Oh the good ‘ol days when a couple of dimes would get you something. Unfortunately we can’t give you this deal, but we’ve got some great Jumpers, Euros, and Red worms available for your fishing trip or enhancing your soil. Thanks to Uncle Corky and Sheryl for sending this great picture they found.
A frequently asked question I get from worm farmers and gardeners is, “How do I get rid of ants”? Ants can be attracted to the food waste in your compost pile or worm bed. The good news is that a healthy compost pile or worm bed is going to have a lot of beneficial bacteria and microbial activity that the ants won’t like. So in most cases they are there for the food scraps, and will move along shortly. If they don’t move along and decide to set up shop, or you just want them gone, I recommend diatomaceous earth. Food grade Diatomaceous Earth or (DE) are finely ground remains of tiny ocean critters called diatoms. DE can be sprinkled around any area where you want to get rid of insects or other segmented bodied critters. The tiny powder kept dry will stick to the ants or other bugs and make tiny cuts that will dry them out and kill them. Wet DE won’t stick, so keep your powder dry. Also, be sure to get food grade and not pool grade DE. Pool grade is super fine and can be dangerous when breathed in.
DE is natural and won’t harm your worms or you. Other ant killers that contain chemicals might be harmful to your worms.
This is what I like to see. Pictured above are some chunks of clay with some of my Texas Jumpers working through them with no problem. The ability of these native Texan worms to work in clay is what makes them suitable for adding directly to your garden or raised bed. They are a hearty worm that grows to 6 inches or more in a few months time. The strength that they have at a few weeks old and small size is what separates them from European Nightcrawlers or Red Worms (eisenia foteda). This strength makes them great aerators and tunnelers for your soil. They can dive and tunnel several feet and can survive through our extreme temps. Pick a spot that has good shade for these worms, keep it composted, covered (old carpet or something similar), and watered for best results. Once your population is established in several weeks, you’ll be ready to start moving them around a couple of handfuls at a time. With a little patience and persistence, you’ll have worms all over.
I broke open a clay clod and found this young worm working through. If these worms can handle this South Texas clay and caliche soil chances are they can benefit yours.
(Insert your favorite state- Alabama, Texas, Carolina, Georgia) Jumpers are great for mixing and aerating garden soil. The only commercially available earthworm that is suited for introducing directly to the soil. Some soil types and raised beds with an abundance of organic matter can potentially support red worms and European NightCrawlers, but if you are dealing with sand, clay, or packed ground Jumpers are the only option. With that said, I still recommend raised beds or pit method to get your herd started rather than just cutting them loose. If you want to populate your yard or garden start with a sweet spot, and introduce them a handful or two at a time to other parts of your space.
Jumpers can also be raised in bins just like other species, and I have had a lot of success with this method. Jumpers tolerate the Summer temps better than red worms but don’t handle sub 40F as well. Keep in mind all earthworms are composters, will surface to feed and breed. While earthworms share these characteristics, what makes them differ is their ability and need to tunnel, the range at which they operate, and temperature tolerance.
I have included a couple of pictures of one of our Jumper Starter Farms. This is designed to ship and gives you a healthy way to start and takes the guess work out of starting from scratch. We take a sample of our beds (bedding and a few hundred worms of different sizes) to give you a solid start and something you can replicate as your population grows. When you see small worms and larger ones it’s a good indicator that you have a healthy happy environment that your worms are reproducing in. Depending on your needs and what you are trying to do, you will want to experiment and introduce worms in your soil to see which methods work best for you. I would encourage you to focus on one spot and expand a handful or two of worms and bedding at a time when you see your worms growing and reproducing from there.
TexasRedWorms will be in Boerne, TX this Saturday the 19th at 33 Herff Road, Boerne, TX. We will be there to talk about composting with worms, setting up, and other how to information.
We’ll be there from 10am-11am Saturday morning.
Vermiculture/Worm Composting Presentation is scheduled from 3-4PM on Wed 12 June 2013 at the San Antonio Botanical Garden (Education Bldg or Auld House depending on room availability-TBD)
Kyle Harrell from TexasRedWorms.com will be presenting from 3-4PM focusing on setting up a simple worm bin, along with the benefits/challenges of vermicomposting in Texas.
Early this week we welcomed 2.5 inches of rain providing some badly needed moisture to my compost piles and inground worm beds. The micro organisms that break down organic waste in compost piles need food, air, and water. In South Texas the missing component of that equation is usually H2O, and with a steady shower over the last couple of days we are back in business. I get asked often “why is my compost not breaking down?” and the answer is usually a lack of water. Keep your piles mixed to increase Oxygen, keep them watered if lacking in rain, and add Nitrogen bearing organic matter like grass clippings and manure to reactivate a pile. Use these winter months to get ready for spring planting and keep those compost piles fed, turned, and moist.
My Jumpers love this time of year and can be at their peak performance. Cooler temperatures and added moisture stimulate hatching of eggs and adults feeding and breeding in top layers of compost that at other times of the year maybe too hot or dry.
Above is a pic of one of my Alabama Jumper bins. Worms are feeding on my DIY Worm Chow and some pumpkin.
Alabama Jumpers are best suited for tunneling, aerating, and mixing the soil. They can be raised in bins like your other composting worms (red worm and european nightcrawler). I set my bins up with a few inches of clay soil on the bottom to make the worms comfortable and try to replicate their natural home. Next, I add several inches of compost that will provide the organic matter they will feed on. In a worm bed or bin the second generation will flourish if conditions are right (moisture and food). Having been born in the environment worms will adapt much better from birth and be happy in their new home. When introducing Alabama Jumpers into a new environment (bin or bed), start with an ample supply of the medium that you harvested them from to ensure a greater chance for success.
I got my mom some Alabama Jumpers to add to her yard and to the pasture. Alabama Jumpers, or in this case Texas Jumpers, are not composting worms like the red wiggler or red worm. They are great for aerating and powering through tough clay or sandy soils. The ideal worm to set in your garden or lawn to fertilize and aerate your soil. These worms are strong tunnelers and will eventually spread out into your tough soil giving roots of plants room to grow. Introducing Texas “Alabama” Jumpers is easy and can be done in a matter of minutes. You can purchase Jumpers from TexasRedWorms.com and have them shipped to you or come on by to see our beds and bins.
I have been experimenting for a little over a year with the Alabama Jumper, sometimes referred to as the Georgia Jumper, or in this case Texas Jumper. The scientific name of which being Amynthas agrestis. Now that that’s out of the way, this Jumper isn’t even originally from Alabama? As a matter of fact, it is believed to hail from Asia. How about that? This aggressive and super strong worm can and will jump right out of your hand. This super strength makes it a powerful tunneler, and allows it to burrow through some of the hardest packed clay soil. This worm is a hot item, and is in high demand by gardeners everywhere for these reasons. European nightcrawlers, African nightcrawlers, and Red Worms, are all great, but the Alabama Jumper can go to work in clay and sand unlike the other varieties. I have experienced it’s power first hand, and been amazed at it’s strength and ability to work through some hard soil. In San Antonio, we’ve got some pretty tough clay, and I have seen these Jumpers perform mightily in it. I too have read all the hype about this worm, and it is the real deal. The Alabama Jumper is great for people that want a worm to go to work in their soil, garden, or flowerbeds. For composting, producing castings, or fishing I would recommend the others.
I have been trying various methods of raising the Alabama Jumper for over a year, and have had success with raising them in bins, as well as, worm beds or pits. They are reproducing in both environments, and I have a limited amount available for sale. Call for availability.