Tag Archives: earthworms


10 Jun

Thanks to Lisa, Laura, and Rainbow Gardens.  Check out “Opening up my own can of worms”.


Red Worms vs. Nightcrawlers for Composting. What’s the Difference?

15 May

Red Worms (Eisenia fetida)European Nightcrawlers (Eisenia hortensis), and African Nightcrawlers (Eudrillus eugeniae), are all excellent composters.  These worms vary in size, w/ Red Worms being the smallest and possibly the least picky.  Red Worms ease of care and ability to handle a wide range of temperatures make them a popular composting worm.

European and African Nightcrawlers are larger worms.  European Nightcrawlers are popular w/ fisherman, due to size.  You’ll find their larger cousin (Canadian Nightcrawler) in bait shops, as well.  European Nightcrawlers can be used for composting, but thought to be less efficient than Red Wigglers or African Nightcrawlers.

African Nightcrawlers are a tropical worm that thrive in warmer climates, need to be kept in temperatures above 70F and will start to die off at 60F.  They are the choice for many commercial worm casting producers that have access to climate controlled facilities.  All three species or varieties can be prolific in the right conditions, and make excellent composting worms.

Cold Hardiness of Worms

21 Feb

WIth temperatures dipping into the mid-20’s and a wind chill well below, I transported several pounds of red worms and european nightcrawlers in the back of a pick up from San Antonio through Houston to southeast Texas.  I knew it was going to get cold, but the forecast for San Antonio was way off.  When planning our trip, the most recent weather reports called for morning temperatures in the mid-50’s.  Thank God for the cold hardiness of these worms.  We finally reached our destination and the 6 hours the worms spent in small bins exposed to these temperatures I feared I would have lost many of the worms.  Temps. in bins dipped well below freezing.

Fortunately, both species (europeans and red wigglers) recovered just fine.  Even the smaller juvenile worms were actively working the next day, as I checked the bins and got them to 50F.

God bless these little guys who prove over and over their resilience in some less than ideal conditions.  I don’t recommend testing the limits, as I typically keep them fairly protected (indoors when possible, the garage, and worm beds several inches underground).

Earthworms in my compost bin

17 Jan

In San Antonio, the last week has been pretty chilly for us.  Lows below freezing and highs in the 40s- and 50s.

The rain let up Sunday afternoon, and I slipped outside to feed my worms and turn the compost pile.

Interesting find.  I feed my worms a combination of composted horse/cow manure, vegetable scraps, and coffee grounds from my compost bin and piles.  Above is a picture of one of my compost bins where I found hundreds of tiny earthworms.  Temperatures in a compost pile can reach upwards of 150 F, therefore usually too hot for worms.  The freezing temperatures and rain have cooled things down, and have attracted hundreds of earth worms.  The moisture and cool air have provided the right conditions to hatch some eggs.

Earthworms or European night crawlers are what you will find in your yard.  They eat and break down organic matter  in the ground.  Depositing beneficial castings as they burrow through the soil, aerating and fertilizing along the way.