Here is a question from Jeff:
I have a rabbit colony that is on an area of my pool deck
over a tile floor and on about 6″ of grass hay. I want to put the
worms directly under them so they compost the rabbit manure and hay
continuously. The rabbit area is on a covered pool deck so it gets
some rain occasionally to keep them wet. I’m also in Florida where
it’s humid and warm all year long. Will the worms be able to survive
in JUST rabbit manure and hay?
That’s a really interesting question! Let me start by saying ‘yes’, composting worms can certainly go under rabbit cages and feed on the rabbit droppings – but, it’s not traditionally done in the manner you’ve described.
Normally, the rabbit cages would be elevated up off the ground, positioned over beds where the waste materials would fall – the composting worms would be found in these beds. This is actually a great way to combine worm and rabbit farming as a mutually beneficial combo business.
Your case is a little different (if I am understanding you correctly) in that there is no space between the rabbit zone and the worm zone, other than the layer of straw. You mentioned the straw material getting wet underneath when it rains sometimes. If it DID stay relatively moist in this zone at all times, without the moisture pooling too much, I think worms would be very happy down there, especially if you ensured that there were plenty of rabbit droppings down in that zone as well.
You could assist the process by adding even more straw up top for the rabbits. This way you could probably get away with adding a little more moisture down below, and it would also help to cushion the worms a bit more – I suspect that the movement of the rabbits could disturb them a fair bit if the layer between them was too shallow.
One of the downsides of this approach is that it would probably be more of a pain to ‘harvest’ the compost and/or worms if you ever desired to do so. It might also get a little messy if there was ever a heavy rain fall, since this could potentially flush out a fair amount of the ‘dirty’ stuff down below (although I would imagine that must be the case now as well). You mentioned this being on a pool deck – hopefully you don’t have to worry about run-off into your pool!
If I was going to do this I would probably only start with a small quantity of worms at first to see how they made out. The last thing you would want is to have a pound or two of worms crawling all over your pool deck if they don’t like conditions in the bed! Perhaps you could start up a separate ‘regular’ worm bin for most of the worms, and simply add 1/4 or 1/8 of a pound to the straw zone to see what happens. If it is how I’m imagining it, I suspect they would love this environment and would end up breeding very quickly.
Anyway – hope this helps
[tags]rabbits, rabbit farming, worm farming, worm composting, red worms, composting worms, worm beds[/tags]Have You Checked Out The "Ultimate" Vermi-Education Bundle Specials? >>Click Here<< to Learn More!
Yet another challenge that has been overdue for an update!
Well, as you can see, our horse manure bin does indeed have adult worms – and some of them are quite large – but all in all, I’ve ended up quite surprised by the results of this experiment.
As you may recall, I predicted that cocoons would hatch more quickly and that worms would mature more quickly in manure-based system. I’ve seen how fast a population of Red Worms can grow in a manure heap, and how readily these worms will move into aged manure when it’s added to a worm composting system, so I figured that this would be close to the optimal situation for these cocoons.
Interestingly enough, the results of this trial didn’t seem to differ all that much from the food waste trial – in fact, if anything, I would say that the population growth has been a lot more successful in the food waste system. Unfortunately I don’t have exact stats for you, but I know for sure that the cocoons in the manure bin took a fair bit longer to hatch than those in the regular bin – this is a big part of why there haven’t been any updates. I just kinda got tired of looking in the bin and still not finding any baby worms!
I am also quite sure that the hatching success in the manure bin has not been as high as in the other bin. Even when I did finally start seeing baby worms, it seemed really difficult to track down more than two or three at a time. Yesterday when I was digging around in the bin quite a bit I probably found less than ten worms total!
I started the manure bin on or close to July 14th, and have only recently (this week) been able to find mature worms. I would say with a fair degree of confidence that once again, worms only started to mature around the 5-6 week mark. So, despite the fact that the population as a whole doesn’t seem to be doing as well in this system, there are still some worms maturing in the same amount of time as those in the food waste bin.
I will be interested to see how things develop in coming months. I’d like to harvest the entire population in both bins after say 6 months or so (from start date of each system), and really compare numbers – adults, babies, cocoons.
Something else I would also like to try is setting up a combo bin that has aged manure AND food waste / cardboard to see what happens there.
As far as the other bin goes, things seem to be moving along in there very well. There are a LOT of adults, along with plenty of juveniles and cocoons as well.
