Monday, May 18, 2009

Can Different Worm Species Co-exist in the Same Environment?

These red worms are in a bed of shredded newspaper.

A question I was just asked recently that I get alot is whether you can use the worms you find in your garden or lawn in the worm bin. This most recent question asked if they could co-exist with the red worms.

Please be aware that the worms you find in your garden or lawn are soil dwellers and red worms are composting worms dwelling in piles of organic matter such as leaves, manure, rotting grass clippings, compost piles, etc.

As such these worms each have their own requirements for their environment that are very different. These worms do not naturally co-habitate. Even if you find them in the same area around a pile of organic matter, the soil dwellers are at the soil level and the compost worms are in the organic matter. This is the only situation where these two organic consumers will co-habitate. Soild dwellers will not thrive in a worm bin. They are not deep enough to provide the soil dweller with area to burrow.

One way to have each of the lovely creatures in the same area is to dig a hole and fill it with organic material. This would provide the best of both worlds for each of the worms, and the area could be heavily mulched to provide cover for the colder winter months. (That's for all of us wormers in the North.) The material in the hole would need to be removed and replaced with fresh organic material to keep your red worm composters happy and in place. Otherwise, they will go looking for fresh organic material if you do not provide it for them.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes.
For now, happy worming however you decide to do it.


Germaine said...

I have only been composting for a month or so. I live in Southern California and my composter is outside. I have noticed that there are some grubs in my worm bed. They are about an inch long and redish brown. They look very busy eating and my worms look fine. Is there any problem with keeping the grubs too? Or should I pick them out?

KB said...

I too am new to composting and worming.
In thinking about your questio, I cant see this being a pronlem in that grubs,earthworms,snails,etc naturally coexist with each other.