By this time next week I will have my very first under-the-sink worm bin teeming with squirming, munching, pooping, composting machines. Yes, worms. I can't wait!
In preparation I find myself puttering about the apartment moving this and that, measuring and remeasuring, even doing a little decorating. I spent yesterday evening clearing out space for the future worm buffet and making a welcome sign. I can't help wondering if this is what "nesting" feels like. (Should my mother be concerned that my maternal impulses are being directed toward what many would consider fish bait? Perhaps.) But seriously, if you were a hungry worm, doesn't this look like somewhere you'd like to live, maybe start an asexually reproducing family? Prime Columbia Heights under-sink real estate (and you *know* the food scraps will be consistently above average).
I also made a list of questions to ask Susie, of the friendly Worm Ladies -- the Rhode Island-based small business who will graciously be sending me my first batch of worms -- so that I know what to expect when I'm expecting. You see, as excited as I am, and as much as I've read and spoken with other people who have tried their hand at vermiculture (the fancy word for "worm composting") -- heck, I even volunteered at Growing Power, Milwaukee's own urban composting mecca -- I find that I still have a lot of questions. How will I know if I'm doing things right? How often do I need to add cardboard? Is the bin big enough? What if it's too small? How many air holes will my wormies need? How can I tell when it gets too crowded in there? How will I know if they have enough food? How much is too much food? Are there foods I should avoid? (I compost a fair bit of coffee grounds, but what if they have too much caffeine: will the worm bin start rattling? If so, should I tipple a little cooking wine in there to calm them down? Kidding...mostly.) What if they get too cold? Or too hot? What if they drown? Or dehydrate? How do I get the finished worm castings -- the fancy term for worm poop -- out? Will they smell funny? Will they like me?
My first batch of red wigglers -- the preferred vermiculture candidates, due to their chill disposition and ability to eat their own weight in food scraps each day -- will be mailed out on Monday. I'm actually having trouble falling asleep I'm that excited. If you've ever daydreamed about building your own indoor worm composter, stay tuned for the next installment of The Diary of an Amateur Vermiculturist....
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