Thursday, January 17th, 2013

wormsThe worms are here! The worms are here!

Ew. The worms are here.

But the instructions that came with the worms say that these little guys will stay in the composter if I keep a light on, because electricity is magic. Also, warm. The blob of worms I got came rolled up in some peat moss that was tossed in a bag, and the bag was boxed without any insulation. The post office left it on my doorstep on the one day this week that the high temp was in the mid-thirties, so I lucked out there. If they’d come a day later, they would’ve been a solid block of worms by the time I got home; the temp today isn’t expected to get any higher than the teens.

Even though they weren’t frozen solid, I still had the sneaking suspicion they were dead. They sure looked dead, and I have no idea how cold worms can get before they throw in the towel. Colder than thirty-five degrees, it turns out, and it may not even have been the cold that made them look so lifeless. The worm farm I bought them from packs them in peat moss to dehydrate them. They say the worms travel better when they’re dried out. Seems kinds mean, but okay.

After bedding them down in the composter, we sprayed them with water every hour or so. They began to wiggle and show other signs of life after just an hour, and were crawling through the kitchen scraps and leaf litter when I checked on them after dinner, so I guess they’re feeling better. They’d better get to work, because we’ve got a huge backlog of kitchen scraps for them to chew through.

worms | 5:59 am CST
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Thursday, January 10th, 2013

There was a big pile of boxes on the front stoop when we got home yesterday after work. It’s Late Christmas! The postman is Santa Claus!

The biggest box was for both of us. It was, believe it or not, a worm farm. We compost most of our kitchen scraps so that My Darling B can grow yummy veggies in her garden, but the problem with that is that, for six months out of the year very little composting takes place, for two reasons: (1) Frozen kitchen scraps do not compost, and (2) I’m too big a wuss to march across a back yard knee-deep in snow to dump the kitchen scraps in the composter every night after dinner.

We don’t want to throw the scraps out, though, so when cold weather sets in we dump them in a trash can strategically located outside the back door for just that purpose. It seems like an elegant solution until it’s full and someone – that would be me – has to haul it out to the composter and empty it. Then it doesn’t seem so elegant any more.

It doesn’t solve the problem of the scraps not composting because they’re frozen solid, either. In fact, it kind of makes the problem worse, a problem that becomes most apparent when several solidly-frozen trashcan-shaped blocks are sitting on the top of each compost heap, not composting. The problem eventually takes care of itself when warm weather returns in the spring to thaw them out and wake up all the little bugs and worms that do the hard work of turning kitchen scraps into the rich, dark stuff that makes for such tasty garden veggies. You can probably see, though, that there will be a delay of several months before the scraps that were frozen all winter can be turned into usable compost.

As it turns out, someone else not only had the same problem, they were also clever enough to think of a solution for it: Year-round composting. Or, depending on how you look at it, adopting worms as pets. Red Wigglers, to be specific. It’s important that they’re Red Wigglers because, apparently, other worms don’t like to be confined and will leave the worm farm to look for more room. If you can tell the difference between a Red Wiggler and any other worm, go ahead and pick them out of your garden yourself. I can’t, so ordered them from Jim’s Worm Farm. Really.

I was hoping the wigglers would be waiting on the doorstep this evening but, alas, they weren’t. I probably won’t be worm farming until this weekend.

late christmas | 8:53 pm CST
Category: daily drivel | Tags: ,
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