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Can I Relocate Red Wigglers to Garden


February 29, 2024

My zip code is 87505. I have a multilevel worm bin full of red wigglers that's kept outside on a porch year-round. I'm wondering whether I can relocate my worms to my garden. I grow veggies directly in the ground rather than in raised beds. Will the worms survive OK? Will they benefit the soil? Is there any reason not to let them roam free in the garden? Thank you!


Answer by JZ: Great to hear about your successful red wiggler efforts. Other master composter colleagues may also send you information. Here are my thoughts: Red wigglers, as you know, ingest decomposed/decomposing dead plant material, so if your garden soil is well amended with organic matter, eg. compost that willprovide nutrition for them. Growing plants will provide sloughed (dead) root material for nutrition. They are upward feeders, so they will ingest mulches as they decompose at the soil/mulch interface.Worms would benefit your garden soil by creating tunnels as they move thru the soil for air and water penetration.Surely worm manure (castings) will add organic material to the soil. Their mucous would provide “glue” forsoil particle aggregation. Well aggregated soil has tilth. Soil moisture is important for red wigglers as they respire through a mucous layer on their skin. Maintaining soil moisture in all seasons will benefit worms. Appropriate irrigation and 4”- 6” of organic mulch on top of the soil will help prevent evaporation of moistureand insulate in the winter months. This website discusses winter worms in your area, in a bin, scroll way down: Do It With Worms | Buy Red Wiggler Worms for Composting & Soil in USA. In winter they may go deeper into the soil and / or hibernate (aestivation) for protection.As the soil warms up in spring, they will become more active and be great partners for soil fertility. Be in touch if you have questions.   Best.

Answer by YW: I just dropped another worm bin in my garden last night. It adopts both the “dump & run”/cold and the vermicomposting methods. I added greens and browns in the bin.  There are holes around and at the bottom of the bin so that the nutrients get sent out to the soil, and for the worms to roam around.  Personally, I like this method because it’s easy to feed and “keep track of” the worms. Plus, it protects them from the hungry birds. I had another bin set up last fall with only a handful of worms. Not only did they survive the winter, they multiplied tremendously.  You could try this in the ground, too. Any bin size would work.

Happy composting!

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