How to Start Raising Nightcrawler Worms
If you want to know a simple arrangement to starting up a Nightcrawler worm farm of your own, then here are a few how-to steps to raising nightcrawlers possible!.
Raising Nightcrawlers could be one of the most meaningful things to do especially when you are not busy. Aside from the fact that they are both good as composting worms and fishing baits, they are also very adaptable making it easy for you to raise them.
First off, you must know where to buy compost worms. So for the nightcrawler kind, you can either find them being sold in local bait shops, or from a gardening store online. Other than that, you may be able to find a few dealers who sell this type of worm, to laboratories, aquariums, gardeners, etc.
Your Nightcrawler of Choice
To European Nightcrawlers would also be the best choice for a nightcrawler worm farm type, other than the African nightcrawlers kind. Anyway, these types of nightcrawlers favor non-compacted and damp soil.
Nightcrawlers also prefer being fed with organic materials that are high in nitrogen and has no acid content. And if they’re maintained and cared for this way, they’ll in turn, not only aerate the soil they burrow in; they’ll also produce rich worm castings for you (which you can make into an organic fertilizer); and reproduce more worms for you to breed and raise.
What You’ll Need
Now, to take on this farm project for Nightcrawler worms, you must prepare the following things:
- Nightcrawler worms
- A Dark Colored Plastic Bin – can be about 7-10 inches deep, 9 inches wide, 14 inches long (a dark colored bin or container is more favorable for nightcrawlers)
- Shreds of Newspaper, Crushed Eggshells, some Potting Soil, and other food scraps (anything organic except those meat, dairy, oily, salty, and acidic products) – Put these inside the bin and make sure these are watered all together (should be damp and not soaking wet)
- A Spray Bottle – use this to spray water on the bin’s contents
Just like the Red Wiggler worms, Nightcrawlers are heavy eaters of organic materials. In order to nourish them, you should provide them with a good environment and diet. For their home, you may use your old containers and tubs at home.
Carefully place the bedding (coconut coir and peat moss are highly recommended) at around six to eight inches deep but before that, make sure that the bedding is moist. Night Crawlers have the tendency to escape from the bin if their environment is too dry or too wet.
To check whether or not you have it right, try to squeeze the bedding and if out get at least 1 or 2 drops of water, then, that’s fine. Their environment should also have a maintained temperature of 55-78 degrees Fahrenheit though Nightcrawlers can still stand a temperature of 45 degrees.
PH Level & Feeding
PH level is also important. You have to have 6 to 7 PH level of acidity and to better achieve that, sprinkle powdered limestone in the bedding. You should always have PH meter on hand to monitor the bin.
Foods are likewise vital for the Nightcrawlers. Give them organic foods but minimize dairy products and meat. Your kitchen scraps, fruit peelings, tea bags, newspapers, coffee grounds and chicken mash would do. If you are raising Nightcrawlers for the first time, it is advised that you do not yet give them foods for the first 3 days so they can adapt to their new environment.
Nightcrawlers multiply easily so it will not take a long time before you see the fruits of your labor.
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What to do next
When raising Nightcrawlers, their worm farm should be kept away from areas that have direct sunlight to it. Their bin should also be kept at room temperature. And for each month, you should be able to harvest at least half of your worm population, inside the worm farm. You’re going to just have to keep replenishing the bin with organic food supply, and fresh bedding, so that you may keep things fresh for your worms to thrive in as well.
Raising nightcrawler worms is easy. You just have to know the how to steps to the proper needs and maintenance of a Nightcrawler Worm Farm. You’ll be happy to know that when you take good care of your worms, they in return, will reward you with even more good stuff.
Later on, you may be able to make money out of them by selling them as fish bait (or live worm food); or use their produce (worm castings) as an organic fertilizer. Breeding and raising worms can also be a good way to recycling our organic wastes.
Organic Gardening and Vermicomposting Resources
www.GardenWorms.com sells live and healthy worms for composting like Red Wiggler worms and European Nightcrawlers online.They also offer quality organic gardening products from organic fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides to other green gardening supplies and equipments. Visit their site, browse their catalog and have everything shipped to your home.
Their blog - www.GardenWorms.com/blog - has tons of helpful articles that will help you in your organic gardening and vermicomposting adventures.
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Troy Yarbrough from Texas, USA on October 02, 2018:
You mentioned European Night Crawlers as being the largest worms. I have to disagree. I raise both African Night Crawlers and ENCs, and the African Night Crawlers are a much larger night crawler.
Dawn Freeman on July 09, 2017:
@Gary-- you'd be better off getting red worms from a bait shop rather than garden worms because you might get "earth workers" instead of "composters". Most people either don't know or don't mention that not all earthworms do the same things. If you want to try to "catch" some "wild" composting worms, you can take some fallen leaves together in a shaded area, cover with corrugated cardboard and wet it down, then wait several days. The worms that do the composting will be in the moist leaf litter. Or you could just spend a few dollars at the bait store to get your beginning "breeding stock" like my grandfather did. Shredded damp newspaper makes excellent bedding, which the worms will also consume as well as your kitchen scraps.
If you'd like to learn more, get the book "Worms Eat My Garbage" by Mary Appelhof. I loved worm farming, but had to give my bins away when we moved to New England in the winter. (My worm babies would have frozen to death dieting the move.) I'll warn you that it's addicting--but in a good way! If you garden or have houseplants, you'll never have to buy plant food or fertilizer again
Gary on January 18, 2017:
I'm thinking of starting a worm farm. My question is can I use ordinary garden worms or will I have to buy special worms for farming.
supersonic06 on May 06, 2015:
I started my worm farm in a 5 gallon bucket. It began when my Dad made me clean out the stairwell to our basement. It had wood chips and dirt and worms in it. I just dumped some of all of it in a bucket and kept it in the basement. I kept it damp and added newspaper. This worked great for the red worms. The basement temp. stays about the same. Only moved it upstairs when Dad used the wood stove. Please note, there was no evergreen saw dust or wood chips in the mix.
Sweetwood from Indiana on March 02, 2012:
I love my worm bins, those little guys are true workhorses!