Now that spring is here, the red wiggler worms (Eisenia fetida) are happy again. They do not enjoy wet, cold conditions, but they will survive. Spring and summer are their favorite times of the year. Once the worm bin has a chance to warm up a bit they will be eating, moving and reproducing. They make the wonderful compost that has so many nutrients to add to your garden. In warmer weather, make sure that the worms stay cool and moist.

Berkeley Hort sells red wigglers. They are perishable, so we ask that you call ahead or come in and place an order for them. It takes 2-3 weeks to process your request and gather them, and they must to be picked up within a couple days of receiving a call that they are ready. We sell them in ½lb. containers. Pick up a handout about raising worms in a worm bin in our sales area.

For outdoor worm composting, dig a trench about 2″ x 6″ wide around a compost pile. Release your worms into the trench in the morning. This will give them time to settle into their new environment before dark when they might roam away. You may want to add coconut coir or shredded newspaper on top for them to hide in. Cover the worms lightly with light dirt/compost. They will climb into the compost pile and find the area of the pile that has just the right temperature. During the colder months, they will migrate to the center where the temperature is warmer. In the first week, the worms are getting used to their environment and shouldn’t be fed. After that you can feed them approximately ½lb. of food for every 1lb. of worms. Feed them the same kind of food that you would feed worms raised in a worm bin. Remember if you are raising them outdoors in a compost pile, they need to be protected from raccoons, skunks, birds and moles.

Whichever way you want to raise your worms, enjoy them and the compost that they make. If you have questions or comments about your worms, send me an email.

–Jeanne Doty