How to Acquire Compost Worms

Every now and then, I publish a post on compost worms. If you’re new to Your Gardening Friend, you can catch up on the series with the below links.

14 Reasons to Have Compost Worms
DIY Compost Worm Bin
How to Acquire Compost Worms

The last post in this series was a step-by-step guide on how to make and prepare a compost worm bin for the arrival of your little garden helpers. The next logical step in the vermicomposting sequence is putting worms in the bin.

Red wigglers are not the ONLY compost worms, but they’re probably the most commonly used worm. There are at least two other compost worms: the European nightcrawler and the African nightcrawler. I have red wigglers, but I’ll probably add one of the others to my bins, eventually.

Here are a few ideas on where you can get compost worms. Be creative!



Compost Worms – Purchase Locations

Online. Many blogs discuss nothing but compost worms – I know, a little weird. ;) Many of these same blogs sell compost worms. Some sites are probably better than others.

The few times I’ve clicked over, I’ve REALLY enjoyed what I’ve read at The Worm Dude. He has a wealth of knowledge of, and experience with, compost worms. His posts are thorough, educational, and sometimes humorous.

If you’re interested in purchasing red wigglers from The Worm Dude, you can get 1 pound for $23.99. At least that was the price when I wrote this post in early August. No matter where you purchase red wigglers, expect to pay roughly $20.00 per pound.

If the price seems a bit much, consider sharing the cost with a couple gardeners.

Local Bait and Tackle Shops. I did a search for Indiana bait and tackle shops and found a location, The Bait Barn, that sells red wigglers. (Probably other stores sell them too.) The price is $3.50 for 35 worms, and they’re sold year-round.

Purchasing a pound this way would cost a lot more than ordering a pound online from a worm breeder. At $0.10 per worm, a pound (roughly 600-1,000 worms) would cost $60-$100 at a bait and tackle shop. You could purchase, say, 70 worms (instead of an entire pound) for only $7.00, and start that way. Red wigglers are prolific breeders. In time, you’ll end up with a pound, but with only a $7.00 investment.

Local Farmers Market. To avoid shipping costs, your local farmers market might be a great place to make inquiries. There may be someone just a few miles away with more compost worms than they know what to do with.



Compost Worms – FREE

Local Farmers Market. If one of the farmers market contacts has an over-abundance of compost worms, he or she just might GIVE them away. You never know.

Internet Search. I did an internet search for free red wiggler worms, and found a listing from last year of a woman who was GIVING them away. Finding free compost worms this way may not produce fruitful results, but … it might.

Your Gardening Friend. I’m not making any promises, but I’m considering a compost worm giveaway towards the end of this series (if there’s enough of an interest).

Important Note: When asking around for compost worms, unless you’re talking to someone who specifically sells compost worms, if they quickly reply with, “Oh yeah, I have a ton of compost worms…,” be sure to ask if they’re red wigglers (or one of the other two mentioned). You don’t want to end up with the common earthworm!

So, talk to me. What’s going on in your mind now on the subject of compost worms?

Have you acquired compost worms through some creative means?

This was shared on the following blog hops or link-ups:
Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop
Home and Garden Thursday
Homestead Barn Hop
Simple Lives Thursday
Teach Me Tuesday | Homemaking Link-Up
Tuesday – Thankful Homemaker Weekly Link Up

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

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16 comments to How to Acquire Compost Worms

  • Rebecca Haughn

    I have a definte interest in your possible worm giveaway, I already tried to buy some and get them going, but I think they got too cold by the time I got them and they did not even more when I tried to put them in their new home. I have checked several times and no worms moving. Spent enough money since hubby had to buy a new drill to drill the holes for them too for drainage in their home. Thanks for the article written, it is a good good thing to share information and encrouagement. I am fortunate to subscribe to you.

    • Holly

      I’m so sorry to hear of the disappointing start to your vermicomposting adventure. Don’t let it get you discouraged, though. We learn more from our “failures” than we do from our “successes.” At least that’s true for me. When your next effort is an awesome success :), and someone asks you about getting compost worms, you’ll have some great tips you wouldn’t have had otherwise.

      I appreciate your feedback on the giveaway, too. It’s very helpful to know the interests of YGF readers.

  • Tami S.

    We went for instant gratification and bought our worms at Orchard Supply. We definitely should have bought them online as we would have gotten a lot more worms for our $$. Our bin has been going for a couple months now and while there is activity in the bin, it seems like they eat very slowly. I am hoping that we have a noticeable increase in worms here soon.

