Friday, February 29, 2008

There Are Worms in my Kitchen!

But in a good way. This past summer we went to a family farm day at the Queens County Farm Museum, and there was a Con Edison booth there with a demonstration on vermicomposting. We'd been looking for ways to reduce our garbage output, but as we don't have a yard, we weren't able to take advantage of standard composting. They had the worms and compost in a container, and explained everything very well. On the ride home we talked about the possibility of doing it ourselves, but I finally decided that it was an insane idea wouldn't be very practical for us.

But, obsessive person that I am, I couldn't get the idea out of my head, so after scouring the stores for the right size container, and reading umpteen piles of information on the internet, I took the plunge and ordered a pound of worms. You need red wiggler worms for indoor composting, and for a standard size Rubbermaid container (I got the size you would store clothes in) a pound is perfect. I ordered them from Topline, and they sent them out. I guess the postman never knows what he's carrying around! They were shipped during a major heat wave, and I warned the kids that they may not have survived the trip. We followed the directions, and lo and behold they were healthy and wiggling around!

You have to make bedding for them in the container - we used torn up newspaper soaked in water. I drilled air holes in the sides and top of the container, but was worried that they would escape out the holes, so I reused some plastic embroidery canvas to cover them up . (Reduce, reuse, recycle!) We poured the worms in, popped on the cover, and hoped for the best. After a day, I checked on them, and though we had a few climbing up the sides, they didn't seem to be trying to escape - just didn't know which end was up.

The worms can eat half their body weight a day; I keep a container in the fridge with coffee grounds, vegetable scraps, etc. , and drop it in the container when it's full. People always ask if it smells, and it really doesn't - we do avoid putting stinky scraps in (like onions, garlic, broccoli, etc.).

I can't believe how well it's worked - we've harvested the compost twice; the picture above shows Miss Serious and me preparing to harvest. It has reduced our garbage output quite a bit, especially in the summer when we have tons of scraps, and they are the most low-maintenance pets I've ever had.

Now if I could only claim them all as deductions...

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