by Peter Brown
Grindal Worms (Enchytraeus buchholzi)
These worms grow to about 10mm. They were first isolated by a Mrs Morten Grindal in Sweden. Worms mature in about 16 days at 20°C. The generation period from cocoon to cocoon is about 28 days at this temperature.
To culture Grindal Worms use a sealable plastic box (2 litre ice cream containers are ideal). Make a couple of 2cm holes in the lid and plug with fine sponge or cut a rectangle out and cover with fine mesh (see photo). Use a depth of 2-3cm of Coir compost (peat can also be used) and add water so that if the medium is squeezed water will drip out easily (20-40% moisture content). If the medium becomes too acid or moist, the worms will climb up the sides of the container. The addition of potting compost, shell sand or charcoal is sometimes recommended to keep it sweet. The culture should be kept in a dark place and maintained at a temperature of approximately 15°- 20°C. I cover the feeding area with the lid from a margarine tub to make a really dark moist area and feed daily with a small amount of Ready Brek (instant oat cereal) spread dry, in a very thin layer. I place a sticky fly paper on the top of the lid to trap fungus gnats and prevent them from breeding. The Grindal Worms tend to mass on the surface and can be easily collected with a small brush or scraped off with a fork. The culture will benefit from the feeding area being stirred up occasionally and additional cultures should be set up regularly by halving the culture and replacing adding fresh coir to the two halves.
Grindal Worm Setup