Easy Worm Mix 2019 – Important!

March 26, 2019

As I wrote in my last post, order preparation for Easy Worm Mix has changed a fair bit this season.

Instead of relying on outdoor production beds (which translates into a later start, supply bottlenecks throughout the year, and a late fall season shut-down), I’ve been rolling out a new indoor production system. Each starter batch of Easy Worm Mix is prepared by hand (with love – haha) – although, in some cases I do have multiple batches together in a larger system – and then left to sit for at least 6 weeks.

This gives the initial stock of “breeder” worms ample opportunity to produce loads of cocoons, and for may of those cocoons to hatch out (and the young worms to start growing).

Some Important Facts to Keep in Mind

1) Adult worms can release 3 cocoons per week, 2) Hatchlings tend to start emerging after 21 days, and 3) Each cocoon averages 3 hatchlings.

Starting with 100+ breeder worms, it’s easy to see that you will end up with lots of worms and cocoons by the 42 day (6 week) mark – and so far I’ve been thrilled with how the batches have been turning out. In past seasons, the # of cocoons (which, in a lot of ways are the most important part) I ended up with in the mix varied widely, largely dependent on the time of year.

It’s amazing what can happen with a fully climate-controlled, consistent/systematic approach! There will literally be NO batches of Easy Worm Mix that don’t have lots of cocoons in them!

But this brings us to a VERY important point…

It’s critical to realize that Easy Worm Mix is what I like to refer to as a “nursery mix/culture” – much of the vermicomposting potential arrives in the form of very small hatchlings/juveniles and cocoons. Both of these can be quite difficult to see, especially for the untrained eye. The image above shows what the cocoons look like – without those red arrows, they certainly wouldn’t be as obvious, would they? And that’s close up!

And here is what a shot of what the mix might look like if you dumped it out into a bin:

Not very exciting, is it? But don’t be fooled by appearances – you are looking at some incredible worm composting potential right there.

This is probably also a good time to also mention the importance of using ALL the material – please do not attempt to separate the worms from the habitat mix (unless you plan to start a separate system for each – and even then you should simply split up everything between the systems). Not only will you lose all the valuable cocoons and countless tiny worms, you will be tossing a highly valuable habitat/food starter for your new system.

Even if you can’t quite fit it all in your bin (eg. you are using a single tray in a small stacking bin), just save what have left over and gradually add over time – or start up a separate bin!

This mix is going to be fantastic for starting a new system. If you’ve set things up properly (don’t ever hesitate to e-mail me with questions about this), it will likely seem as though the population is “exploading” (mainly because young worms are growing quickly and becoming more visible) quite quickly. And one of the great things about cocoons and hatchlings is that you end up with worms that are better adapted for their new environment (there is literally scientific research to back this up)!

As I’ve said elsewhere, the mix isn’t necessarily going to be ideal for everyone. For example – if, for some reason you need loads of bigger worms right away (eg for fishing or live food), this won’t be an ideal product for you (but you can certainly grow loads of bigger worms using this culture IF you are patient and use various nutritional/spacing etc strategies). If you are trying to start up a massive system, this also may not be ideal (again, unless you are willing to be more patient – since these worms DO grow in number quickly).

Anyway – I just want to make sure everyone is clear on this early on. Don’t hesitate to drop me a line any time with questions – and don’t forget that, as a customer, you are entitled to as much ongoing support as you need! My main goal is to help you achieve successful vermicomposting!

Oh, one last thing…

Full Disclosure – There may still be cases where orders are filled more quickly by harvesting from very productive outdoor beds (i.e. the way I did it in the past). This will only be at times when I have access to material that is very rich in both worms and cocoons (at least as rich as the mix from the indoor production bins) and when demand is very high (eg during the spring).

Red Worms – Spring 2019 Update

March 7, 2019

Spring is nearly here (although, it still feels like January as I type this in early March!), and unlike past seasons, it is almost time for our “official opening” (March 18, 2019). Normally, I would need to wait for outdoor beds to thaw out and worms to get active again, but thanks to a new 4-season outdoor bed and a brand new indoor production approach, I’m already very close to being “ready” for order-fulfillment.

Aside from helping me get a nice early start, this is good news for WCC customers because:

1) It is a lot less likely I will end up with worm supply bottlenecks this year. Outdoor beds are great – but Mother Nature makes things challenging at times (to say the least), and there isn’t always a steady, predictable supply of worms available. I should be able to start seasons earlier and end them later than normal (potentially even remaining open during the winter for local pick-ups).

2) Easy Worm Mix production will now be highly-controlled and optimized, resulting in an even higher-quality Red Worm culture mix for customers.

3) I should end up with even more time for customer support (unlimited support is included), and hopefully new website content creation as well.

Pre-ordering opened up back in early February, and quite a few people have already reserved their bag(s) of Easy Worm Mix. If you are hoping to get yours by late March or early April I highly recommend getting your order in soon. Once the snow really starts to melt, a lot more people will be thinking composting, and demand may outstrip even the improved supply.

Don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions!