With the arrival of spring, it seems, our little wriggly friends are getting a bit of extra attention. As the days warm up the worms become much more active, and seem to be devouring our kitchen scraps, in a really honest effort to keep up with our garden projects! We have had the same worms for several years now, in fact, they have moved to three different homes with us. For some time they were the only “pets” we had, so needless to say we are fond of these guys, and feel quite compelled to take good care of them.
The boys recently were given these books about Pee Wee the worm and his adventures in the compost pile and worm bin. Reading about Pee Wee has given rise to a small dose of worm naming but, even better, we have all learned quite a bit from these books while enjoying the worm adventures.
After some afternoon reading the boys were really excited to try out a new method of harvesting the castings. In the beginning of 'Pee Wee's Great Adventure' a class of school children scooped worms and castings (the stuff left after the worms eat all the kitchen scraps - a.k.a. poop) from the bin into small piles on newspaper. The worms, trying to stay in the dark, move to the bottom-center of the pile, leaving the remaining castings free of worms and ready to remove. With new worm enthusiasm we headed out to give it a try.
Once we played with piles of castings and wriggling worms for long enough we decided to put the whole system back together and take care of the regular maintenance at the same time.
Every other week or so we add well crushed egg shells to the bins. The shells crumble much better if they are dried a bit first and I always give them a quick rinse to avoid feeding the worms any leftover egg with the shell.
Our worms are fed quite regularly, as this is still the only composting system in place around here; although, that will be changing in the next few days. We have two worm bin systems currently in operation with a total of eight stacking trays.
Worm bins and the worms themselves can be purchased many places on-line. Better yet make your own bin system, again, tutorials found on-line. Our bins were given to us but the redworms were ordered here and have done very well despite my attempts at cooking and drowning them! In fact, I am sure our worm population is at maximum capacity and thriving.
We feed our worms almost all of our organic matter kitchen scraps with the exception of, corn cobs, avocado skins, anything that has oils or other fats on it, citrus peels for the most part, corn cobs, basically anything that seems too hard for a little redworm to digest is omitted.
Since I have yet to convince Travis that chickens in town are truly the way to go, we still buy eggs. The leftover egg cartons are shredded to make a wonderful blanket to cover the top of the worm bin contents. Covering the layers of scraps helps maintain a dark environment and keeps unwanted insects (flies) from setting up shop, not to mention this is a great way to compost the egg cartons.
My favorite element of vermicomposting is that it can be done in any home, anywhere, I know of people who even have a set up that lives in their kitchen. Yes, kitchen worms, my boys would be thrilled! Every bit that our happy worms are fed is that much less going to the landfill, to say nothing at all of the fantastic end product! Oh, did I mention redworms make great pets? That is if you are in need of pets or science projects or a live demonstration of the mineral cycle at work, alright, alright, enough of the worm talk.
Do you have a favorite composting method?