Raising Fishing Worms - Some Things You Should Know

Most of the information available regarding vermiculture assumes that the purpose is to produce the worm castings, which are a rich soil amendment. But what if one wants to start a worm farm for the purpose of raising fishing worms? The method would probably be different. Here is one possible way.

Get ahold of a watertight container, such as a plastic bin, washtub, metal drum cut in half horizontally, or other suitable vessel. If using metal, you might want to paint the inside with a good exterior paint to keep any rust from taking hold, since the environment will be damp.

Start with around a hundred red wigglers or similar type worm that is popular for fishing and is a top feeder that won't burrow down. Put about six inches of soil in the container - don't use sandy soils. Add and mix in about two inches more of organic matter like rotten straw or dead leaves, then add your worms.

For feeding, throw in around a half pound of shortening and a pound of cornmeal and mix into the top couple inches of the soil. Cover the container. Wood boards or damp burlap work well here. Here's a slightly more complex feed mix you can also try if so inclined : Chicken Layers Pellets 50% Wheat Meal or Bran 20% Corn or Wheat Flour 10% Agricultural Lime or Dolomite 10% Powdered Whole or Skim Milk 10%

Wait a month before feeding with the shortening and cornmeal again, and after that do it every two weeks or so, adding in a cup or so of water each time. In four to six months you should find the soil filled with worms big and small. The shortening and cornmeal may attract pests, so you might find it necessary to cover the tub with screening in order to keep out rats and mice, and raise the tub up on logs dipped in oil to discourage ants.

To harvest the worms, just remove the top layer of soil where the worms are living and put it in a smaller container such as a bucket. After a half hour to an hour, put the soil back in the original container, and you'll find the majority of the worms have stayed in the bottom of the bucket.

You can probably get four thousand worms from a container two feet in diameter. When harvesting, don't remove them all - leave some to regenerate the population. You may want to keep two buckets going in order to get a more regular supply of worms, or, if you have a large population of fishermen nearby, you may decide to get multiple tubs and start a fishing worm business. Start with just one container to get the techniques down first. Who knows, you may become your town's first worm tycoon!

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