I got a few questions from a member of the community. I asked him if I could share his questions with everyone and he has agreed.
The Worm Tower
I installed a worm tower made from a 4″ chunk of PVC pipe about 2 feet long.
- Will worms show up or do they have to be added? If “yes” how long will it take?
- If I install another pipe is it necessary to drill holes in it or just rely on the bottom hole.
- My main reason for doing this is to get rid of kitchen waste and not have a stinky garbage can.
I am glad you started a Worm Tower. I think the 4 inch PVC is too narrow. I would think that an 8 inch PVC would be better for a worm tower. You are going to have to add composting worm to it though.
The earth worms that you find in the ground will not compost your kitchen waste. I would recommend the European Night Crawlers, like I used in my 5 gallon bucket Worm Tower. They can handle extreme heat and cold conditions.
You will need to drill the holes in the pipe for the worms to move in and out of the pipes. So they can put vermicompost right into the soil where the plants need it the most.
The biggest thing is that if you want to have a worm tower in your garden you have to have a raised garden bed. In a raised garden bed you put a mixture of organic compost, peat moss, and vermiculite.
When the worms are not in the tower they will feed on the compost and peat moss. The vermiculite helps with keeping everything loose and airy.
Vermiculite is a bit pricey but it works. I didn’t budget it out that well for the vermiculite last season. So I am working it into the fund for next year’s season.
Would it work to use a 45 gallon plastic barrel with holes drilled in it? That way it would be big enough for grass clippings, garden waste, and kitchen scraps.
A 35 to 45 gallon barrel would work well as long as you have:
- Enough holes in it for the worm can breathe and get in and out of the barrel
- Placed deep enough so that it won’t fall over or move on you.
- That it is placed somewhat in the center of the garden so that the worms can get to it at all sides.
- That you can reach so you can place stuff in it.
Now on the waste that you want to place in there. I would set up a composting bin in your backyard to compost the grass clippings and yard waste. That stuff will get to hot and cook your worms.
But what you can place in there is produce scraps and paper products (newspaper, junk mail, cardboard etc.).
One of my very close friends Bentley “Compost Guy” Christie wrote a blog post called Vermi-Fertilization & Watering System.
Right now the tower is about 5″ from being full to the top. If I get a package of bait worms and put them in, I think they are Night crawlers, will the level drop fast enough that I can add daily waste from the kitchen to it?
Once you add your worms it is going to a bit for it to get going. I can’t tell you how long that will take. Because it all depends on.
- How much microbes and good bacteria you have built up in your bin.
- How many worms you are starting out with. The more mouths you have the faster they will work.
What Kind of Worms to Use
Many people have said that Red Wigglers are best to use. Will night crawlers be as fast? Will they keep on eating through winter? I live in central AB Canada. I was thinking of putting in a second tower that would be about 5′ deep in the ground just to handle more scraps.
This is the low down on the Red Wigglers vs. European night crawlers. They are both great worms to work with. I use and sell both of them.
The Red Wigglers are top feeding worms that like to stay in the top 4 inches of the compost. Which is great for the worm inn.
Which is a flow-system that allows you to feed the worms on the top of the bin and harvest on the bottom out of the worm zone.
They are more comfortable in room temperature environment around 72 degrees F or 22.2 degrees C.
They don’t do well in anything about 80F or 26.7C anything over that can kill them. They will slow down and kind of go dormant at 40F or 4.44C and anything below that can freeze them to death.
European Night Crawlers
The Euros are deep dwellers and are all over the finished vermicompost. Which I think makes them the better worm for this situation.
They are also more comfortable in room temperature environments. In my experience with the Euros are more tolerant than the Red Wigglers.
I have had some Euro’s out in my garage last summer in a high of 95F or 35C they slowed down but didn’t die. .
As long as the bin doesn’t freeze up they will work slower but they will still be working.
Which is the best worm to use.
There are 500 Euros in a pound. But they are twice as big as their little cousins.
There are 1000 Red wigglers in a pound. They are two times smaller than their bigger cousins.
Both can eat their own body weight in a day. So it doesn’t matter which one you get for how fast they can eat.
It all depends on your situation and how you want to use them.