Worm News

I have worms. Lots of worms.

So many worms that when I lift the lid to the bin I can hear them, which seems impossible. They sound like ginger ale, but slower. What am I hearing? Their eating? Their slithering between decomposing carrot greens and strawberry tops?

I was told the worms would multiply, have rice kernel babies that would turn to remnant looking strands of dental floss. And that in the darkness and depths of mango mulch and kitchen scraps they would transform to red wiggler worm adults. But I was skeptical.

Not without good reason though as the worms I was given were anemic, pathetic things. For six weeks I was hard pressed to find one in the bin. The day I found two I jumped. But the woman at the nursery was right, the worms multiplied and now there is a city.

There are still tiny black bugs with wings to be swatted away but their numbers have decreased. Part of which I attribute to the spiders that have also taken up residency. And partly that I cut back the amount of food after diagnosing my enthusiastic deposits to the bin were rotting more quickly than the worms could consume it. It was a most excellent bug habitat.

I've collected worm tea several times the last couple of months by pouring water over all the contents of the bin, waiting a few minutes for it to leech through the layers of compost, mulch and worms and then reclaiming the nitrogen rich brown water from the spigot at the bottom of the bin. It feels like pure treasure.

The roses are drunk on the tea, the camellia has grown fat from it and the mint in it's too small terracotta pot is completely out of control such that I've stopped giving it tea all together. The gnarly old rosemary that refused water for years is a sponge for the tea. It's almost young again, which is as impossible as the sound of the worms.

Impossible as the fact that I used to waste my good kitchen trimmings in the trash instead of feeding them to the busy worms in the garage.


Lucy said...

You've convinced me.

'They sound like ginger ale, but slower.'

Can't wait for a farm of my own.

Anonymous said...

I loved this post. I'd never really thought about worms making sounds, but I can almost hear it when I read your description.

We've been pondering a worm bin ourselves, but have heard that the temperature extremes (0 to 100 degrees) here in the St. Louis area would be a huge problem for the worms. We can't quite bring ourselves to accept a worm bin indoors due to the possibility of the 6- and 8-legged visitors you mentioned, so we're holding off for now.

At any rate, this post made me (and my garden) quite jealous of your worm tea!

Chile said...

I'm worried about you, Katrina. They say you should be worried when you start talking to yourself. I think it's far worse when you start listening to the worms.

Kale for Sale said...

lucy - I couldn't wait for mine either.

lori in webster groves - We are fortunate to have a garage that is partially underground so the temperature is fairly consistent. There's a company however called Worm Poop, or something close to that which sells worm tea in reused soda bottles. Not quite as fun as making your own but a darn good second. (I wouldn't want the worms indoors either.)

chile - I haven't had coffee for a week and a half - I have to do something. The worm channel has the best music.

Green Bean said...

How totally awesome! I'm so glad that your worms are multiplying and turning into a little city before your ears.

Melissa said...

Yeah it took me a while too to figure out that they don't eat quite as much as I expected them too sometimes. I let my husband think that the fruit fly infestation in the garage was because he forgot to take the trash out rather than my worms. he he.

Kale for Sale said...

green bean - Worm city and I'm the mayor. Lettuce leaves and radish tops in every bin. I'm considering starting another bin so I could stop my contraband drops at the community garden compost stall. Even with the increased population they don't keep up with all the trimmings from our kitchen. I'm going to wait a bit longer though and they may surprise me. Again.

melissa - That's funny. My guy is fine with the fruit flys but not at all excited about the spiders. And they are the cutest little spiders.

Anonymous said...

Good to hear your worms are thriving! We get all sorts of bugs in our pile as well. I think they're all part of the compost ecology so I leave them alone. It seems to work.

Kale for Sale said...

Audrey - Thanks for the bug information. It's funny but they don't bother me like they first did. I used to swat at them and now I kind of fan them and they leave me alone. There are a few less though.