Skip to main content

Speakers Bureau: Red Wigglers Are Very Prolific in Home Worm Bins

Eisenia fetida, known under various common names such as manure worm,[2] redwormbrandling wormpanfish wormtrout wormtiger wormred wiggler worm, etc., is a species of earthworm adapted to decaying organic material. These worms thrive in rotting vegetationcompost, and manure. They are epigean, rarely found in soil. 

—Wikipedia® text; used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License 3.0

John Kobal’s fun, creative and educational presentation on Worm Composting at the Medford Library on Saturday, May 14, did not disappoint. John pointed out that the red wiggler works at the surface and is prolific. With just a few Red Wigglers to start, you can rapidly end up with a bin-full. 

John cautioned the audience to not confuse these surface dwellers with the earthworms who create tunnels and networks several feet down into the soil, taking nutrients and oxygen down with them. Other earthworms are not suitable for worm bins.

Those present could purchase the few items needed to make a worm bin and start raising red wigglers tomorrow. 

He brought several books, but mentioned one in particular as his personal go-to book: Worms Eat My Garbage, by Mary Applehof.

I am sure he had at least one convert in the room. After sharing his container full of red wigglers, John put them on a paper and demonstrated that they do not like light. We all went up to the table and looked at the pile of worms as they dove into the interior of the soil pile to get away from the light. He also had a container of worm castings which looked a bit like dried coffee grounds. He put the pile of worms and their soil back in the container and offered them to the participants. One young lady raised her hand and smiled brightly when John gave her the container of worms.

John was a brave soul to take on the first-time hybrid Zoom/in-person platform for a garden presentation. I am sure he made some last-minute adjustment to accommodate that this was new and being worked out. Originally, the presentation was to be in one of the library’s garden areas where soil and worms on the ground would not be an issue. The hybrid class was moved indoors to a room with new carpeting. Thanks, John, for flexibility and a pioneering spirit to take on new technology and for being neat and clean about relocation! This hybrid model will probably become the norm as we move away from COVID-19 and back to normal. After all, what gardener has not learned the lesson of flexibility? There will be changes as new techniques are explored and new equipment becomes available. 

There were six people on Zoom and seven in person. The in-person people did have the advantage of handling the worms and seeing what castings look like. One happy person left with her new “pets.”

Thanks again, John, for a very enjoyable and instructive hour.