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Christopher Greaves

European Night-Crawlers vs. Red Wrigglers

Sunday, July 31, 2011

(This bin is diarized in Vermicomposting Ė Bin V004 ).

I have been offered a dozen or so European Night-Crawlers, worms Iíve not met before. Their reputation is that they are bigger/smaller than Red Wrigglers, they eat more/less than Red Wrigglers, they breed faster/slower than Red Wrigglers, and so on.

I will conduct a simple, not-very-rigorous experiment to test these claims.

I have no idea when they will arrive, only that my good friend Cathy Nesbitt has agreed to provide the worms in exchange for lunch (A plan begins to form ...)

I will prepare two nurseries, one to receive the European Night-Crawlers when they arrive, one to receive an equivalent number and close-to-size red Wrigglers from my own stock.

The nurseries need not be large; they need to accommodate the worms for a few days while I make twin bins and prepare matching bedding and food stock for both sets.

The Nurseries

Will be a couple of two-gallon kitty-litter jugs.

The Bedding

I will pulp a batch of paper, and split it between the nurseries.

The pulp will be adulterated with some egg-free castings from an earlier supply.

Those castings will serve as the original stock of bacteria for the bins.

The Food

Over the next few days I will tub food-scraps that lend themselves to pulping in the blender.

The pulpy mixture of paper, castings and food will settle down to provide a homogenous basic home for the worm colonies.

The Process

I will count and photograph the worms and place them in the nurseries for a week or so.

I will set up bins identical in composition (half each of dry shredded paper, half each of a bin of pulped food scraps, then the contents of the nursery)

Twice a month Iíll take a sample from the bins and count the number of worms in the sample, and photograph/measure the longest and shortest worms.

I will make a perfunctory check to see when eggs appear.

Next: Preparation


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