Home Sweet Home
Elizabeth Dacombe

Any container will work, such as a wide mouthed plastic tub or stout boxes. If you make a wooden bin, it should be tightly constructed, so the worms cannot escape. Drainage should be provided by means of a few small holes or narrow cracks in the bottom of each bin. Cover the bottom with cardboard or newspaper, which can be renewed from time to time. It is advisable to provide a false bottom made of lath to reinforce the bottom of the bin and make the damp compost come away clean when it is dumped. Your bin will require a free flow of air around it as well as temperatures in the 60 to 80f range.

Care and Feeding of Redworms
Falls Brook Centre

The Bounty
The nutrient rich vermicompost may be stored in containers in a cool dark place to be added to any garden projects or as a cure for sickly house plants. To harvest the castings, place the bin under a bright light or sunlight. Using your hands, gather the contents of the bin into a pyramid shape. The worms, disliking the light, will go the bottom. As this happens, start removing the vermicompost until you are left with a small ball of worms and a bit of bedding. Should their be any excess moisture in the bottom of the bin, it can be saved and used on house plants.

The Bedding
In the bottom of each box spread a layer or two of burlap (old gunny sack) or a one inch layer of alfalfa, straw or dry leaves to aid drainage and provide supplementary feed. Damp, hand-shredded newspapers can also be used. Soil, manure or compost is useful to add, as it provides grit for the worms digestive systems.

The Food
Feeding once or twice a week is sufficient, rather than every day. Large amounts of unchopped waste will take longer than partially chopped and decomposed material. Large amounts of citrus and potato scraps should not be put in together as they will take too long to break down. Some wastes can be put through a blender to create a worm milkshake - a treat your worms will enjoy.

The Do’s
fruits and vegetables, coffee grounds and filters, tea bags, bread, egg shells, any vegetable matter
The Don’ts
meat and bones, salt, vinegar, cooking oils, dairy products, rhubarb leaves
Water
Well water is fine, so is distilled water. However it is best to let city water stand for 24 hours to allow chlorine to evaporate. Never use water from a water softening system as the salts will kill your worms.

Odor and pests
An unpleasant odor in the bin or mould on the surface of the bedding are caused by any one or a combination of the following: overfeeding, not burying the food properly, food scattered carelessly throughout the bin, moisture build up. Sometimes large pieces of unchopped organics or insufficient covering of the food can attract fruit flies. Non-toxic sticky pest strips can be placed in the bin.

Everything you ever wanted to know about redworms
Elizabeth Dacombe

1. The Redworm is basically a manure worm that was developed to be raised in captivity. The mature redworm is about three inches long and a well fed specimen is as big around as a thin pencil. Its skin is shiny and bright red; about a quarter of the way from the head to the tail there is a thickish breeding collar known as the clitellum.

The redworm has a mouth, a brain, five hearts(!) and very sophisticated digestive, circulatory, nervous, reproductive and muscular systems. It has no ears or eyes, but will react dramatically to bright light and vibrations in its bedding.

2. They stay at home and will not slink away or migrate if food and moisture are adequate.

3. They are adaptable to varying climatic and soil conditions and will live and multiply wherever they have moisture and organic food materials.

4. They are asexual, having both male and female reproductive organs. Each worm produces egg capsules, but must first be fertilized by contact with another worm.

5. Each healthy worm, under favorable conditions, will produce an egg capsule every 7 to 10 days. These incubate in 14 to 21 days, each hatching from 2 to 20 young worms, with an estimated average of 4. The new worms will reach breeding age in 60 to 90 days, as indicated by the formation of the clitellum, a thick ring about half the length of the worm from its head.

6. The domesticated Redworm will continue to grow, after reaching the breeding stage, for perhaps six months or more before reaching its full size.

Where to get yours!
P’lovers Environmental Store

Worms can be ordered from the P’lovers environmental store’s web site or call 902-422-6060.

Bins, bedding, worms are available separately or already set up. 
Complete unit (1-2 people) $64.95
Complete unit 3-5 people: $94.95
Bedding alone -$ .50 per liter
Worms alone -$35.00 per pound
Bins alone -$39.95

Or visit this link for a list of suppliers across Canada - and around the world!  (or click here)