Monday, March 26, 2012

The worms have landed!

You will actually get to see a flower if you make it to the end of this post. :)

My worms are here!  The package from Uncle Jim's Worm Farm arrived very quickly; good thing I got organized yesterday and put my homemade stacking worm bin together.  I bought three plastic storage tubs from Lowe's; they cost $4.98 each.  Aside from that, all I needed for this experiment were four yogurt cups (anything of similar size will do, but I ate the yogurt), some shredded paper, a bit of potting soil (ETA: probably not such a good idea; see next post), and a mess of kitchen scraps.  And the worms.

The bottom bin remains imperforate and intact.  In it go the yogurt cups as spacing devices.

This bin will catch any liquid that drips down from the higher bins.  Worms need a moist environment, but not an aquatic one.  The liquid will be good fertilizer.

 The other two bins got drilled.  The one at bottom is upside-down so you can see the holes better.  Exciting, right?  Those holes have to be big enough for a worm to crawl through.  I used a 5/16" bit (I am totally guessing worm size here).  The holes around the top edge are just for air circulation and are a bit smaller.

One of the holey bins goes inside the unholey bin.  The other one gets put aside for now; it'll come into use when the worms get really active.  Lowe's had better not discontinue this size of bin, because I suspect I'll need more later.

Inside the bin goes:  a layer of shredded paper a couple of inches thick, sprayed with water; some food scraps (they should probably be cut up more, but we'll get in the habit of doing that); a cup or so of potting soil (garden compost or soil would do, but I didn't want to introduce any foreign worms or other critters).

Worms inna bag!  They came with a warning that they might look a bit dried out and shrunken, but really they weren't so bad (wriggling away in their peat moss!) and they will rehydrate fine.

A view into the dark and mysterious interior. -->

I dumped the worms onto the food scraps, and covered them with some more damp shredded paper, and then put the lid on the bin and set it in the kitchen where it will live.  I am trying not to check on them too often.  They should start eating soon and making what are delicately called castings.  When the first bin has lots of castings in it, I'll put the second bin on top, with paper and food scraps in it, and let the worms migrate up.  Then I can collect the mostly worm-free castings from below, and the bins keep switching places.

I'll let you know if that works out as planned.  So very glad I did this - admittedly, it was an easier step to take than getting bees or chickens, neither of which I've plunged into yet, and much cheaper.  A thousand worms cost under $20 plus shipping; $15 for the bins... not much of an investment for something that should yield enough compost to feed all my potted plants.  I'm excited!

I'm less excited about the freeze warning for tonight, considering everything out there that's in flower - my blueberries at the link, magnolias not quite done yet, cherries making pink snow everywhere.

Viburnum 'Mohawk' now out in full bloom - wish I could share the scent with you, but we don't quite have the technology for that yet.  A sweet clove scent that perfumes the air twenty feet away.  (Just imagine it.  It'll get the worms out of your nose.)  It's a short bloom even in years when it goes off properly a month later; I'm afraid the freeze may make it even shorter, but we can hope.

No comments:

Post a Comment