Wednesday, August 26, 2009

DIY Dirt

Oh, pardon me…. soil. Carter has an affinity for that word over dirt. I suppose it sounds more grownup? Anyway, yesterday we embarked on our latest project: vermiculture.

On and off for years I have pondered worm composting. My first thought was along the lines of, “Oh, hell no.” But slowly it changed from revulsion to interest, but with a bit of apprehension over how complicated all the directions I ever found seemed. I may be handy with tools, but I am no carpenter. Then, last summer I found and scanned directions that made a home worm farm seem downright foolproof. However, I knew I just was not quite there, and wanted to not have a small baby around while starting a new project like that.

With the bulk of summer behind us, and Carter’s growing interest in worms, buoyed by the worm bin at the Discovery Museum, I decided it was time to go ahead and make it so. Bunny also was excited about the idea, as she likes creepy things, too.

Yesterday one pound of red wigglers, the so-called “Cadillac of Worms” arrived on my doorstep. I spent a little quality time with my drill, riddling a 8 gallon rubbermaid bin with drainage and ventilation holes, then I enlisted help from the boys in shredding newspaper into strips, which we wet and wrung out until they were only damp.

I took the impending arrival of our worms as a super excuse to further put off sweeping out back, so the boys had a lot of dry leaves to add to the mix, plus while they were occupied, I dug up a bit of garden soil, which has grit to aid digestion.

Finally it was time to have a looksee at the wiggly buggers.

The worm wranglers packed their small livestock in a bag that allowed airflow (seems obvious, but I was worried how they’d be shipped in a way that made them comfortable!). After hauling my not so tiny toddler around all day, one pound of worms felt weightless.

At first glimpse, it looked like I had a bag of sawdust or peat, and not much more… except when prodded a bit, it writhed. Pretty ghoulish! The worms, being subterranean beings, did their best to squirm into what was a big ball of 1000 or so tangled all together so that I worried I would have to be too rough to break up their little worm party. The first time pulling them apart was the hardest—on me, at least. Then as I further coaxed them away from each other and scattered them, it was much easier.

They were fed a small meal yesterday, and today we fed them another small meal (mmm, coffee grounds and banana peel! Bon apetit!). I’ve read so many different things about how often and how much to feed, so I suppose that will be on the job training. I do know one peed on Bun today, so they’re eating something at least.

1 comment:

Heidi-Marie said...

Lil was standing over my shoulder as I read your blog entry and wanted to know what you were doing. After I explained it to her, she said, "Ooooh! Gross!" Then immediately thereafter, added "Can we do it?!" Ha ha!

No, we can't do it. I tried composting once and it was a disaster. I'm just not cut out for it... But good for you guys! Keep us posted...


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