Previous 50 Cocoon Challenge Posts
The 50 Cocoon Challenge
50 Cocoon Challenge – Update #1
50 Cocoon Challenge – Update #2
50 Cocoon Challenge – Update #3
50 Cocoon Challenge – Horse Manure
50 Cocoon Challenge – Update #4
I just wanted to post a quick update for the ‘Manure-Chard Challenge‘. Nothing TOO exciting to report on, but certainly some things worth mentioning.
First and foremost, we have chard seedlings popping up in both buckets now. Interestingly enough, the fastest germination seems to be occurring in the manure-only bucket, where the first ones appeared, and where there are now more seedlings up. Not sure if the different between the two systems has been enough to really warrant mulling over the possible causes – I would need to set up a bunch of systems to see if this is even a consistent occurrence.
My main interest is in seeing what happens over the long-haul, especially once we’re left with our final three champion plants in each bucket (as you may or may not recall, I planted three sets of four seeds in each bucket so that one ‘good’ one from each group can be selected to continue on).
Last post, I mentioned that I’d hopefully be taking pictures of the systems every other day, in order to document all the significant changes. Well, during the first few days of observation I realized that this would be basically be like watching paint dry! 😆
The systems simply aren’t changing all that much on a day to day basis. SO, my aim is now to take pics once or maybe twice per week.
Here on Day 9, I can honestly say that the level of material in the two buckets does seem different (difficult to see in the picture above – the worm system is on the right-hand side, by the way) – with the worm tub not surprisingly having the lower level. The texture of the manure on the surface also seems somewhat different (again, tough to see in the pic), with the worm-worked material having slightly more of a flattened appearance.
Anyway, that’s pretty much it for this earth-shattering update!
Hopefully we’ll start to see some interesting differences (or no differences at all, which will also be interesting) as things develop in coming weeks.
In my last vermicomposting trench update I mentioned that I have been testing out some other Red Worm gardening methods to see how well they work. By now, most people likely know about my ‘Worm Bed Potato Towers‘, but there are still several ‘vermi-gardens’ I haven’t written about at all.
I love the vermi-trench concept, especially since it has a lot of value as a worm bed for someone trying to raise worms for sale – but I know not everyone is trying to grow pounds of worms, or feels like getting involved in that sort of back-breaking labor – just for the sake of helping the garden grow. Trenches also take up valuable garden ‘real estate’, and can even get in the way a bit when you are trying to access your gardens (I have a plan for next year that will hopefully solve both of these concerns).
The long and the short of it is that I wanted some methods that could be applied to a ‘regular ol’ garden without too much in the way of extra labor. Thus the ‘vermi-mulch’ (I sometimes refer to it as ‘living much’) concept was born.
Now, let me start by saying right off the bat that this approach – just like anything else I’ve done to date – is not some sort of revolutionary new concept. I would never claim to have “invented” any of these ideas – but they also have not been taken from anyone else (I always aim to give credit where credit is due). Just as an interesting aside regarding my vermicomposting trenches – while in all honesty I had never heard of anything referred to as a (vermi-)composting trench when I started writing my articles about them, I was rather amused when I eventually came across an article in Mother Earth News from the 70’s that talked about the exact same concept, sans worms.
Anyway…back to our topic of discussion…
I’ve basically created two new veggie gardens (not counting container-type gardens like the potato boxes) this year in my backyard, and have been doing the vermi-mulching in both. As the title of this post implies, I’ll be talking here about the ‘bean garden’.
I have NEVER had any luck growing veggie legumes in the past. I’ve always been able to grow really nice looking seedlings using peat pellets, but once they’ve hit the garden, they’ve always struggled. I don’t even think I fully realized just how much they struggled in the past until I finally witnessed (this season) what beans/peas can do when provided with good growing conditions.
The main goal of the bean garden was to produce an abundant crop of green bush beans, along with two different kinds of pole beans. (I also included some swiss chard and marigolds for kicks and giggles)
Inspiration for the garden (and much of my veggie gardening this year in general) came from my new favorite gardening book, ‘The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible‘ (links to a review I wrote on the Compost Guy blog). The author has included many amazing photos of his own garden, and it helped me to visualize what I wanted mine to look like.
As with most new gardens, it all started with some digging. I’m a bit of a masochist however, so rather than renting a rototiller, I decided to do it all by hand!
