Easy Worm Mix FAQ

May 16, 2015

I put this FAQ together to address some of the typical questions that people can have about Easy Worm Mix. I will likely add more questions and answers over time.

I highly recommend that you also refer to the Easy Worm Mix Guide and this blog post: “Easy Worm Mix 2019 – Important!“.

Are there worms in Easy Worm Mix, or do I need to purchase them separately?

Yes – this is a Red Worm culture intended to start up a new worm composting system. Each bag of Easy Worm Mix will likely have at least 1000 Red Worms – and hundreds of cocoons (each can release an average of 3 hatchlings) – BUT, the vast majority of the worms will be hatchlings and juveniles that can be a lot more difficult to see (often hiding in habitat material etc). Most batches of Easy Worm Mix are prepared by hand and allowed to sit for at least 6 weeks (during this time the “breeders” produce an abundance of cocoons and young worms start to hatch out) in a fully climate-controlled environment. The only exception will be during times of high-demand when very high-quality worm- and cocoon-rich material can be harvested from outdoor beds (eg. in the spring).

What kind of worms are in Easy Worm Mix? Are there different kinds?

The worms in the Mix are Red Worms (aka “Red Wigglers”) – Eisenia fetida/andrei (two very closely related worms that commonly occur in mixed populations). It is very unlikely that you will end up with any other types of worms in your batch.

How many worms are in this mix?

As touched on earlier, there should be at least 1000 Red Worms – quite a few of them being mature “breeders, but the vast majority of them being small hatchlings and juveniles. There should also be 100’s of cocoons in each bag (each release 3 new worms on average).

This is an ideal mix for starting up a new worm bin, for stocking an outdoor composter (as long as it has been prepped for vermicomposting), for starting various “vermigardening” systems, and even for helping to “fix” an active vermicomposting system that isn’t performing very well (but in this case, please make sure to provide me with details so we can determine what’s causing the problems before the mix gets added). It is likely NOT well suited for those who need mostly larger adult worms (eg for use as fishing bait etc)

Is this the same thing as “a pound of worms”?

Easy Worm Mix is definitely a different sort of product – one that is much more “natural”, and likely more beneficial for those trying to start up a successful vermicomposting system. Yes there are plenty of bigger “breeder” worms in there but Easy Worm Mix is more of a “nursery mix” – so the actual weight of the worms won’t be anything like a pound. There are lots of much smaller juvenile worms and loads of cocoons, so the “future potential” of a mix like this is substantial. Once all the younger worms mature (usually in a matter of weeks) it’s conceivable that you could end up with more than a pound of worms, but this can depend on many factors. My recommendation is to not get hung up on worm weight, since this is not a good indicator of composting potential on its own.

One bag of the mix is great for starting a typical home worm bin or even a backyard composter – and you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised by how quickly your population of worms seems to grow if you treat them well!

How much mix do I get?

Each bag Easy Worm Mix contains about 10 litres of worm- and cocoon-rich material. I strongly recommend adding the entire bag to your system (or splitting it up evenly between multiple systems) since the habitat material plays a very important role in helping the worms settle into their new environment (and that is also where most of the young worms and cocoons are).

If (for example) you have a small stacking system and there isn’t enough room in a single tray for the worm mix + bedding/food, I would suggest either starting up another system (can be a very basic plastic tub with air holes), or at least keeping the remaining material in the breathable bag (in a climate controlled location) and continuing to add it to the system over time (as the volume of material in the tray decreases).

I am looking for good fishing worms. Is Easy Worm Mix a good choice for me?

Yes and no. Yes, I would recommend the mix to anyone with an interest in starting up their own bins so they can raise their own worms for fishing. But NO, a bag of Easy Worm Mix is not ideally suited for being taken fishing and then the worms used for bait.

The “breeder” worms are likely a decent size for fishing (especially if you are interested in trout or panfish), but I recommend you keep those worms so they can continue producing new cocoons for you (adult Red Worms can produce 3 cocoons each per week when conditions are favorable).

There are various strategies you can use to grow bigger worms as well.

Can I add Easy Worm Mix to my garden?

It’s very important to realize that Red Worms are NOT really soil worms, like most of your typical “garden varieties”. They are what’s known as an “epigeic” species – earthworms that live very close to (often above) the soil surface in rich deposits of organic matter.

The good news is that you CAN still use Easy Worm Mix in your garden, but you’ll need to create an optimized environment for the Red Worms in order to gain the maximum potential benefit.

I’ve had great success with various “in situ” composting systems – that is, composting systems that are actually located right in (or beside) my gardens – such as vermicomposting trenches and “Worm Towers”.

Be sure to check out this blog post for more information:
Gardening With Composting Worms

Can I use Easy Worm Mix in a backyard composter?

YES, absolutely! This is actually a fantastic way to put this mix to good use. But you DO need to make sure the system is set up properly! The good news is that your chances of success using Easy Worm Mix are likely higher than when you purchase bulk composting worms, since the mix contains lots of valuable starter habitat/food, plus plenty of beneficial composting organisms.

Check out this blog post to learn more:
Backyard Composting with Worms

I’ve read that releasing worms outdoors can impact local forest ecosystems. Should I be concerned with these worms?

In some locations, especially where native worm populations were not previously present, certain earthworm species are indeed creating problems. This can commonly be linked to fishermen dumping out their bait worm containers in remote fishing locations.

It’s important to not make sweeping generalizations about this, however (i.e all worms are “invasive” or just generally “bad for the environment”). In the scientific literature there isn’t any documentation (that I know of) implicating Eisenia sp worms (those typically used for vermicomposting – and ones we sell) as harmful. Some have included them on “watch lists”, but in my humble opinion this is a case of “throwing out the baby with the bath water”. Eisenia worms are adapted for life in habitats containing very rich organic wastes, so you’ll very rarely even find them in the “wild”. They certainly aren’t voracious forest leaf litter consumers (unlike some of the Lumbricus species). They are usually closely associated with human habitation – eg on farms, or in compost heaps in urban settings.

If you liked to learn more about this, you may want to read an article I posted on my other website:
Do Composting Worms Pose a Threat as Invasive Species?

I’m not seeing many worms. Is this mix going to work?

Absolutely! You just need to follow my instructions and hold yourself back from trying to do too much too soon (the new vermicomposter curse). As touched on earlier, this is what I refer to as a “nursery mix”. In other words, there are loads of smaller worms – many almost invisible when covered in habitat material – plus many cocoons (which release an average of 3 new Red Worms each), along with quite a few adults. The way this mix is produced there is far more emphasis on worm and cocoon abundance (and health) than on size/maturity of the worms.

You are also receiving a good quantity of what I like to refer to as “living material” (containing countless beneficial composting organisms). This alone will greatly assist the process.

Can I set up a bin like you did in the Easy Worm Mix Guide and leave it outside?

Generally, I don’t recommend keeping enclosed plastic bin systems outdoors since they don’t offer much of a buffer against weather extremes.

If the bin ever receives direct sunlight, especially during summer months, temperatures inside could potentially climb past the acceptable range (of about 30-34 C) very quickly, and the worms could end up dying since they wouldnt have a cooler location to escape to.

Similarly, during periods where temps are below the freezing mark, a small plastic bin would offer virtually no protection, and the contents would likely freeze solid. This would obviously kill the worms as well.

All that being said – as long as you keep the system in a protected (shaded, and just generally sheltered) location, you should do OK. And also don’t forget what I said earlier about the potential of backyard composters (and various other options) as well. There are definitely better options for keeping composting worms outdoors (and for overwintering them successfully etc) than typical plastic bins!

Easy Worm Mix Blog Posts

NEW – Easy Worm Mix!
Easy Worm Mix Bin Update
Straw Bale Gardening with Easy Worm Mix?
Feeding My Easy Worm Mix System
Splitting The Easy Worm Mix Test Bin

IMPORTANT NOTE: Most of these posts were written about the original Easy Worm Mix – but they are still relevant for anyone using the newer versions of the mix. Please also make sure to read this blog post for a more recent explanation of what Easy Worm Mix is all about: “Easy Worm Mix 2019 – Important!

Have any additional questions about Easy Worm Mix? Please feel free to email me any time!