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Old 06-26-2019, 08:21 PM
 
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Hi Folks...

When pitchforking and rubbing compost through my screen, I frequently encounter earthworms. These are regular earthworms that have taken up residence in the pile, not the specialized one's you introduce to aid in breakdown. I don't have the heart to quite literally and figuratively "rub them out" as it were (although this happens by accident on occasion), yet continually stopping to extract them and toss them back onto the pile can get tedious and time consuming.

What do you do in this circumstance, and do you have any suggestions regarding same?

Thank You....
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Old 06-26-2019, 09:47 PM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic
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What do you do with the compost? Most of mine went into the vegetable garden, so I moved them over there.
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Old 06-26-2019, 10:29 PM
 
Location: Out there somewhere...a traveling man.
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Leave the worms in they're good for aeration.
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Old 06-26-2019, 10:51 PM
 
Location: British Columbia ~🌄 ☀️ ♥ 🍁 ♥ ☀️🌄~
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Hmmm. I had no idea there was such a thing as specialized earthworms that you could introduce to aid in breakdown. Do they have a name?

I have lots of good sized earthworms in the compost pile but I don't know what kind they are. They do a good job of aiding in breakdown and aerating the pile and each one of them is a precious treasure to me so I watch out for them if I'm screening the soil. I do pick them out and set them aside into a bucket of soil that I keep beside me, which later all gets dumped back into the compost pile and some back into the screened soil that I'll be using after I'm finished. If there's a lot in the bucket I'll add a large handful of worms to the patio containers and houseplants too. I never let a good earthworm go to waste.

.
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Old 06-27-2019, 02:26 AM
 
Location: Old Hippie Heaven
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoisite View Post
Hmmm. I had no idea there was such a thing as specialized earthworms that you could introduce to aid in breakdown. Do they have a name?

I have lots of good sized earthworms in the compost pile but I don't know what kind they are. They do a good job of aiding in breakdown and aerating the pile and each one of them is a precious treasure to me so I watch out for them if I'm screening the soil. I do pick them out and set them aside into a bucket of soil that I keep beside me, which later all gets dumped back into the compost pile and some back into the screened soil that I'll be using after I'm finished. If there's a lot in the bucket I'll add a large handful of worms to the patio containers and houseplants too. I never let a good earthworm go to waste.

.
Yes. They're generally called red worms (there are about three different species IIRC) or manure worms, and they are the worms you should use in enclosed worm boxes. They have a higher tolerance for heat than do regular earthworms. And if you buy bait worms, you may be getting red worms rather than earthworms, because the red worms are easier to raise.

Worm boxes are great for composting kitchen waste because they don't attract rats and flies, as sometimes occurs in open compost piles. And if you have a humanure composting system, they are the worms you want working those piles.

https://farmhomestead.com/build-worm-bin/
Make a Worm Farm Using a Large Rubbermaid Container
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Old 06-27-2019, 06:02 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wit-nit View Post
Leave the worms in they're good for aeration.
Yes of course, I do not purposefully extract them, they are in clumps of compost I run through my screen that appear as the clump diminishes in the screening process. I try to rescue as many as I can and toss them back onto the pile, and although I remain close enough to the pile to stave off hungry birds, occasionally I have to BURY them back into the pile if a red breasted robin is near.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoisite View Post
I have lots of good sized earthworms in the compost pile but I don't know what kind they are. They do a good job of aiding in breakdown and aerating the pile and each one of them is a precious treasure to me so I watch out for them if I'm screening the soil. I do pick them out and set them aside into a bucket of soil that I keep beside me, which later all gets dumped back into the compost pile and some back into the screened soil that I'll be using after I'm finished. If there's a lot in the bucket I'll add a large handful of worms to the patio containers and houseplants too. I never let a good earthworm go to waste.
.
Bucket idea sounds great Zoisite, adopting practice post haste. Thanks for the tip, and thanks to all for your input/advice....
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Old 06-27-2019, 07:21 AM
 
Location: Swiftwater, PA
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I always figured, if I had plenty of worms in my compost, that I did something right! The more worms the merrier. Unfortunately, when we had ducks, they kept down the worm numbers. Now, without the ducks; my worms are again thriving.

I never worried about collecting them or damaging them when I turned over the soil. Of course it depends on the 'instrument' that you use. The 'digging fork' (like this one https://www.google.com/shopping/prod...E,gclsrc:aw.ds) does less damage to the worms and breaks up clump pretty good. Worms don't like shovels as good since it tends to slice them into pieces.

If you're in the habit of collecting the worms in a bucket; have you tried learning how to fish? If you don't like fish; have you tried worms: Earthworms - Eat The Weeds and other things, too. If neither appeal to you; then I would just leave the worms work their magic and aerate your soil.
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Old 06-27-2019, 07:25 AM
 
Location: SoCal
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The earthworms in my area only aerate clay soil. Otherwise they are red wiggling worms.
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Old 06-27-2019, 10:07 AM
 
Location: Raleigh
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Why on earth would you be concerned about earthworms? They all aid in breakdown. They eat organic particulate and break it down and aerate soil.

That you have them in your compost pile simply means that its a healthy compost pile.
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Old 06-27-2019, 02:38 PM
 
Location: Cumberland
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Keep as many worms as you can. If the birds get some, or a lot, don't worry. More worms, and all kinds of other bugs, will find your compost and keep breaking it down.

We have a robin's nest right next to our compost pile. We enjoy watching the birds pick through for worms, then feed their chicks. As we see it, the compost is for all the living things we try to sustain on our property; the worms, the isopods, the centipedes, the birds, the plants in the garden, and so on.
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