Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The worms of Monte Cristo

So, things are still a bit unsettled in Wormville.  I was, in fact, rather worried that I had a sort of Worm Rebel Alliance making a bid for freedom, since every time I checked the bin a dozen or two of them were up around the top trying to sneak out.  As usual, the internet came to the rescue, and I found this post, which is reassuring in the "you may have done something stupid or you may have bought stupid worms" way - but apparently it happens to everyone, just about.  (Everyone with a worm bin, I mean.  Though it may bear some thematic resemblance to the embarrassments of adolescence.)

The Rebels Without a Cause are not great in number, so I'm not going to worry much.  From the worm-advice post, I can see several things I may have done wrong.  Potting soil was probably a bad plan, because it can have fertilizer salts in it that can hurt worms.  I didn't add much, but what I did add was Miracle-Gro, I admit (a totally organic potting soil might be okay).  Also, white office paper isn't the best, and that's what I used since we already had some in the shredder.  (My son has since added the remains of a college rejection letter.  I think this is legitimate worm food, and I plan to do the same with all publication rejections I receive.)  And I set the system up right before adding the worms, so the food scraps were fresh and harder for the worms to process.

I poked around down below and most of the worms seem to be settled in and well distributed.  None have actually escaped out the top and none have gone through the holes into the empty lower bin, so they are not entirely stupid.  Per advice, I added some leaves and manure, and filled up the rest of the bin with dry shredded newspaper, which may keep the upper levels drier and discourage questing behavior.  We shall see.

Really one should not equate this management plan with Keeping the Little People Happy so as to suppress revolution.  Worms will not find a better life on the kitchen floor (especially if the cat discovers them).