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polarsusd81

Leafy compost and nightcrawlers?

6 posts in this topic

I posted the question in the nightcrawler thread in open water but figure this might be a better spot.

My yard is a 75-150 city lot and I have too many mature trees and get between 55-60 bags worth of leaves each fall. I built a compost bin in the back corner of the yard that is 8x20 with a center aisle about 4' wide. It is basically divided so 8x8 is brush and tree limbs that I use for burning through out the year in the fire pit and the other 8x8 section is leaves. At the end of raking season, it is nearly 6 feet deep, and after winter has its way with the pile, it is compacted to about 2 1/2 feet deep.

Here is where the crawlers come in. If I got a flat of say 500 crawlers, would they thrive in the leafy compost, or would they simply die? Would I need to spray a bit of water on them every once in a while, or would the rains be enough to keep the nourished? Assume of course that during long dry spells, I would give the pile just a bit of water to make sure they don't bake. Also, would their composting actions start to stink up my back yard, or would their turds be good enough to use in a garden?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I hope to pick up a flat of crawlers soon if it sounds like it would work out.

Any time the little guy wants to go fishing, we will go pick some crawlers together, have a little bonding moment over the compost pile.

Thanks much.

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Nightcrawlers probably would not stay in your compost. They like to live deeper in the soil. Red worms are typically used in compost bins, since they like living shallow.

Regardless of what type of worm you try, there should be some soil added to the leaves. This would also help turn your leaves into compost faster. The compost is an excellent addition to garden soil.

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I am pretty sure there are quite a few worms in there already. The bottom 6-9" looks like it has been turned to dirt already. I am sure crawlers would seek other environments in the yard as well, but that wouldn't really bother me any. Red worms might be the better option though.

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Doesnt your compost heat up? I have a leafy compost with my leaves from last fall and it gets really hot.

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If you get a bag of urea fertilizer and mix it in as you build the pile it will add a lot of nitrogen and get things cooking fast and breaking down fast. The pile will cool down during the winter. You will be surprised at how much more happens when you add the nitrogen. Mix it up in the spring after it thaws out and I bet it would work great for the worms. Someplace here someone mentioned burying a barrel and putting the worms in it. That may make it a bit easier to find them and you wouldn't have to worry when you start adding grass clippings to the pile and it fires up again.

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If you get a bag of urea fertilizer and mix it in as you build the pile it will add a lot of nitrogen and get things cooking fast and breaking down fast. The pile will cool down during the winter. You will be surprised at how much more happens when you add the nitrogen. Mix it up in the spring after it thaws out and I bet it would work great for the worms. Someplace here someone mentioned burying a barrel and putting the worms in it. That may make it a bit easier to find them and you wouldn't have to worry when you start adding grass clippings to the pile and it fires up again.

That's what my father does as well, adds Nitrogen to his compost pile.

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