General Question

jaytkay's avatar

Will worms survive in a container garden?

Asked by jaytkay (25767points) May 23rd, 2010

As an urban apartment dweller, my “garden” is two 14” diameter clay pots. The cheapest, plainest clay pots you find at the hardware store.

Are they big enough to support a worm or two?

The reason I want to introduce worms is that I pseudo-compost by putting my vegetable scraps & egg shells into the blender with water and pour the slurry in the flower pots. When I was a suburban dweller, my compost heap was a veritable worm ranch. They were HUGE so I assume I was treating them right.

Maybe the worms would enjoy meal, and the plants would benefit, too.

Can a common earthworm live in a 14” pot? Is that enough space?

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4 Answers

laureth's avatar

I’ve dug a worm or two out of my container garden. I think they went in with the compost. However, it’s awfully small – and they have needs, man, ya gotta’ understan’! ;)

Have you considered making a separate small compost bin for them? Even a five gallon pail with holes in it, some dirt, shredded newspapers and then put your scraps in there? I have something like that (a big plastic lidded tub) for my compost (we have a condo and can’t have a real heap) and I find worms in it all the time.

I would also be afraid of temperature and moisture swings in a space that small. However, you could just try it and see what happens. Worst case scenario, you need a couple new worms.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I think they’ll do fine, as long as they have compost to work on. Depending on your location, they may not survive the winter in such a small container (if it freezes hard solid). In a ground-based compost pile, they go deep to avoid the frost.

SmoothEmeraldOasis's avatar

I have not the experience to give any advice on this matter, but my mother has the greenest thumb you can find anywhere. She can grow anything in anything. Most of her plants are in pots of clay and plastic. The more delicate one’s she brings in the house during the colder months. So I think that if you bring in the container that has your worms into the garage or somewhere that is warmer they should do just fine.

wyrenyth's avatar

14” clay pots offer a lot of space as far as the potting world goes. I would think that you’d be fine introducing just a single worm to each one. I start a lot of my seedlings in big pots and get them nice and greenhouse happy before I set them in the ground, and it’s something I’m considering doing – giving them each their own worm.

Of course, I also like the five gallon bucket idea. I keep meaning to build an actual compost heap, but that bucket plan sounds much quicker and easier to take care of.

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