Recently with spring quickly approaching or it may seem in some areas of the country I have been getting numerous questions as to which worm are best to add to one’s garden and or yard areas, earthworms and or composting worms?
I figured this was a good time to examine the difference between these worms and the benefits of each!
Earthworms, unlike composting worms can burrow deep down into the ground while composting worms prefer the top few inches to a foot or so. Earthworms also usually have a tougher skin which enables them to dig through hard packed soil well below the surface as well as sand and grit.
Two types of earthworms offered by Organic Worm Farm are the Alabama jumpers and Canadian nightcrawlers. While the Canadian nightcrawlers need to exist in soil temperature ranges (not ambient temperature) of 55 degrees Fahrenheit or better, the Alabama Jumpers do very well from extreme warm climates to very cold climates.
Alabama Jumpers are a faster moving earthworm than the Canadian nightcrawler hence burrowing and leaving behind a vast network of underground tunnels that lead to the surface in a much shorter time period. These tunnels provide aeration as well as permit moisture from rainfall or watering to penetrate to the root systems easily. At the same time the burrowing action allows for easy expansion of your plants root systems. The Alabama jumper is also good for yard composting as they will come out of the ground into a compost pile and over time eat through it as well as makes a good fishing worm although it can break in two at times when being hooked.
Canadian nightcrawlers are basically reserved in the yard and garden areas for the most northern parts of the continental USA. Further south the soil tends to become too warm preventing the nightcrawler from getting to the surface to feed in the evenings. The Canadian nightcrawler is sought after by many anglers due to the size of this worm; however is the only worm Organic Worm Farm offers that does require refrigeration, hence why it is not always the best worm for fishing bait as it can go into shock from going from a cold cooler to the warm summer waters. This worm will also aerate by burrowing however since it moves very slow compared to the Alabama jumpers, the process takes much longer.
Composting worms are surface dwellers only going down several inches to a foot or so when released in a garden or yard area. For composting you want to use either one of the following: Red wigglers, African nightcrawlers or the European nightcrawlers. Any of these worms work well in a composting bin depending on several variables which I will further assist you later within this article when selecting which composting or earthworm will work best for you depending on your needs!
Once major misconception by many is the fact they believe just because the name of the worm includes the word nightcrawler they assume it is an earthworm and can go out in the yard or garden areas. For the most part this is false unless you have a garden area with a lot of organic matter towards the surface. However keep in mind temperature for your own climate area will depend on whether or not they will survive and thrive.
Red wigglers are popular since they are easy to grow and adapt to many different types of bedding materials as well as have a large temperature range. Keep in mind the cooler it gets the less active and productive they are.
African nightcrawlers are my personal worm for a number of reasons, some of which I have stated in the past. Pound for pound these worms under the right conditions will consume more material than any other worm I have ever raised! They do require warmer temperatures of 65 degrees Fahrenheit or better while a range of 75 – 80 degrees will make these worms more active as well as increase reproduction rates.
While being a great composting worm these guys are a superior fishing worm not just by my own personal experience but also from my existing customer base.
European nightcrawlers are one of the worms usually found at most bait places which are larger than red wigglers however do require a cooler temperature range to grow out. In fact one of the main questions I receive over and over again is while raising these worms in worm bin is the fact they do well when small however as they mature and grow larger one loses the large ones. This is due to the fact that the European appears to sour the worm bin rather quickly once they reach a larger size as well as requires a cooler temperature. If you want to raise large European nightcrawlers plan on a temperature range of 55 – 65 degrees Fahrenheit!
The information is based on all my years’ experiences with raising each of these types of worms under various conditions.
To make it easy for choosing the right type of worm for your needs I wrote a little program on the Organic Worm Farm web site. By simply selecting from a few choices will steer you in the right direction whether for composting, yard and garden areas, fishing or a combination of reasons you wish to raise worms.