June 12, 2009 – It all started with some digging…and then some more digging
Ok, so I’m only joking about being a masochist – what it really comes down to is the fact that I love working out in the garden, and just plain enjoy the added appeal of doing it all by hand.
I basically just turned over all the grass, then chopped and dug, chopped and dug…over and over and over again. Next I dug in a large quantity of the bedded horse manure I’ve been working with this year. I wanted to add rich organic matter for the benefit of both the Red Worms AND the plants.
I next set up a bamboo pole teepee in the middle of the garden, with some plastic netting wrapped around it, to help provide the pole beans with as much vertical growing space as possible. [Now that I’ve seen what these plants can do, I have much bigger plans for them next year!]
June 14, 2009 – Teepee up and beans planted
Once the tepee was erected and ready to go, it was time to start planting! As per usual, all the plants had been started in peat pellets – I find that introducing plants as seedlings (rather than direct seeding) gives them much more of a fighting chance against pests and disease early on (and even once they are fully grown for that matter). I actually planted a similar set of yellow bush beans around the perimeter of my second vermi-mulch garden – but direct seeded them – and they were mauled badly by slugs as they germinated and started growing. The bean crop from these plants will be much lower I suspect.
The beginning of the vermi-mulch idea starts in the planting hole. Before adding the plant, I filled each hole most of the way full with a coarse vermicompost material (something I refer to as ‘compost ecosystem’) – basically the ‘stuff’ that worms have been harvested from. It still contains lots of juvenile worms and cocoons however – certainly enough to create our future worm population in the garden. The advantage of starting in the hole, aside from giving the plants a nice boost early on, is that it provides the worms with an important refuge during the hot, sunny weeks before the vegetation starts shading the bed (although, as you’ll learn in a minute, there were other ways to help keep the worms sheltered)
Next, it was a matter of adding more and more of this same material over top of the soil as a mulch. I only did so because I happened to have lots of it on-hand at the time. You could just as easily add aged horse manure or some other rich organic matter.
June 14, 2009 – More compost ecosystem gets spread over the surface of the garden
I left the garden covered with just this compost material for the first little while, but not too surprisingly, I had to water it quite regularly just to make sure it didn’t completely bake (and dry out) in the summer sun.
The next logical step of course was to add a layer of straw over top…
June 27 – Straw mulch helps to keep things moist down below.
At this stage, the vermi-mulch garden was basically complete! All that was left to do was water the plants periodically and leave them grow. Additional layers of organic matter (aged manure, grass clippings etc) were added every now and again, and once the inside of the teepee was quite shaded from the pole beans, I actually heaped up a pretty substantial amount of aged manure right in the middle – this basically became a central hub of Red Wiggler activity (although there were plenty all throughout the mulch layer as well).
July 2, 2009 – Plants coming along nicely. Chard starting to look tasty!
During the early stages of plant growth I still wasn’t sure what to expect. Everything seemed to be doing ok, but I just could imagine how the plants would ever get to the point of actually filling out the garden.
July 17, 2009 – Really starting to fill in now!
Obviously one factor that may have limited growth somewhat early on was the cold weather. It was more like May than June/July! But eventually the real warmth did arrive (later in July) and the plants really seemed to respond quickly. I had wondered if my bean plants would ever look as healthy and dark green as the ones pictured in gardeners ‘bible’. Well, as the first and last images show, I really didn’t have anything to worry about!
July 23, 2009 – Getting close to first harvest for the bush beans. Likely eating chard by this point
I love to eat green and yellow garden beans – nothing quite like steaming (or lightly boiling) them, then putting a little butter and salt over top! Mmmmmmm…
One thing you quickly realize when to grow this many bean plants however, is that no matter HOW tasty these beans are and how much you love them – there are always going to be too many to eat!
July 29, 2009 – First harvest of green beans – many, many more bowls of beans since then!
What’s cool about this growing season, is that we now have a freezer down in the basement, so I will definitely be well stocked in zucchini, tomatoes (hopefully – haha), beans, and chard stalks for the cold months ahead. There is going to be a LOT of spagetti, chili, soup, stew and stir-fry served in Christie household this winter!
August 11, 2009 – Lots and lots of beans for the pickin! Amazing how thick the growth on the teepee is by this point.
