Easy Worm Mix FAQ

May 16, 2015

I put this FAQ together to address some of the common (and occasional) questions that people 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.




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


There are loads of worms (and cocoons) in Easy Worm Mix. Refer to next two questions for specifics.


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


The worms in Easy Mix are Red Worms (aka “Red Wigglers”) – Eisenia fetida/andrei (two very closely related worms that commonly occur in mixed populations). In the past our worm mixes have sometimes contained European Nightcrawlers, the larger cousin of the Red Worm (and another excellent composting species), but you’re very unlikely to receive any of these now. Please email me if you’re looking for Euros and I can get you pointed in the right direction.


How many worms are in this mix?


That’s a very tough question to answer, unfortunately. But I will say this…if you obsess about the exact quantity of worms in the mix, you’re missing the real “beauty” of the mix.

Goofy Zen sentiments aside…the long and the short of it is that there will always be LOTS and lots of worms in the mix – but comparing it to a typical “pounds” or “count” product is like comparing apples to oranges.

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).


Is there a pound of worms in this mix?


NO. I can pretty much guarantee that you will never receive as much as a pound of Red Worms in the mix (and the price is quite a bit lower than what a pound of worms would cost). Again, that’s definitely not the point here. EWM is what I refer to as a “nursery mix” – so there are many, many tiny worms (and cocoons). Their total biomass won’t add up to much when you first receive them – but their future potential is HUGE (i.e you could easily end up with well over “1 lb worth” of worms if you consider how young/small most of them are initially).


How much mix do I get? What is the total weight?


Shipped orders contain about 12 litres of Easy Worm Mix. Pick-up orders likely closer to 16 litres.
Weight is highly dependent on moisture content, but 12 litres of the material typically weighs between 5 and 6 kg (between ~11 and ~13 lb).


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! 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 worm cocoons.

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). Keep in mind, 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 cocoons (which release an average of 3 new Red Worms each), along with quite a few adults. The mix is taken from from specialized beds, where there is more emphasis on worm numbers (and reproduction) than worm size.

You are also receiving a LOT of fantastic “living material” (containing countless beneficial composting organisms). This alone will greatly assist the process – just make sure you (gently) mix it in really well with your chopped up food wastes.

If you still have ANY doubts about the composting potential of the mix (or presence of worms in general), be sure to check out this blog update I posted:
Easy Worm Mix Bin Update

Even I was totally amazed by how many worms I found in the bin – so many in fact, that I decided to “split the bin” (creating two worm bins).


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 – and even something as common as a rain shower (although a shed/garage location could help with that).

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), 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, there’s no reason you couldn’t


Easy Worm Mix Blog Posts
(Aiming to keep this updated over time)

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


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

Comments

4 Responses to “Easy Worm Mix FAQ”

  1. Sheri on March 19th, 2016 11:14 pm

    When the worms multiply what would you do with them
    Also if indoors during winter months are they smelly any info on I would appreciate thanks

  2. Bentley on March 20th, 2016 11:43 am

    Hi Sheri – the population will self-regulated itself if you don’t wish to expand into new systems (or give away some worms etc etc).

    Vermicomposting is actually perfectly suited for indoor locations. A well-maintained system should not smell at all, but you definitely need to make sure there is plenty of bedding and plenty of air flow.

  3. Tracey Heyworth on June 23rd, 2016 4:13 am

    Thank you very much for theeasy starter vermicomposting mix ! We anticipate great results.

    The box of vermies sat on our stoop in the baking sun for 2 hrs until we were home to receive. They were quickly emptied into newly moistened newspaper strips in a 5G bucket in cool basement with the lid off and some shreds of lettuce added, as no time to prep the proper bin. The worm mix was HOT and not much acivity!.

    Then 7 hrs later, the easy starter mix was transferred from the 5G bucket into the prepped worm bin with the LMS as you suggested in a 3:1 or maybe closer to 4:1 bedding to food ratio.

    LOTS of activity when transferring the culture! So very glad we didn’t order a pound of worms!! They surely would have died after 2 hrs in a box on our very hot front steps.

    Sincerely,
    Tracey & Greg

  4. Bentley on June 23rd, 2016 12:05 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing this Tracey and Greg!
    We had a similar experience recently as well. Canada Post made a mistake with the delivery and the box of mix was left in some sort of outdoor post box for several days during an extreme heat wave. I have faith in the mix, but even I wasn’t optimistic at all! Amazingly, when the customer finally DID get access to the box and then emptied the bag into her bin, the worms were totally fine!

    By the way, for anyone curious about all the “life” in Easy Worm Mix, I recommend this video on the blog (looks at the common organisms that can be found in the mix aside from the worms):
    https://www.wormcomposting.ca/vermicomposting/composting-worm-mix-critters/

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