Euro-Red Mix in a Stacking Worm Bin

May 29, 2013

It’s been said (even by yours truly, in the past) that European Nightcrawlers (Eisenia hortensis) are not well suited for life in stacking worm bins – or really, any other sort of “flow-through” type system.

If you follow the Red Worm Composting blog, you’ll know that my assumptions about this worm species have, however, changed quite a lot in just the past 6 months (be sure to check out “European Nightcrawlers – In More Detail” if you haven’t already)!

I recently resumed my testing of the use of Euros in my “Worm Factory” system – a project I had started last year, but ended up discontinuing prematurely due to lack of space (among other things). I set up with first tray with shredded (drink tray) cardboard bedding, food waste, and some very-well-aged horse manure, then stocked it with two bags of our Euro-Red Mix.

IMPORTANT UPDATE (SPRING 2015) – We are now selling “Easy Worm Mix”, which only contains Red Worms. You can learn more (and place orders) on the following pages:
Shipped Order Pricing
Pick-up Order Pricing

A little over a week later (this past Saturday), I continued to plow right ahead by adding a second tray (set up in a similar manner to the first). This definitely isn’t how quickly I would recommend adding the second tray in a system like this – probably better to actually let it go for a month or two – but I’m very eager to see how readily the Euros will move up in the bin. They are known for being deep diving, moisture-loving worms – which is why many have suggested they are not ideal for vertical migration systems – so, in theory, they should all remain down in the first tray, while the Red Worms move up.

What’s funny, though, is that I’m really only finding Euros in the second tray so far – and it actually seems as though quite a few have already moved up!

Just goes to show that you should never make ASSumptions about composting worms. I’ve been at this for more than 13 years now, and I am STILL surprised (and re-educated) on a regular basis!

That being said, I should mention that in my larger, single-compartment flow-through system (called the “VermBin48”), the Euros seem to be living up to their reputation as deep divers. I had to install a “skirt” and catch-tray system in order to avoid losing worms out the bottom of the bin. It will be very interesting to see how things progress in the VB48 over time though. Once the false bottom has completely rotted out and the lower zone dries out quite a bit, there may end up being far fewer of the worms down near the bottom.

I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted on both (stacking bin & VB48) fronts!


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