So this year I am trying again with worm composting. After the accidental genocide of thousands of red wigglers last fall when the temperature dropped suddenly, I am attempting a new uh.. colony? of worms. This time I decided to splurge on a commercial worm compost bin; I chose this one from Amazon because it was reasonably priced compared to some other ones. I’m super happy with it so far, and it came with a ton of extra stuff to get you started off right. There was coconut coir, pumice and minerals to create a healthy bedding for the worms, as well as a thermometer, a small rake, a refrigerator magnet with tips on what to and what not to feed the worms, and a little pamphlet with all the information you need to get started.
The dude I bought the worms from provided me with lots of shredded paper and a little bag of sand for grit. (worms need fiber too!) heh. I found the worm provider in the local classifieds, and he was the same guy I purchased from last year but I got my boyfriend to buy them because I was embarrassed at having killed the first batch. To be honest I’m actually wondering if any could have survived, they were in a huge plastic storage bin that I drilled holes in… pretty basic but it worked just fine. Maybe some of the eggs survived? I’ll keep you posted.
I’m going to buy a shredder too, (not the rat) because tearing up paper grocery bags by hand is getting tedious. It also makes my dog go insane. I’m trying to do a better job this time of balancing the brown to green ratio in the bin; worms like lots of bedding (shredded damp paper, coconut coir etc) I’m going to get this one because it is the cheapest and I’m not really doing heavy duty shredding.
So spring is finally here and my frozen massacre of a worm compost from last year is mostly thawed out. Not a live worm to be found, which I feel pretty bad about, but I guess not surprised. Sigh. There were thousands in there in the fall; at one point I tossed in a bunch of grass clippings and a few days later when I checked on them I could actually hear the teeming worms devouring the grass. It was amazing and weird. BUT they are all dead now. I do have some hope for the cocoons though. There are a ton of little round worm cocoons that may have survived the freezing winter temperatures. I read a blog post which I found very helpful and encouraging that suggested that the cocoons are quite resilient. If even a few of these hatch I will have the old dead worm compost up and running in month or so. Woot!
One of the bins – the real bin with drilled holes – was full of lovely partially composted black earth that smelled fresh and healthy. The other bin was just a random one that I threw half of the compost and worms into while I was sorting it last fall. It had had some rainwater leak in and smelled like pungent steaming shit, to be perfectly frank. Rather than dump out the poopy liquid, I added a bunch of torn up cardboard egg containers, dead leaves and shredded paper to soak up the liquid and dry out the compost. So even if after a month I don’t see any new babies hatching, I can still add worms from my new batch to finish off the compost.
I guess the point of all this is, besides reusing kitchen scraps, reducing waste and raising weird pets is that I spent an entire summer a few years ago wasting my time and money trying to grow a huge variety of flowers and vegetables without preparing the soil at all. So I finally figured out the hard way that focussing on your soil is absolutely essential to successful gardening. DIRT! Yes. So I’m growing my own awesome dirt in hopes of eventually having a bumper crop of something someday. Probably tomatoes. My goal last year was to grow enough tomatoes to make sauce that would last all winter. Sadly the deer ate every single plant. Big fail, but you know: there’s still wine.