Today I am going to discuss some things concerning Alabama Jumpers that probably go against much of what you have heard or read about. However, I have been running some experiments with Alabama Jumpers and have some updated information, based upon facts! Many websites simply duplicate what others state, where as on our worm farm we constantly run experiments on the worms, plants with vermicast… to see what will actually happen
Over the past few weeks I have been keeping you updated on my results with Alabama Jumpers with an interior worm bin. At the moment they have not been prolific, even though I have had them for over two months. They have remained extremely healthy, eating on Purina Worm Chow, something I highly recommend when starting Alabama Jumpers in a compost pile outside or keeping them inside to store for fishing.
Going back to the beginning the bedding was something I was trying to get down for holding Alabama Jumpers in captivity. When using clay and or a clay mix, the clay would become compacted and was difficult to maintain steady moisture throughout without over soaking the bedding since most bins taper towards the bottom, hence assisting the packing of the clay. I tried a peat moss base however this ended up killing a good number of the mature worms off. It appeared to hold to much dampness and something the Alabama Jumpers simply did not enjoy to live in.
Then I tried something totally off the wall. See after an investment, I was able to not only lower the price on Alabama Jumpers compared to the other websites offering them; I also got to take advantage of trade secrets of the worm farms raising Alabama Jumpers in the open acreage. One item that caught my attention was the amount of peanut husks the worm farms purchased and spread over the grounds. Now I had tried this in my worm bin, however since peanut husks take a very long time to decompose, it appeared it would take a year or so for the peanut shells to break down where I needed them. Now for anyone trying to raise Alabama Jumpers in captivity, waiting a year for them to hopefully become prolific was a lot to ask. So I went to plan “B”.
I went out on a mission to locate the perfect bedding material for Alabama Jumpers in a worm bin. I found some from a local cabinet maker and friend of mine. He has been making hardwood cabinets for over 20 years now. Over time he has accumulated a pile of shavings and sawdust which encompasses close to 1,000 square feet of surface area and is approximately 15 feet high.
Now the wood shavings and sawdust on the top of the pile were not what I was after, but rather the decomposing material underneath. The product I found was dark and earthlike however still felt gritty and contained some shavings as well. When smelled, some sections smelled like wood while others like fresh virgin soil.
The Alabama Jumpers took quite fast to the new bedding and by adding Purina Worm Chow on the surface; they began to produce worm castings almost immediately. After a couple weeks the bedding was full of worm castings mixed throughout and suitable to maintain the Alabama Jumpers. They no longer were trying to escape… not a single worm!
After over two months there was still an issue at hand. The Alabama Jumpers were not reproducing. I could not find a single cocoon even though the worms were healthy and appeared happy.
I have approximately 800 Alabama Jumpers in a wood worm bin which consists of 4.5 square feet of surface area. The bin is 18” deep however the composted material is shrinking due to the replacement by worm castings. The Alabama Jumper worm castings, or vermicast, are a bit different looking than other worms, more of a minuscule pellet form hence not as fluffy and taking up less room than other worm castings. As the bedding material decomposes and the Alabama Jumpers eat, the level in the worm bin is lowering.
As I mentioned in my two previous posts, I have tried to introduce vegetable scraps which I actually ground up and mixed with other materials to thicken, such as peat moss.
When I originally introduced the food scraps, they began to heat up and the worms stayed clear of it. As it cooled down, something which happens rather quickly when the food is frozen, thawed then placed in a blender to make into a liquid form, hence the peat moss to thicken.
Now that the material has cooled, the Alabama Jumpers have been migrating in great numbers to the food and eating it as I placed a thicker layer underneath while a thin layer on top of it on some damp cardboard. I have noticed about half of the material on top of the cardboard is now gone within a matter of the past week.
I have a picture below, which only displays a few of the worms on top for as soon as the cover is removed, most burrow back down rather quickly.
Being the worms are now congregating in numbers means they now have the ability to begin mating with each other. Studying other worms such as African nightcrawlers, red wigglers and European nightcrawlers, I have noticed a common denominator. Once the worms become comfortable in their new surroundings, they clump together, some varieties more than others, and the cocoons begin to appear shortly thereafter.
I am hoping with the migration of the Alabama Jumpers to the food scraps that they will now behave as the other worms have and begin to finally become prolific in captivity.
Something I was able to determine from this thus far is that you can place Alabama Jumpers in a compost pile outdoors which contains vegetable scraps such as Bell Peppers, potato peelings, carrots, lettuce, apples… and they will consume it. I would recommend keeping away from the same products you do with red wigglers, citrus, onions… The heating seems to push the Alabama Jumpers away, so try to keep your food scraps to one corner. Once full, try the next corner of your compost pile and so on working either clockwise or counter clockwise. Over enough time, this would generate four zones from hot to just about consumed. This would leave the center of the compost pile available to the Alabama Jumpers in the event none of your four food corner piles are pleasing to their pallet at the moment!
I will update the blog in a few more days as I am trying not to disturb the Alabama jumpers too much in hopes of obtaining the results that theoretically should happen now, reproduction.
Click here to order Alabama Jumpers and be sure to bookmark this website as we will be updating shortly. If you are looking for information on red wigglers, African or European nightcrawlers, check out the Worm Composting Blog. Also check out The Worm Expert discussion forum where you can view the ongoing threads and join the community to ask your questions.