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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Worms!

Even though this is gardening-related, it deserves a post of its' own.

While I was on my second trip to Lowe's yesterday, the mail lady delivered The Second Coolest Package Ever.



Red Wigglers!

In researching my interest in starting a compost bin, I came across some information on vermicomposting. I had heard about it before, and even know some homeschoolers that do it, but I always thought it was complicated. On reading more about it, I discovered how simple it can be!

We eat alot of fruits and veggies in my house (hence my desire for a backyard garden), so I have lots of food for worms. Not to mention...hello, I own a coffee shop! Coffee grounds are like ice cream to worms!

Red Wigglers are the most commonly used composting worms, and they can eat half their body weight every day! Worms are vegans, so you can feed them just about anything that came from a plant. No animal products, cheeses, dairy, or oils for the worms, though.

I ordered my worms online ($28 for about a pound), and starting collecting food for them. In the week that it took to get the worms, we collecting a large bowl full of orange and apple peels, potato peels, leftover pizza crust, egg shells (the only animal product that is ok for the worms, as it gives them calcium), leftover pasta (without sauce), banana peels, etc.




So, for the "worm house", I took a Rubbermaind bin that I had (I actually had several, which is how I got the extra lid. This is important, because you will need something underneath the bin to catch the "worm tea") and with my handy drill and a 1/8 inch bit, drilled several holes all over the bin. Under the bottom so the excess moisture can drain, and on the lid and sides for ventilation. It's important that the holes aren't too big so your worms don't escape. Since the holes are so small, I must have drilled at least 100 of them.



Next, Seth and I tore newspaper into strips and added them to the bin. (Worms love newsprint! No glossy paper, please.) We dampened the newspaper, because worms need moisture...not soaking wet though, because worms can't swim!


A couple of handfuls of soil from the garden (the grit helps the worms' digestion), the food we have saved, and then the worms!



I later read that orange peels are too acidic and worms can't take but a little at a time, so I picked out the majority of the orange peels. I got some coffee grounds and filters from the coffee shop and added a few of that too. The food is underneath the bedding, to control fruit flies and any odor. We are keeping them in the family room right next to the back door, because worms are kind of delicate and need temperatures to be between 55 and 85 degrees. It's still getting down to the 30s and 40s at night here in eastern NC.




The worms are quiet, they don't smell, and they don't need to be let out at night...which is more than I can say for my dog and cats! I am looking forward to having some beautiful worm compost for my garden in a few months!

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