Making Your Own Worm Bed

Discussion in 'Catfishing Library' started by Whistler, Aug 26, 2005.

  1. Whistler

    Whistler Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,084
    State:
    TN
    Original post made by William "Jesse" Egbert Sr(Jesse168) on September 5, 2002

    Make your own worm bed : One of my neighbors got fed up with having to buy red worms. So he researched how to prepare and build his own worm bed. This how ya do it. Instead of in gound he found a large plastic box (2 1/2' by 8' )and made sure it had a drain opening at one end. At the drain opening he put a large wad of screen wire to keep worms from getting out. The dirt mixture is mostly peatmoss with a little dirt mixed in. NO sand is to be allowed (it cuts the worms). Fill container about 1/3 full of the mixture then put a heavy layer of MAPLE LEAVES then cover leaves with worm feed or PLAIN cornmeal then another layer of dirt mixture then another layer of MAPLE LEAVES then more feed then more dirt mixture. Wet it all down but don't drown it. Let it set a day or so. This lets the water drain some incase ya put too much in or ya can put some more in incase ya didn't put enough. Peatmoss absorbs water like ya wouldn't believe. Now you are ready to put in your worms. When you decide to harvest worms don't just dig through the whole box. Ya dig at one end only. You did enough worms to last ya several days. Then level out the dirt and make a small trench length of dug area and fill with feed and recover. Next time ya dig at the opposite end and do the same thing.
    Worms love MAPLE LEAVES. Once a month ya get the granular lime and sprinkle over the dirt. This keeps down the acid level. Do not use the powdered lime like most people use on their yards it will kill your worms. We started up this project with app. 5000 worms I brought back from the Mid-South Junior Fishing Rodeo about 10 years ago. He has given away so many worms you wouldn't believe it. He now has 2 boxes and rotates raiding them. He feeds them a couple of times a week and sprinkles with water just enough to keep it moist and changes 1/2 of the dirt once a year. He has built a cover over his containers so when it rains it won't flood and also keep out of hot sunlight. One more thing he keeps a moist layer of Maple leaves on top of dirt. He had to put old window screens over his boxes to keep the cats from messing in them.
     
  2. scorpio420

    scorpio420 New Member

    Messages:
    9
    State:
    ny
    i used to sell worms as a kid, and i would use worm bedding on bottom with some wet leaves and coffee grounds mixed in, and i would also use cardboard box cuttings. the worms for some reason liked to chow down on the glue inbetween the cardboard.
     

  3. ar_confederate

    ar_confederate New Member

    Messages:
    863
    State:
    Minden, Lo
    I started a worm bed last year on a shoe sting. I tried the plastic tub route but it got too hot for them to do well. I then started using an old large styrofoam ice chest. I started with potting soil and kitchen compost, supplemented with corn meal. They have done well and provide me with enough worms for my fishing trips.
     
  4. alleygator

    alleygator New Member

    Messages:
    12
    State:
    Florida
    I grew up watching my grandpa raising wigglers for fishing in Lake Reddy, in Frostproof, Fl. He only fished for specs and cats. Never used a fancy rod and reel, just a cane pole. When he passed away in 1987 he still had the reeel and rod we gave him for Christmas 10 years prior, never opened or used. He used to raise them in two pits which was walled with concret blocks. Best I can remember he used to sprinkle corn meal on them every once in awhile and kept them wet from the garden hose. I paid attention to his tips 30 years ago and now raise my own in an old bath tub. I feed them only veggies and the coffee and tee grounds from the kitchen. Paper Linner bag and all. They get the scraps from salads and anything left over from the table except meat. The meat will attract varmits and bugs. I always have an abundant supply of worms for fishing and manage to give alot away to friends. Thanks Grandpa for the wisdom and I hope this helps someone else.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  5. willisjj

    willisjj Guest

    Some good stuff there yall...as usual....I have raised them off and on and just decided this week to start another batch of worms. I use big round plastic containers and use only peat moss. I drill some small holes in the bottom of the "tub" for drainage and set it inside another tub so it doesn't make a mess. I keep my worms in the house actually and haven't ever had a problem with smells, bugs, or anything else as long as I watch what I feed them. I water them a little every day and sprinkle corn meal right on top. It would surprise you how much they eat! I will also dig a little hole and put my coffee grounds in. Since I keep em in the house, I don't feed them any leftovers or anything that may rot or attract bugs and such. That Magic "worm food" at Wal mart really works great. They LOVE that stuff..its corn meal with other things mixed in and doesn't cost much. I have to say that in the past, I have really seen my worms grow and breed much faster on that stuff than just the regular corn mean and coffee ground diet that I have them on currently, lol. Anyway...thought I would throw in my 2 cents...
     
