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Which Worm Does Well in “Dirt”?

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Spring is coming!  Everyone is thinking about spring gardens.  As the economy weakens, more people are likely to start growing their own produce. 

I’m posting this in the hope that new readers have a very clear understanding that not all worms live in dirt!

The worm on the left is a Redworm.  The species happens to be Eisenia Hortensis(aka a European Nightcrawler).  The European Nightcrawler is a larger cousin of the Red Wiggler(aka Eisenia Fetida).  Redworms by nature are soft bodied worms.  Because they are extremely voracious, they are great for breaking down food waste.  They do extremely well in a worm bin, and are commonly raised in damp newspaper bedding, coir, or peat moss.

The worm on the right is a Alabama Jumper.  The species is Pheretima Hawayanus.  It does well in the dirt!  It loves clay soil!  As a composting worm in a worm bin…not so great!

Many garden centers sell worms in a package with an “Earthworm” label.  But garden centers typically know absolutely nothing about worms!

Don’t make the mistake of buying a Redworm (Even if it comes in a package labeled as Earthworms) to put in your soil.  Unless you treat your garden like a worm bin, and have a constant layer of damp mulch on top, the Redworm will not survive.

To Recap:

Compost Bin Worms:  Red Wigglers, European Nightcrawlers, African Nightcrawlers.

Dirt Worms:  Alabama Jumpers

Dirt:  Loves the worm poop in concentrated amounts from the Compost Bin Worms!  Loves the aeration from Dirt worms.

EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT ALABAMA JUMPERS….but didn’t know who to ask ;)

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

After going through almost 1,000 emails, I can cluster almost all of them into two groups:

1. I tried raising Red Wigglers before and killed them. Can you help me?
2. Please tell me how to raise the Alabama Jumpers?

This evening, let’s talk about raising Alabama Jumpers.

Alabama Jumper Characteristics:
*Clay soil dwelling (Unlike Red Wigglers)
*Thick skinned
*Navigate through thick clay soil with ease
*Extremely powerful (Allows them to leap off the ground)
*Large extruding probiscus
*Adults grow as long and as fat as a pencil

How to prepare your garden for Alabama Jumpers:
*Collect all the leaves in your neighborhood and place them on top of your soil. Yes, you can be that crazy person that rakes all your neighbors lawns! A 12 inch layer or more would not be too much! If you do not have leaves, you can use a bale of straw, or compost. Any of these organic materials makes a perfect food source for your Jumpers. If you have heavy clay soil, amending with organic material on a regular basis is a very good practice. Remember, these are strong worms, not Jackhammers!

Drop the worms in one area containing the organic material and walk away! It’s that easy. When you start seeing baby jumpers, you know you are successful. Even the babies jump like crazy. They are very distinctive.

Here is the science behind the instruction:
Worms reproduce best when they can easily find each other. Instead of initially spreading the jumpers out, keep them together so they can do what worms do….

MATE! A LOT!

As the density of your squirm (Look it up, it’s a real word), increases, your worms will naturally start to spread out. As you get congested with worms, you can introduce some to other areas.

So when people ask you how to breed Alabama Jumpers? Tell them the truth…they breed themselves. 😉

Live Bait for Sale! Composting Worms! Garden Worms!

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

If you are reading this blog, you probably are a worm lover, and think the pictures above are pretty cool. If you randomly found this website, you probably think you are in the middle of a NIGHTMARE. 😉

Let’s take a look at some of the more common types of worms commercially available, and their purposes.

Only a few types of worms are recommended for composting. In my opinion, these are the three best types of worms for composting:

Red Wigglers
European Nightcrawlers
African Nightcrawlers

The reasons why these worms are great composters is because they share certain characteristics:
Top feeders
Voracious
Prolific in captivity

But, what if you want to raise worms for more than just composting?
Do you like to fish? Would you like NEVER to worry about whether or not the bait store has any worms left? Great Bait worms:

Canadian Nightcrawlers
European Nightcrawlers
Alabama Jumpers
African Nightcrawlers

The reasons why these worms are great bait worms is because they share certain characteristics:
Large size (Especially the Canadians)!

Want a great worm for your garden! Try Alabama Jumpers. I’ve never seen a stronger, more active worm. They are so distinctive, even the babies JUMP like crazy! Please understand, most commercially available worms are NOT suited to live in soil. Alabama Jumpers do well in heavy clay soil.

Always make sure you’re using the RIGHT worm for the Job!

Have a specific question? Ask the Worm Dude on my forum! Happy to help.

Worms for your GARDEN hatching NOW!

Monday, November 10th, 2008

If I haven’t made it clear yet, I am a HORRIBLE photographer. My camera is a 5 year old Kodak, so hopefully I can place some of the blame on not having the right equipment for the job.

The fact that I will never be a professional photographer is irrelavant. What IS relavent is that I just caught a glimpse of my newly hatched Alabama Jumper babies.

I often see juvenile Alabama Jumpers in my backyard box turtle garden (Read earlier blog stories to get the backstory). I know they are Jumpers because even as little guys, they jump like crazy. But, what I never see are Alabama Jumper cocoons!

I maintain hundreds of pounds of worms and have millions of cocoons. But, in my Jumper bins, I can never find cocoons. It’s strange, and I haven’t been able to figure out why. I was starting to think they will not hatch in captivity.

I’m happy to report, I was very wrong! When I went to water the worms today, I noticed a bunch of thread sized jumpers hidden in the newspaper bedding. Cute, thread sized little guys. The picture above was my attempt at trying to capture a snapshot of the baby jumpers.

Get the right tool for the job. If you want worms for your garden, Alabama Jumpers are the worms for you!

Great worms for your garden…hatching now! 😉

Alabama Jumpers for Sale!

Monday, September 1st, 2008

Here is a picture of one of the Alabama Jumper Worms that now reside in my clay soil. I captured about 500 of them, and tested them in captivity by setting them up in a plastic holding bin.

Two weeks later, I’m happy to report that they are doing great. They have adjusted fine to my damp newspaper bedding, and are producing castings pretty much like any other composting worm.

I’ve found a source to purchase these in bulk, which should greatly reduce my price on these worms.

So…for those that continually ask, “Do you sell any worms that I can put in my Garden”? The answer is, “You bet”!