Did you know that Beaver Ponds has worms? They’re the good kind, though, and they are also kind of amazing.

Red Wigglers, or Eisenia foetida, are a special species of smaller earthworm native to Europe that have adapted to living in decaying organic material. These wonderful creatures thrive in rotting vegetation, compost and even manure. This particular worm also makes the best compost.  

What kind of environment do they like? 

Red Wigglers are originally from warmer, wet regions. They’re top feeders, and unlike your garden’s much larger earthworms, these critters don’t delve very deep. They tend to hang out no deeper than a foot below the surface, so they don’t like the cold. In fact, these worms love temperatures around 75° F, so they’re best kept indoors. Too hot or cold and it’s all over for our composting friends.

How much and what do they eat? 

Worms eat a little over their weight in food every day. This means, if you have a pound of worms (approximately 1000 adults), they’ll happily consume a pound of food. It just so happens that Red Wigglers will eat a lot of the things we throw away daily, including kitchen scraps, fallen leaves, and newspapers and even corrugated cardboard. Apparently, they love the glue that holds the cardboard together. What they love most is watermelon. I’ve put an entire cut-up rind in the worm bins, and seemingly within a day all that is left is what appears to be a thin piece of green paper. It’s the skin. They eat that on day two. 

What do these worms produce?  

Red Wigglers produce the most amazing amendment for your garden. Worm castings (poop) are loaded with beneficial microorganisms which cultivates fertility in the soil continuously. This dark, rich soil is very high in organic matter (also known as OM and soil carbon) and humates which benefit plant and soil health. 

Why are you telling me this?  

Beaver Ponds is planning new programs to help introduce worms throughout the region. We’ll hold sessions on how to build a worm farm where we can hopefully set everyone up with all that you’ll need, including your amazing new friends. Beaver Ponds will attempt to partner with local businesses to reduce landfill waste while feeding our hard-working compost miracles. We’ll also be studying how composting worms adjust to high altitude living. We’re hoping to add additional programs and create opportunities for those who wish to volunteer. Feel free to email me at dweed@beaverponds.org for more information.

David Weed,  

Program Manager