) are also known as branding worms, manure worms, fishing worms, and of course they are best known as compost worms, because of their amazing ability to consume and break down food waste, newspaper, cardboard, leaves, grass clippings and so much more, keeping those materials out of our local landfills and reducing greenhouse gases and all the while assisting to keep our beautiful planet healthy and whole!
But how do they do all of this?
When your food scraps pile up, don’t throw them out anymore. Get yourself some Red Wigglers. They only grow to an average of 2-4 inches in length, and are about half the size of a number 2 pencil when fully grown, but don’t call them little or non equipped when it comes to devouring food scraps and waste!! When these guys group together, they become a voracious force, consuming anything in their path.
Literally tons of vegetable scraps and food waste is recycled by GA Wigglers Worm Farm each year employing these little rascals to do the work. These hungry worms will eat one bite at a time, until the food in front of them is turned right back into soil, which is called worm castings, (worm poop), which is in turn one of the best soil amendments on earth! Worm castings are 12-15% richer in phosphates, 10-12% richer in nitrogen, and 10-12% richer in potash than the average soil. This valuable substance is a result of your food waste, so don't supply local land fills with your waste, give it to some of your very own red wigglers!
By far, these guys are the best gardeners on the planet, and will only assist with all your gardens, grow beds and lawns! Decrease waste, decrease your carbon footprint, and increase organic and all natural growing production all at the same time! These worms may be small, but provide a large service to our Earth!
Can’t I use other worms for this?
Yes, other types of worms can be used for all of the same reasons as the Red Wiggler worm. A lot of folks use European Nightcrawlers, African Nightcrawlers, Alabama Jumpers and the Blue Worm. All of these worms are great composters and that’s our main goal with all of our worm families - to reduce waste and greenhouse gases.
What are worm castings?
Also known as "worm poo", worm castings are one of nature's most potent all natural fertilizers & soil amendments. When worms ingest their food they excrete the worm casting. Castings not only enhance the growth of gardens, grow beds, lawns, plants, fruit trees, etc, but also strengthens the root ball and stalk enhancing lustrous green leaves and providing one of the finest tasting fruits or vegetable. The rich, nutrient filled castings assist in replenishment of the soil which with the use of commercial fertilizers are broken down compromising optimal growth and taste.
What is vermiculture?
Vermiculture is a 4-syllable word for poop! Vermiculture is "The raising and production of earthworms and their by-products". Earthworms are masters at turning waste vegetation into an all natural, nutrient filled soil amendment. The technical name for this soil amendment is "Worm Castings", and considered by those in the know as the best soil amendment available.
What is composting?
Composting is an art. It is very simple, yet complex if certain guidelines are not followed. This is why we added training workshops teaching the many benefits that come from this age old concept of recycling, while composting countless materials.
Our intention is to educate you on how to compost and recycle and while doing so assisting to reduce your carbon footprint and all the while enjoying valuable benefits from your composting ventures at the same time.
Not only are you keeping literally hundreds and maybe even thousands of pounds of waste materials out of your local landfill by composting and recycling, but you are generating valuable, nutrient filled composted soil for your gardens and grow beds! So it's a win-win all the way around full circle and recycled!
Maybe a class would help me understand.
What about schools and camps?
Absolutely! We host our School Workshops hands on inside classrooms teaching conventional composting, vermicomposting, recycling, and worm farming.
What is Josh's Cans?
JOSH'S CANS is a nonprofit that we launched in memory of our son who lost his battle with addiction in 2018.
10% of sales from all of our GA Wigglers Worm Farm products go directly to Josh's Cans. We also produce and sell arts, crafts & products made here at our farm to further assist our cause. If you see a product on our site or at any of our events marked with "Josh's Cans", then you know 100% of that sale goes to Josh's Cans.
These donations go directly to fighting substance abuse and homelessness within and around our beautiful city of Atlanta GA. See our mission and learn more here.
Can you ship live worms any time of the year?
Yes! But, please note that in extreme temperature conditions, it is your responsibility to have the post office hold your worms for personal pick-up. See all of our shipping policies here.
Can I pick my items up at your farm?
Absolutely! In-farm pickup is free of charge. Simply chose "in-farm pick up" for your shipping option during checkout. See all of our shipping policies here.
Do you offer local delivery?
Absolutely! We offer free local delivery within a 10 mile radius from the farm. Please contact us directly to arrange delivery beyond that radius.
What is compost tea?
Worm compost tea is one of the best ways to fertilize your gardens and grow beds more effectively and frugally. Even though the worm castings are one of the most effective ways to fertilize and replenish your soil for optimum growth, you can brew your own worm compost tea and therefore instantly add valuable micro and macro nutrients into your plants root system in a liquid form, versus not having to wait on the worm castings to break down with rain or watering, It's an instant feed source! Plus worm castings can become very expensive if you are treating larger grow beds or gardens, and the compost tea bags go a lot further for your money. A definite win-win!!
Each worm compost tea bag will brew 5-gallons of all natural liquid fertilizer/soil amendment, and will treat up to 20 plants, according to their size and age.
What other equipment and supplies do I need for this?