  6. peewee williams

    peewee williams New Member

    Messages:
    3,111
    State:
    Pembroke,Georgia
    I learned from a co-worker who raised Red Wigglers on a large scale commercially and sold to a route of bait shops for many years.It was a family business.He used "Peat moss","Dried Cow Manure" and "Black and White Newspaper"cut in strips in equal volumes.I do not know if you could trust the modern inks as they have changed very much.I know as I worked in a chemical plant making the raw materials for ink for many years.Color print was deadly.He would mainly add newsprint along as it settled.He fed them "Chicken Growing Mash"as this was a more complete diet with vitamins and minerals.He had Untreated Cypress boards that he would cover the feed with after he spread a thin streak on top of the bed.He changed out his beds every 2 years and sold the material to a nursery.These worms raise year round in South East Georgia as we do not have the cold of northern climates.They will slack off in colder weather.He slacked off of the feed for most in the winter when the demand was down,and fed enough well to meet his orders.Overfeeding will get bad types of mold,bacteria and souring as he called it.Our imported Fire Ants will sometimes clean out a bed before you know it.Now this man had "to grow thousands of worms per day"to meet his orders when people started fishing in the spring.He helped me get a start in a old "Coke" drink box liner.The kids dumped 100 wigglers in that spring and never bought wigglers for 10 years.I kept the PH right by having my friend at our lab check it for me.I used the fine ground agricultural limestone that is used in the acidic fields of this area,as I needed it.I don;t know what kind of worms you are raising.I would think that things have changed a lot.I don;t know if any of this will be of any help.I love you Brothers and Sisters.peewee

    Added to post:

    City water with Chlorine is as bad for worms as it is for crickets and bait fish.Please let your tap water set in a open container for at least 24 hours before wetting any worms in any container.Not all bottled water is safe,as some is flavored,so I use distilled water from the grocery store.
     
  7. ozzy

    ozzy New Member

    Messages:
    3,936
    State:
    Lost Wages
    I had an old wooden box in the basement at my parents house when I was a kid. I just had dirt from the yard in it and some red worms. All I did was put some potato and carrot peels in there and kept it moist and had worms for years. I wish I could find them worms again. Here In Nevada all I can find is Crawlers. Man them red worms were great, you could soak them for an hour and they still wiggled.
     
  8. Creteus

    Creteus New Member

    Messages:
    1,030
    State:
    Loganville, GA
    I tried this at one time with night crawlers. Did everything you said except for the lime and dirt change because they didn't make it that long. I read further into the matter and came to find out that night crawles take quite the work to keep them satisfied. Temperatures soilf the whole nine yards. Needless to say they didn't reproduce. Now for red wigglers they seem not to care about anything. My grandfather dumped a can of them behind his barn bout 20 years ago. Still to this day all you gotta do is go behind the bard and dig in the dirt a little and its full of them. Too bad you can't do thins with the nightcrawlers. I actually took a tiller and ground up the dirt behind the house and dumped a few pack of night crawlers in and their gone. Any ideas anyone one how to get night crawlers to stay with you?
     
