What’s Going On?

There are some words or phrases you never expect to come out of your mouth. I was chatting with the MR the other night and said, “The worms are freaking out.”

I had added some food scraps to the worm bin, and worms were everywhere. I was shocked.

I don’t really like worms. They’re squishy and squirmy and give me the creeps when they wiggle around. So why in the world would I start a worm bin?

That’s a good question. Guilt and convictions are huge motivators. After composting for more than 10 years, we moved out to acreage, and we stopped. There are critters out here, and I don’t want to attract them. The neighbors have talked about bears at the mailboxes, we saw a coyote watching the girls sled last winter, and a mouse scared me by running out from under the couch during my morning devotions. I don’t want to give these animals any reason to hang around here.

With a septic system, we try to put as little as possible down the disposal. It’s just wasteful to throw out food scraps. A worm bin seemed to be the answer.

I was quite happy last June when I set it up, dumped in the worms, covered them with shredded paper, and they disappeared. I would see one or two when I added some scraps, but for the most part they’d burrowed down, and I didn’t notice them at all. At one point after a vacation, I was worried that I might have killed them–they were so scarce.

In the fall, I added a hole in the bottom of the bin, so I could drain off the “worm juice.”  I was tipped off that there might be a problem by the large amounts of mold on the top. Apparently worms really like the mold–it makes food easier to digest, but it grossed me out.

Well, things they are a changing. It’s worms gone wild around here. When I drain the bottom, worms try to escape, and when I add scraps a profusion of big worms and little worms are squiggling and wiggling at me.

The MR suggested digging around in the bin to see what’s what, but I decided maybe a layer of shredded paper would do the trick. I added some a few days ago, and went to check it out this morning. While the worms are disguised by the colored paper, I still saw a lot of wiggling and squirming going on. So I set aside my squeamishness and grabbed the garden claw.

I do believe this rather large bin is getting full of worms.

The Bin

Digging around it was interesting to note, the worms appear to share some of my likes and dislikes. They love the pineapple top I threw in there, but the broccoli stalk was barren of any worms. Maybe they’re smarter than I thought. Now if you have a week stomach, turn your head aside and scroll down past the next photo.

Worms and Pineapple

I warned you; they’re gross.

While it would be great to empty the bin, remove some of the castings on the bottom, set a few worms free, and start over, the worms haven’t been following the weather report. We’re experiencing a cold spell around here with a week of record lows predicted. Maybe I should wait until the ground thaws before I throw them out into the great unknown. I don’t hate worms, and I do feel a bit of a proprietary interest in them and their survival. I spent around $30 on Overstock.com for 1,800 worms and another $12 for their bin, so I have a monetary interest here.

I owe them a debt of gratitude for eating my food scraps for the last seven months. And the basil that was looking pretty sad a few weeks ago now has some vibrant green growth after a dose of worm juice. I value them and the work they do, I just don’t want to see them.

Photo1 (79)

How do you feel about worms? Are they a necessary evil? Do you find them fascinating?

(If you’d like to read more about our adventures with worms, you can click here and here.)

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8 thoughts on “What’s Going On?

  1. That is disgusting! Maybe you need to sort them out and re-sell the new growth to recoup your costs. You could become a real worm farmer! I have been thinking about setting a compost area this year. I have to say I am not good for the environment and would like to do better. I can remember taking the scraps out to my grandma’s compost area by the garden. And now that I am trying my hand a gardening it is a win win.

    • I was there on the day the worms arrived, talk about excitement running rampant! I think what you have done (extreme as may seem) to create the perfect system of the universe is wonderful, Refer to you worm manual, it said when you noticed the bin getting over crowded, you were to divide the worms and create another home, thus having 2 bins to eat even more of your garbage………or give it to Lori, so she can have an already established part of the Eco system.

    • Well ladies, maybe I’m missing the boat. It looks like I could be sending worms to Kansas and Texas. This could be the beginnings of a worm empire. For the time being, I asked the MR about a second bin. Maybe it was the wine talking, but he seems to think we could find room in the third bay of the garage for a couple bins. I was a little concerned that I came off too prissy, being grossed out by all those worms, but the MR said my photo was truly disgusting, and he was embarrassed to have it up on the screen at work. I guess I’m not so strange after all. :)

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  4. They are awesome for compost, but yeah, they are gross. I need to do a worm bin, too. I’m also going to try the rotating compost bins (Costco) and see how those work, instead of a big compost pile. Hopefully we don’t attract a lot of critters.

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