Vermicomposting is a quick and efficient way to convert kitchen waste into a rich soil amendment. It is not only good for the environment, but it will also boost plant growth in your garden.
Which types of worms should you be using for vermicomposting?
The most active composting worms on the market are red wigglers. They consume more than half of their body weight daily in food scraps. The red wiggler, or Eisenia fetida, is the most common composting worm in the world. Red wigglers are rarely found in soil. They thrive in leaf litter, manure, decaying plant material, and other organic matter.
Red wigglers can withstand a broader temperature range than other composting worm species. They can thrive and digest organic waste at temperatures ranging from 55°F to 90°F. Most other worms operate in a much narrower temperature range.
Because of their ability to reproduce quickly in various temperatures, red wigglers are consistently less expensive than European nightcrawlers.
The redworm, Lumbricus rubellus, is similar in size to the red wiggler. It has feeding and habitat preferences similar to red wigglers, just not eating as quickly.
This dark crimson to maroon worm has no stripes between its segments. They grow to a maximum length of 3 inches and prefer temperatures ranging from 64ºF to 72ºF.
European Night Crawler
European night crawlers, also known as Eisenia hortensis, are excellent composting worms. They dig deeper than red worms, but they are still top feeders. In other words, they thrive near the topsoil’s surface layer, near the organic matter produced by decaying vegetation.
They will eat almost any decaying material. This worm feeds on decomposing grasses, leaves, wood, and animal dung.
They produce a lot of worm castings and have a big appetite, making them ideal for the compost bin. This species can reach 7 inches in length and be as thick as a pencil. They consume slightly less food than their red worm relatives despite their size. According to some estimates, European night crawlers eat half their body weight daily.