All in all, I have been extremely pleased with the growth of the plants in my vermi-mulch bean garden. I have no idea how much of the success can be attributed to the Red Worms and the castings they’ve produced, but I have little doubt that they have been very beneficial!
What’s funny about all of this, is that I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told people that Red Worms shouldn’t be added to your garden! They are ‘composting worms’ after all!
Clearly, with a little extra effort, you can indeed enjoy the benefits of having Red Worms (and European Nightcrawlers for that matter) in your gardens, and I certainly encourage everyone to set up their own vermigardening systems. Speaking of ‘vermigardening’ (and referring back to the above-mentioned bit about ‘giving credit where credit is due’) – if this is a topic that interests you, I highly recommend you not only check out (and sign up for) the Vermicomposters forum, but specifically, you should also join the Vermigardening group there (where I first came across that term being used).
Believe it or not, there is still one more vermigardening experiment I’ve been meaning to tell you about! It involves more bean growing – but with an interesting twist!
Man, I should be a professional sale name thinker-upper!
Ok – enough monkey business! As I mentioned in my last post, I was recently contacted my my main worm supplier and informed that he has some mixed batches of European Nightcrawlers (Eisenia hortensis) and Red Worms (Eisenia fetida) available for sale at a reduced price. This is a great example of a ‘making lemonade with lemons’ kinda scenario, and I am really glad that he decided to go this route rather than considering the mixed beds a write-off.
Also, let me reiterate the (important) fact that these worms are not coming from my main European Nightcrawler person (ie when you order Euros from my “Buy Worms” page, they come from someone who deals only in Euros), and they are smaller than your typical ‘bait-sized’ Euros (the ones in these mixes, that is).
Although you obviously won’t be getting a nice pure culture of worms, in my mind this is definitely a ‘win/win’ situation – since you’ll pay $10 less than my regular ‘5 lb of Red Worms’ price (and $29 less than my current SALE price for Euros)!
In other words…for $89 USD you can get a 5 lb (worm weight) mixed bag of these worms shipped to your door!
Unfortunately, these worms ARE only available to those of you located in the continental U.S. (and actually only the ‘contiguous states’, for those of you who still consider Alaska part of the continent, like me 🙂 ) – and I don’t think the offer will be available for long.
As I discussed in my previous post (linked to above), there is definitely some evidence to indicate that these two worm species will do just fine together in a single vermicomposting system, despite the fact that Red Worms tend to grow and reproduce more quickly. If you are still worried, and want to ensure that they don’t negatively affect one another, you can of course try to hand separate them as well – or at least collect a bunch of the Euros to start up a Euro-only bin.
Anyway, I don’t want to write another essay here (but do recommend you read my ‘Do Euros and Red Worms Get Along?‘ post) and also want to keep things simple. So here is the order button for anyone wishing to buy some of these worms:
UPDATE: THE SALE IS OVER – MIXED WORM ORDERS ARE NO LONGER AVAILABLE UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
This will be the only order button for this sale (but I’ll put a link to this post at the top of the “Buy Worms” page). As always, payments are handled by paypal, but you do not need a paypal account.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to fire me an email (please include a subject that relates to all of this).
Also as per usual, these worms get sent out early in the week, and the deadline for getting your order in is still mid-Saturday-afternoon (EST). If you don’t think you will be home to receive the worms mid- to late-week, please also let me know so we can place a post office hold on the order.
Ok, nuff said!
Small European Nightcrawler (Eisenia hortensis) found in one of my vermicomposting trenches
When you are a professional worm farmer selling multiple species of worms, it can be a real pain when one species invades the bed(s) of another. In fact, a lot of times this can mean that the batch of worms is no longer good for sale. This helps to explain why a lot of worm farmers prefer to stick to one species – and one species ONLY!
Late last fall, my main Red Worm grower (for U.S. orders) decided to start dabbling in Euro growing. Some of you may recall the “Euro Shipping Sale” I held back in January to showcase these smaller-than-usual Euros (not to be confused with the Euros I currently sell here on the site – which come from a completely different, Euro-only worm dealer).
Well, as I recently learned from my supplier, some of the Euro beds at the Red Worm farm have now been invaded by Reds, meaning that the worms can no longer be sold as either Euros or Reds. Rather than giving up on those beds however, he’s decided to now offer mixed batches of worms – at a discount!
