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Composting > Worms for Vermicomposting

Worms for Vermicomposting

The species of worm used for vermicomposting has a number of common names: red worms, red wigglers, manure worms, or brandling worms. Redworms are healthy and active as long as they are kept above freezing and below 85 degree. Even if the air temperature gets above 85 degree, their moist bedding will be cooled by evaporation as long as air circulation is adequate. They are most active and will consume the most waste between 55-77 degree, room temperatures. Redworms need to live in a moist environment but must breath air through their skin. Keeping their bedding damp is rarely the problem; preventing it from becoming waterlogged and airless can be a difficulty.

In the South or along the Pacific coast where things never freeze solid, worms may be kept outside in a shallow shaded pit (as long as the spot does not become flooded) or in a box in the garage or patio. In the North, worms are kept in a container that may be located anywhere with good ventilation and temperatures that stay above freezing but do not get too hot. Good spots for a worm box are under the kitchen sink, in the utility room, or in the basement. The kitchen, being the source of the worm's food, is the most convenient, except for the danger of temporary odors.

If you have one, a basement may be the best location because it is out of the way. While you are learning to manage your worms there may be occasional short-term odor problems or fruit flies; these won't be nearly as objectionable if the box is below the house. Then too, a vermicomposter can only exist in a complex ecology of soil animals. A few of these may exit the box and be harmlessly found about the kitchen. Ultra-fastidious housekeepers may find this objectionable. Basements also tend to maintain a cooler temperature in summer. However, it is less convenient to take the compost bucket down to the basement every few days.

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