  9. peewee williams

    peewee williams New Member

    Messages:
    3,111
    State:
    Pembroke,Georgia
    Think Damp Black Dirt! Hardwood leaves,grass trimmings,old hay and moisture! (no chlorinated water for these either) From Ballards landing on the Santee where I dug and sold them to South Georgia,old rotting hardwood leaf piles are great sources of worms.Think compost piles,peat,humus!You have to have and be making topsoil and humus.Do not mix Pine,Ceder,Cypress,etc.Anything with needles has resins that they don;t like.It is great to cut some of your leaves,peat,peat moss in with a tiller(hay will often wrap up in your tines) for a start as long as you leave enough for your cover to preserve moister.Spreading or tilling in a little ground Agriculture lime stone will help.Do not overdo the limestone.(No Lime!)A light sprinkling will do.No tilling after your worm bed is established as it will chop up your worms.The worms will keep it soft.Most people will gladly give you their leaves if you will haul them off in the fall.If you have city water,a large plastic garbage can filled and allowed to set for 2 days will do for watering the worms and for bait fish.Your bait fish water is great to use for your worms as long as it is not chemically treated to preserve the bait.All cooked and uncooked vegetable scraps are welcome as long as they are not salted.Catalpa Trees need exactly the same thing on the ground around or near them for the worms to go into to complete their life cycle.Now you must secure these leaves with wire,netting,untreated boards or something as they will blow away until they compact.They do most of their rotting in warm weather but fall is the time to be a good neighbor and haul off their leaves.Old leaf piles around some old churches,cemeteries,etc. where leaves and grass trimmings have been raked for generations into the edge of the woods are often "Worm gold mines".Find one of these and all you have to do is dig!Always cover up where you dig and leave it like you found it.Change it and the worms may leave.Also,ask "kids"where you can find worms.You never know.We call them "Wigglers"in South Georgia.I love you Brothers and Sisters.peewee
     
  10. Phil Washburn

    Phil Washburn New Member

    Messages:
    7,680
    State:
    Shawnee OK
    as long as your lawn/pasture isn't sand (black dirt or topsoil is best), you don't need a closed container. just lay 2 or 3 gunny sacks down and keep them semi-damp. the worms will be there as long as the two sacks are there...just lift the tow sack up and grab a handful when you get ready to go fishing..put the sack back in place, sprinkle a little water on it and you'll have more for the next trip:big_smile:
     
  11. jeremiad

    jeremiad Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,207
    Name:
    Unspecified
    It is no question that compost produces the largest and most abundant night-crawlers. Yet, I can show you a mulch pile in my backyard that has almost no earthworm activity at all. Why? The soil is too acidic.

    Certainly pine needles contain the highest levels of acid, but hardwood leaves, such as oak, hickory, walnut, and maple, are high in acids such as tannin, too. In fact, the pH of such soils are often around 5.5. Earthworms will prefer soil with a pH closer to 6.5. Although my mulch pile has minimal pine product, its pH is still too high for night-crawler farming.

    This is where lime comes in. Lime is an alkaline that is used to offset acid levels and balance pH. This is why you want to use lime in your earthworm bed! The real question then is, "What kind of lime should I use?"

    There are four basic types: powdered, granulated, pelleted, and liquid.

    Powdered lime is the white stuff often used to mark playing fields. Folks used to slather cellars with powdered lime to control moisture and to keep snakes at bay. It was believed that powdered lime burned a snake's belly. If so, then certainly powdered lime is a bad choice for earthworms! Powdered lime is full-powered alkaline--far too powerful for your night-crawlers' survival.

    Similar problems exist with liquid lime, but even worse. Both liquid and powdered lime will "nuke" your worm bed then leech out leaving the same acidic soil behind. Bad choices.

    The pellets are neat, but expensive; pellets are made primarily for lawn spreaders. The best choice would be granulated: inexpensive, easy to handle, and effective. Granulated lime is often called dolomite, which is basically ground-up limestone. It begins working immediately, but slowly, and breaks down slowly over time.

    Go gently with the lime...you usually won't need as much as you think. In fact, you might even want to test your soil's pH for best results. Just purchase a soil pH test kit from your local garden center.

    Good worm farming wishes to you!
     
  12. Love Them Cats

    Love Them Cats New Member

    Messages:
    454
    State:
    Vinita, Oklahoma
    I decided to try to grow my own worms last year. I use plastic tubs, but really hadn't had the time to take care of them like I should?

    Two weeks ago I decided to change the dirt and I was surprised to see how may baby worms I had?

    I don't know how often they lay eggs, but I decided to keep the old dirt and go through it in a month or so and see how may babies was in it?

    When you change the dirt, you might be throwing away a bunch of worms, so give it a little time and go through it again before you toss it out?

    Ken