I thought this was an interesting “outside the box” approach to what many worm farmers would consider to be a ‘problem’, and have decided to start offering (very soon) these mixed batches for sale here on the site – at least for as long as they are available. (more details about all this in another upcoming post)
Now, this brings us to the topic of this post – a question I get asked a fair amount. In a nutshell…can Red Worms and European Nightcrawlers be kept in the same system?
The short answer is ‘of course!’ – but you know how I feel about ‘short answers’!
Red Worms and European Nightcrawlers are very closely related species of worms (they share the same genus name, after all), but are distinct enough that they cannot reproduce and create ‘hybrid worms’ (sorry folks – that’s a myth!). What’s interesting about this topic is the fact that when people ask if they can keep their Euros and Reds together, I tell them ‘yes’, but normally recommend not doing so.
Part of my rationale behind this advice has to do with the fact that I often tend to think like a worm farmer, and forget that many of my readers are vermicomposting explorers (ie people who simply want to play with worms, reduce their wastes, and grow big plants). As I alluded to above, if you mix these worms together, your chances of easily separating them again are slim to none (again, a situation that can be a real pain if you are a worm seller)!
Difficulties with future separation aside…
The fact that Euros are typically more expensive than Red Worms, coupled with the fact that they usually prefer somewhat different living conditions than Reds, adds some justification to my recommendation to keep them apart.
Also, as I’ve written about in another post, academic research has shown that Euros are typically a ‘slower’ worm, in terms of development, reproduction etc. Here again are some interesting results I shared (from two different sources) previously:
From Edwards (1988)*:
# of viable hatchlings per cocoon – 3.3
Time to Maturity – 85-149 days
# of viable hatchlings per cocoon – 1.1
Time to Maturity – 97-214 days
From Dominguez (2004)*:
# of viable hatchlings per cocoon – 2.5-3.8
Time to Maturity – 28-30 days
Life cycle – 45-51 days
Hatching viability – 73-80%
# of viable hatchlings per cocoon – 1.1
Time to Maturity – 65 days
Life cycle – 100-150 days
Hatching viability – 20%
*References listed at end of post
This information seems to suggest that there is some potential for Red Worms to outcompete Euros if they are in the same system – yet another reason to think about keeping them separate. My own (limited) experience with mixed beds, seemed to support this possibility…but as I’ll explain in a minute, I’ve made some intriguing discoveries this year that have made me question my ‘no mixing’ advice.
Let’s first chat about the previous experience. Quite some time ago I wrote about one of my Euro bins going ‘sour’, and how I subsequently added the contents of this bin to my big backyard Red Worm bin. Well, long-story-short, those Euros basically vanished without a trace – I did find one or two when I was harvesting vermicompost from the bin the following spring, but for the most part the system seemed to remain a ‘Red Worm bed’.
In hindsight, there are certainly some possibilities re: what may have happened here. For starters, Euros tend to prefer the deeper zones in a vermicomposting system, where temperatures are often lower, and moisture content is higher. This actually reminds me of the funny experience I had when I tried to introduce Euros to one of my Worm Inns. In that situation, when I couldn’t find any Euros within a matter of days from the time I introduced them, I also felt like they had ‘disappeared’ on me. What I discovered however, was that they were simply congregating down in the lower reaches of the Inn (the irony being that this was actually a drier zone than near the surface).
Something else that’s really important to keep in mind is the fact that most of the worms I found in the vermicompost harvesting zone of my backyard bin (and there were a LOT of them) were teeny tiny! There wouldn’t have been much food value in this material by that point, so the worms ended up getting smaller and smaller. As such, it is perfectly reasonable to guess that some of these little wigglers could just as easily have been Euros (since it becomes more difficult to distinguish these species when they shrink really small).
Moving on to my interesting discoveries from this year…
Last summer/fall I added a batch of worms – that happened to have a few Euros in it – to my sandbox trench. Given my previous experience with adding Euros to Red-Worm-dominated systems, and given the fact that I was literally only adding a handful of them, I was sure that would be the last time I’d see Euros in my outdoor beds (unless I added them again).
Well interestingly enough, this spring and summer I have been finding Euros in my trenches – and not just in the sandbox trench either (although most seem to be in this area). I clearly remember how shocked I was early in the spring when I found a JUMBO Euro in my main trench – believe me, I’ve been kicking myself ever since for not running to get the camera, then writing about it on the blog. Speaking of which, I was actually very happy to get the news about the mixed worms from my supplier, since it reminded me of the fact that I’ve been meaning to write about this topic for quite some time now!
