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Large swim my worms in compostedvrange ofb manureaR most of the #817060

Asked November 30, 2022, 9:44 AM EST

I get about 40 gallons from my neighbor's aged horse manure pile to winter over in with layers of chopped leaves, pine needles, ashes grass clippings. Also good soil from about 12 outdoor pots. It usually ends up being about a waist high pile in center and out about six or eight ft til it’s even with (flat) at the ground. A definite simple mound. And during winter, egg shells and coffee grounds also go into it, about a quart per week which I throw on the top. Also a few quarts of ashes per week. I began this compost late afternoon yesterday, BEFORE I spotted these worms, so happy wriggly in the damp manure. Of one species I believe, but definitely different sizes. Seemed like quite a thriving little community of critters. Should I stop in my tracks with this? Can spreading beer on them kill them? Would wood ashes smother them? I’m leaving the rest of the manure which I didn’t spread on the front end loader til I hear from someone at master gardeners. By far most of the manure is already in the pile. It was getting dark when I began this year’s project. Drat! Please do give me ideas of what’s been discovered to do, with a range of costs, please. Thankyou so much. PS : I had these same worms in late summer of 2021: a shady spot under a couple of maples where grass grows. The worms seem to be gone from there, grass is still luscious looking. Phew

Windham County Vermont

Expert Response

Good Morning Marjorie,

Worms are shockingly bright and adaptable creatures, and will happily migrate away from anything they find unpleasant.

If this pile were in the middle of a parking lot or in a bin, there could be a slight risk to them, but even then, they would probably avoid anything that they found harmful or indigestible

Although the following resource focuses on creating worm bins for specific vermicomposting, there's plenty of information about worms in general showing how they could benefit your outdoor compost pile: https://www.uvm.edu/sites/default/files/Extension-Master-Gardener/compostingwithworms.pdf

Hope this helps and you can get the rest of your pile done today!

Ricky Klein Replied December 01, 2022, 5:56 AM EST

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