The materials needed to set up a worm bin, the home for your worms, are rather simple and inexpensive. Basic supplies consist of a suitable container to house the worms, bedding, water, food, a light source, and of course, the worms.
Tell me about this worm bin.
The worm bin can be as simple as a plastic container or something of a more solid structure such as a wooden or concrete structure. Depending on the scale you plan to raise your worms, the size of your bin may be from a 16-quart plastic container to hundreds of square feet in an outdoor structure.
Based on the outcome desired, example for fish bait or the worm castings, this will determine the size container and the amount of worms needed.
The earthworm requires three basic needs - water, air and a food source. The general "rule of thumb" for worm castings is for every square foot of surface area, use one pound of worms, which is approximately 1000 red worms, so to provide adequate space for the worm to move around to feed and breed effectively. Earthworms prefer darkness because out of captivity they eat at night.
After you have your bin chosen, drill small holes (approximately 1/8" inch) around the sides, just below the top edge for aeration and in the bottom to drain excess moisture.
What about the bedding?
The most readily available and common used material for use as earthworm substrate (bedding) is all natural peat moss.
Place peat moss in a large container and add water while mixing it. You will find that the peat moss can be quite difficult to soak, because it tends to float at first. Be sure that you soak all of the peat, as it doesn’t easily absorb water and needs to be wet evenly and thoroughly. Squeeze "wring" out excess water. Peat moss should be very moist with only a few drops of water coming out.
It is preferable to let the peat moss soak at least 24 hours before introducing your worms to their new home.
An increasingly popular alternative to peat moss is coir bedding, available in brick form or packaged. Coir is coconut fiber and it is sold here at our Worm Farm as a bedding as well. Soak it as you would soak your peat moss bedding and ring it out accordingly, leaving approximately 75% of the moisture within the coir. The ideal moisture content for earthworm bedding is leaving the moisture level approximately 60-75%.
You can also use shredded newspaper & cardboard for bedding and as a feed source, and it's practically FREE and in abundance for the taking. We get truck loads of newspaper & cardboard from one of our local recycle stations. After shredding, soak and ring out just like you would the peat moss.
Another optional bedding is composted manures (cow, horse, dairy, goat and horse) are all great manures to bed your worms in and it's also a feed source for them as well.
You are now ready to add the worms to your bin. Add worms and the worms will immediately begin "bedding down". Bedding depth should be between 4-6 inches according to amount of worms you start with. Worms should be completely gone down into the bedding within 15-30 minutes and making themselves a new home.
We always recommend that you wait at least 24 hours before adding a feed source such as, laying mash, cornmeal and even food waste to your worm beds/bins. If manures are used, that is considered their initial feed source, but more manure will need to be added after the initial manure is turned into castings.
What do I feed the worms?
Healthy, fat and meaty earthworms are the result of feeding them a well balanced diet. Some common sources of food is chicken laying mash and corn meal. Generally, the laying mash has a higher protein content and will give your worms their needed supplements.
Lightly sprinkle the mash/cornmeal on the top of the bedding and wet it in with a vegetable sprayer or spray bottle. It is better to put smaller amounts than too much at first and then gradually increase your food until your earthworms are consuming all the feed within a 24 hour period. Never feed them until all the previous food is completely gone.
You can also feed your worms table scraps, but don't feed them any meats, oils/greases, dairy products or acidic waste. They are vegetarians basically, so feed them lots of vegetable scraps and peels. Also you can add in some coffee grounds, eggshells, tea bags, potato peelings, apple cores and more! Our success with feeding food waste is we always feed in the center of our beds/bins, therefore keeping the composted heat centralized, and then wet it in accordingly and cover . . the worms do the rest.
If you plan to harvest your worms do so before you feed or after all the food has been eaten. Do not harvest with food in your bin. Never mix your grain food sources into the bedding. Mixing grain feed into the bedding will cause a condition, known as "protein poisoning", which is a build-up of acid within the bedding caused by the decomposition of the food. If you notice your earthworms laying around lethargic or even dying, it is highly possibly to be a result of protein poisoning and you will need to remove the worms from the old bedding immediately. Start with fresh, new bedding.
What is the general maintenance for the worms?
Do not leave your worm bin/bed in direct sunlight or rain. Even though they can withstand hot and cold temperatures, you should always try and keep them within the temperatures of 55-75 degrees.
Every other week, you should lightly turn the worm bed to introduce proper airflow into your system. Since earthworms absorb oxygen and moisture through their skin, this process allows sufficient oxygen to be throughout the bedding and also minimize the second common cause of worm death, due to an anaerobic condition, meaning not enough air is flowing within your system. If the earthworm bedding appears to be dry, lightly spray water and fluff the bedding, but do not saturate.
You will soon discover that earthworms are extremely easy to raise and breed. One of the best things about raising and breeding your own worms is that you get to compost all your table scraps, coffee and tea grounds, cardboard, newspaper, leaves, grass clippings helping to lessen your carbon footprint on our planet, keeping your scraps and waste out of your local landfill and you get to generate your very own worm castings for all your growing and gardening needs.