So…the moral of the story (haha), is that I am no longer convinced that keeping Reds and Euros together is ‘bad’ – well, at least not in vermicomposting trenches!
By the way – something else I found really interesting about the Euros in my sandbox garden is that I didn’t find them way down deep – some of them (such as the cute little fella pictured above) are actually doing just fine up in the garden itself, where I added some manure and straw for the benefit of the corn plants growing there.
Anyway, I will certainly be interested to hear what others have to say about mixing these two species of worms! If you do have some experiences to share, please chime in – this could make for a really interesting discussion!
Also, as mentioned above – for anyone who is feeling vermi-adventurous, I will be offering batches (5 lb) of Euro/Red mixes for sale very soon at a discounted price (and will write a post about it on the blog – perhaps even up by the time you are reading this).
**UPDATE: Learn more about the sale here >>> The Euro / Red Worm Mixed Bag Sale**
Dominguez, J. 2004. State-of-the-art and and new perspectives on vermicomposting research. In: “Earthworm Ecology”. Edwards, C.A. (ed). CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp. 401-424.
Edwards, C.A. 1988. Breakdown of animal, vegetable and industrial organic wastes by earthworms. In: “Earthworms in waste and environmental management”. Edwards, C.A. & Neuhauser, E.F. (eds). SPB Academic Publishing Co, The Hague, pp. 21-31.
Can Red Worms improve the value of farmyard manure as a soil amendment?
This seems to be the year of ‘challenges’ here at Red Worm Composting! Hopefully everyone is having as much fun reading about these things as I do setting them up and writing about them.
This particular experiment was inspired by a comment that someone left on the blog some time ago – I can’t even remember the particular post it was associated with, but what’s more important is the gist of the comment itself. In a nutshell, the person said that horse manure is generally not considered a good soil amendment by gardeners since it is fairly low in nitrogen (compared to other manures) and often contains lots of weed seeds.
Well, I’m not all that concerned about weeds myself, but I was fascinated by the notion that horse manure doesn’t really have good fertilizer value. It seems to be working quite well in my gardens and trenches this year. Of course, in my case the ‘missing link’ MAY be the large population of Red Worms that happens to be feeding on this manure – and THIS is exactly what I’m setting out to test with this experiment.
Right off the bat I should once again remind everyone that I use the term ‘experiment’ rather loosely. I have a huge amount of respect for the scientific method, but I rarely set up tests that will offer statistically-significant results (since I rarely set up multiple reps or repeat the experiment) – so I hereby encourage people not to take my findings as ‘gospel’ by any means.
Ok – moving on to the challenge…
Yesterday, I filled two small buckets (each with multiple drainage holes in the bottom) with moistened, aged horse manure – the same stuff I regularly feed to my worm herd. To one of the buckets I then added approximately 1/4 lb of Red Worms (Eisenia fetida).
Next, I placed 12 Swiss Chard (‘Rhubarb Chard’) seeds on the surface of the manure (in three distinct zones with four seeds in each), and lastly added an additional thin layer of manure (which I then sprayed down with water).
My goal is to determine if the presence of composting worms makes a difference in the germination and/or growth of the chard plants. Will the plants grow faster/slower? Will they be bigger/smaller? Will they look different in general from those in the manure treatment?
We shall see!
My plan is to select only one plant from each group of four, thus (hopefully) guaranteeing that we end up with three healthy plants for the main growth period. Each bucket will receive the same amount of water, and the same amount of additional manure (if it becomes necessary to add more), and of course be grown in basically the same spot (so identical light, temperature etc). Speaking of which, I have put the buckets up on my deck, with each also sitting on its own set of pedestals to help ensure that the non-worm treatment doesn’t end up with worms.
Judging by all the dirty tracks around the rim of the worm bucket this morning, I suspect that I may have lost some of my worms already. I found some huddled under a nearby planter, and I’m sure any others that ventured out will have gone down through the cracks in the deck. I am not particularly concerned about this since I have every confidence that a decent number of worms will stay put, and enjoy living in the moistened manure.
I am going to take pictures of the buckets as often as I can remember (hopefully every couple of days or so) so as to get a good photo record of the changes occurring in the buckets over time. I will of course also be providing plenty of updates as we go along.
Should be fun!