Where should I buy my composting worms?
August 16, 2009 1:38 PM   Subscribe

Vermicomposting-filter: while there seem to be a lot of places that sell red wigglers (and other worms like "super jumping reds"?), I'm not sure who is reputable, what's a good price, and what metric I should be looking at.

Many sell by weight, but that seems very inaccurate... are they weighing just the worms? Including the bag and the filler? Do they weigh right after soaking in water?

It would seem that buying a specific # is more exact.

Anyway, where should I buy from? How many should I get for an inside kitchen scraps composting unit with 4 tiers?
posted by schmoppa to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I ordered some red wigglers from hallswormery.com and they arrived quickly. You might want to order them from close by to cut down on shipping time.

The amount of worms depends on the size of the container, but 1 pound should be enough for a normal size kitchen container. They multiply quickly.
posted by meta87 at 2:07 PM on August 16, 2009

Oh and as far as I know they measure a big ball of worms, then toss in a bit of dirt. There is no way they could give you a per worm count. There are several thousand worms in a pound or two.
posted by meta87 at 2:16 PM on August 16, 2009

Do they weigh right after soaking in water?

I can't think of a reason anyone would do that just to gain an ounce or two. Worms are already wet and heavy. I feel like you're overthinking this, honestly. Once you start feeding your worms they will start to multiply. Just go to your local bait shop and buy a pound of red wigglers.

You will start your composter one level at a time. Once you have a tier of nearly finished compost, you add the next one, and most of the worms will migrate upward to work on that tier.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:45 PM on August 16, 2009

Don't worry too much about how many worms you get at first. Assuming you don't kill them right away, the worms you start with will multiply and in a little while you won't worry at all about them. The dirt they come in has lots of worm eggs in it; you'll get plenty.

Pro tip: for the first few nights, keep the lid OFF and a light on in the room where the bin is. I didn't do this, and my first night a whole lot of them got out and there were a million squiggly little dried-up ex-worms around the bin the next morning. But enough stayed and survived then, and even now, years later, there are always plenty.
posted by bink at 4:00 PM on August 16, 2009

I have a friend who also had better luck with bait-shop red wigglers than mail order. (friend-link)
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 4:29 PM on August 16, 2009

Don't overthink this. We also bought bait shop red wigglers and had great vermicomposters.
posted by Miko at 5:08 PM on August 16, 2009

To start my worm bin, I posted on Craigslist or Freecycle to connect with people with compost bins/piles who wouldn't mind if I dug through them for worms, and got several positive responses, no charge. This might work for you too, if you live somewhere that people compost. So I started with those, supplemented by whatever worms I found out in my lawn/under rocks and stuff in my yard on damp nights. It didn't seem like very many worms at first, but they multiplied quickly and now I have a pretty successful bin.
posted by illenion at 8:35 PM on August 16, 2009

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