Saturday, January 21, 2012

Got Worms?

I had so much fun coming up with a title for this post that I got lost for a few days in considering all the possibilities. A Thousand Splendid Worms. The Lord of the Worms. Nobody Likes Me, Everybody Hates Me, Guess I Should Buy Some Worms.

You get the point. My new creepy, little friends have been much on my mind. The other benefit of waiting a week to write this post is that I will be explaining about vermicomposting with much less “Ewww... Ewww... Freaking Ewww...” Yes, I am in recovery from my deep sense that owning worms might lead me to starring in one of those awful bug movies where the creatures overtake the house while I am sleeping.

And really, maybe this post isn’t so much about worms as it is about dirt. Good dirt. The best of all possible dirt. Now, we know I am no expert gardener (but just you wait), but everything I read talks about the quality of the soil, the accurate mixes of soil to grow with (according to Mel of Square Foot Gardening fame, that would be blended compost, peat moss, and coarse vermiculite). The first of the triad of great growing amazement is compost, and that is something that each and every one of us can have without spending any additional money.

Compost is [according to fabulous Wikipedia] organic matter that has been decomposed and recycled as a fertilizer or soil amendment.” And organic matter includes things like lettuce that we cut off before using, leaves that are collected in the fall, coffee grounds, and a very long list of other things. Just by placing the above items in a pile in the backyard, we can have compost. However, I elected to buy a composting bin for outside to cut down on the chance of extra critters availing themselves of the compost (and vexing my pups in the process). And inside, I now have my very own Can O’ Worms, as vermicomposting is another great way to get excellent compost.

omposting also benefits the environment in many ways, including decreasing the amount of methane and leachate created by landfills (look at the EPA site for more information on the benefits) and thereby decreasing greenhouse gasses.

So, those are the whys, now for the pics that prove that I am growing as a person.

The picture on the right shows the bag lurking in front of my front door, containing a box filled with red wriggler worms.

My two assistants (left) were called in to provide moral support in my new undertaking. What they are looking at and smelling is the coconut fiber bedding that expanded from a block that I submerged in water. It actually smelled pretty good.

Then, I gained the courage (right) to opened the box and the inner bag that was thankfully not showing much movement. If it had, I was prepared to make a run for it (or call in my dogs, see Aggie over my shoulder waiting to be tagged in).

At the moment of my greatest need (left), it was wonderful that my assistants were there for me, showing courage and dedication like the small warriors they are. Or perhaps they were squealing and availing themselves of the only high ground they could find.

I then poured out the contents of the worm bag (right), which mostly looked like dirt, not 1000 worms waiting to devour me or some lettuce. Because they were away from water for four days during the shipping process, they started out lethargic (which made them much less scary). The first instruction after getting their living space together was to add water and a wet worm blanket.

Water. A wet worm blanket. And a pat. Yup, I welcomed the little critters into my home and they are creeping me out much less as each day passes. I gave them lettuce after a couple days to settle in and I have noticed it getting smaller. The trick is to figure out the right amount to feed them to keep them happy but not to overfeed them as that will cause the unpleasant smell of decomposing food.

I'll be reporting on their progress, as well as the progress of my outside composting bin. It might seem weird to have worms in our houses, but if this adventure gives me a garden full of great food to eat and helps out the planet just a little bit, then it is more than worth it.


  1. Speechless. Really. Don't know what to say. Do your dogs stay out of that? Is there a lid?

  2. I was helping my grandma weed her garden as a little girl and squealing over the worms and she was quick to inform me that worms were a garden's best friend.