    • Holly

      At least the worms will multiply, causing them to be less money per worm over time. ;)

      It’s funny you mention their slow eating. I’ve read about the voracious appetite of red wigglers, yet, I’ve not seen what I picture as “voracious” eating habits. I’ll have to look into this more. Maybe there’s something I need to do different. It’s a fun learning experience though.

  • Tess

    Interested in your Free Compost Worm Giveaway… altho I’m not real good in getting all the “points” of contact met for giveaways… Just keep me in mind, please?

    • Holly

      Glad to hear of your interest in the giveaway, Tess. I usually have pretty simple “rules,” so you should be okay.

      • Tess

        Ok, I’m confessing! I WANT TO COMPOST… and what I read in 14 reasons… food scraps (vegetable) & junk mail? HELP! Please direct me to HOW-EO set up a bin right outside kitchen (like the one you picture)… do you have to drill holes? I have cut-grass & vegie scraps in a pile outside my door, but want to contain & get the worms!! HELP, please? Thanks, in advance… I will teach my grown daughters!

        • Tess

          ugh… that’s HOW-TO!!!

        • Holly

          Some people drill holes in the bottom of the bin, some don’t. I chose not to drill holes in the bottom, and have not had any problems. The worms do need ventilation though. Here’s a post that can help you get started. Let me know if you have any questions.

          http://yourgardeningfriend.com/2012/06/04/diy-compost-worm-bin/

          Also, here are a couple things to keep in mind:

          1) You mentioned wanting a worm bin right outside your kitchen. If right outside your kitchen is still indoors, that’s good. Ideally, you’ll want to keep the compost worms indoors.
          2) If the veggie scrap pile you referred to is currently outdoors, there’s a good chance, depending on how it’s being stored, bugs are in it. (Maybe it’s in a closed container though. ??) If there’s a chance the veggie scraps have bugs, you won’t want to use them.

  • freda tucker

    would most likely be interested in worm give away. I fixed up a beautiful bed in an old frig. this summer, then it rained. The bed filled and worms drowned. Have yet to figuier out how so much water got in the bed.

  • Lasair

    I live in a 3rd floor apartment and the balcony is the walkway from the stairs to our door lol. This should make gardening hard and for me (raised by a farming grandpa and taught by my mom how to garden and grow food) it has been. I have learned a lot during this container gardening experiment (cough, cough) and one of those things was my composting abilities. I even got my boyfriend to compost lol. I have a bonsai (requires special care weekly or thereabouts) in a clay pot, it acts as my “lid”. Underneath that so the lid sits a few inches into the second pot is my compost pot. Then I have that pot half buried into a much larger pot, kind of set back a bit to provide good looks, which is my “habitat”. I empty and refresh the dirt in the habitat and compost pot about once a month or so and keep the scraps coming. I actually lost my first batch of worms to starvation. I haven’t made that mistake again. The clay keeps the soil moist and insulated so the temperature stays the same. Clay sweats when hot and freezes when wet so it has kept my wormy dudes going really well. Also the clay absorbs the smell, this pot system sits next to my front door and you would never know until I opened the lid it was a worm farm. I went the $3 a box for worms since I don’t have much room but those little buggers breed really well. I sift them out of the dirt when I change it up and un-compact it, got a whole handful of tiny guys this time around, pinkie nail sized. I take the dirt and refresh the other plants with it instead of buying it and I give the worm dirt as gifts to friends. It is not only compost and worm castings, I also use ashes from the fire and small charcoal bits and rocks to purify and provide drainage. I started using a higher mix of ashes with the dirt for my peppers and they took off like rockets! :) Love your page!

  • Sheryl

    I have been composting for years but never (successfully)with worms. I’ve been wanting to try again and would love a free head start with the worms!

    • Holly

      Did you stop by from The Prairie Homestead? If not, Jill at The Prairie Homestead is graciously hosting my compost worm giveaway!! :) Be sure to enter.

      I enjoy these little squirmy critters. :D

  • Hello Holly,

    I lead a group that works in all sorts of ways to help folks get useful things that would otherwise be thrown away and to eliminate waste. Giving away red wigglers is something that I would very much like to offer to folks on top of the goods and services that I already offer for free. I have a bin and experience raising worms, but no worms of my own. I operate on a pay-it-forward economy and am eager to find free worms so that I may pass the joy of worm composting on to those who do not have money for such a practical pursuit. Can you help me find some worms?

    -Ried from Gift Cycle.

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