I don’t have an actual question to quote for this ‘reader questions’ post, but I do want to tackle a topic that has come up in emails I’ve received (two very recently) – and a topic that never ceases to make me smile, I might add!
As a serious ‘Worm Head‘ and vermicomposting business owner, the notion of having “too many worms” is a completely foreign concept. There really is no such thing, in my mind.
Of course, it is important for me to alter my perspective in these situations, and put myself in the shoes of someone just getting into vermicomposting. Obviously not everyone wants to continue expanding their worm herd indefinitely, and with all the claims of worm population doubling speeds out there, the possibility of creating a thriving worm bin can probably seem almost a little scary! The thought of having one’s home overrun by worms doesn’t exactly give you the ‘warm and fuzzies’, after all. (might actually make for a good horror movie plot!)
Well, the good news is that worms will NEVER take over your home or expand their numbers to such an extent as to be a nuisance – without your assistance that is! Obviously, if you continue to expand your population to more and more bins, you will be creating potential heachaches in the form of space issues, spousal unrest, fruit fly nightmares etc.
But a single vermicomposting system will reach a maximum carrying capacity, resulting in a slow down of worm reproduction, and potentially even a reduction in the current population. Of course, you WILL still need to periodically clean out the system and start fresh – but there is no rule that states that you must either build a bigger system or start up multiple systems the second time around! You are more than welcome to simply use the same sized bin and continue on your merry way.
Now – let’s chat about WHY you might want to be supportive of your worm population’s desire to expand. Lots and lots of worms is not necessarily a bad thing – HONEST!
Here are some of the things you can do with more worms…
1) Compost more of your food waste – produce more vermicompost – promote the growth and health of more of your plants!
2) Sell them or give them away – there a LOTS of people out there more than willing to take composting worms off your hands. Trust me! Just put an add in one of the free online classified ad sites (eg Craigslist, Kijiji etc) and see what happens
3) Make an outdoor ‘in situ’ vermicomposting bed, like my vermicomposting trenches. These systems typically require a lot of worms to reach their maximum potential, so continuing to add all those extra worms from your indoor system(s) could be a good way to get them started.
4) Add them to your ‘regular’ backyard composter – composting worms can greatly enhance the processing time/efficiency of these systems, and create some pretty phenomenal compost while they are at it!
5) Feed them to your fish/chickens/turtles/frogs/snakes/lizards etc or go fishing more often! It kinda pains me to include this one since I’ve grown attached to my own worms (“Every Worm is Sacred, Every Worm is Great!” – any Monty Python fans out there might pick up on that one. haha).
6) Get your friends and family involved – help them set up their own vermicomposting systems
That’s just a handful of ideas – I’m sure there are other possibilities as well! As you can see, there is definitely nothing to worry about – producing lots and lots of worms can definitely be a good thing!
Hope this helps!