Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I've got worms!

The care package labeled "LIVE WORMS" arrived via postal service around lunchtime today. Woo hoo!

Thanks to Susie and Nancy for entrusting me with about a pound of their darling red wigglers. I do solemnly swear to do my best to provide them with adequate food, shelter, and love during their time with me. And I'll try to tone down the off-key singing that the houseplants have been complaining about lately.

Even after making the worm welcome sign last week, some additional preparations were in order. A lot of it comes down to common sense, but since I hope to provide my worms with the best possible scenario to flourish -- I want my worms to go to college, become artists and doctors and farmers, lead fulfilling lives as upstanding citizens in the worm community -- I had a whole litany of questions. During an extended counseling session on Sunday, Susie talked me through some dos and don'ts of worm composting. (Easy on the coffee grounds and peach pits, don't open the bin and peer in every five minutes, etc.) I took some measurements and cleared a space below the sink where it's nice and dark, not too hot or cold or moist.

That evening I brought home remnants of the mint and melon salad from a lovely dinner party I attended in Crystal City. I wanted my worms to feel welcome: I'd heard that melons are their favorite. (I'd previously established myself as "the wacky dinner guest who packs out her food scraps" so Kelly wasn't too perturbed when I headed to the metro with a slight wine buzz and a ziploc bag of honeydew rinds.) On Monday morning I shredded some cardboard and drilled holes in a perfectly good plastic bin with my handy cordless drill. (Yes, every self-sufficient modern woman needs her own drill, and I have my former partner, Adam, to thank for this one.) The worm buffet was at last ready for business.

Oh, but when they arrived today I suddenly panicked. Do I have the right balance of cardboard and food? Are there enough air holes? Wait, can I include a few egg shells in the mix? Is it moist enough? I mean, the pamphlet included with my bag-o-worms said to wet until the cardboard and coir (shredded coconut shells) feel sponge-like in consistency. "Sponge-like?" What the...? Is everyone okay in there??

It's taking all of my self-control not to peek into the worm bin every five minutes. While worms are blind, they don't like bright light, and someone poking around in there can't be helpful to the adjustment process. They shouldn't be jetlagged coming from Rhode Island, as it's in the same time zone -- do worms even have circadian rhythms? is there such a thing as NST (No-Daylight Standard Time)? -- but they also just went through two days of USPS transit trauma. If it's anything like flying on American Airlines these days, they're probably worn out and grumpy. At least they didn't have to keep taking off their shoes and coats to go through security lines.

Okay, fine, I should let them be. I'm meeting my friend Ben (famous lender of Sheldon!) and his wife tonight for dinner so at least the worms'll have some peace and quiet for a few hours. Maybe I'll just check on my little wigglers before bedtime....

1 comment:

  1. Welcome, worms! Just a quick observation: You may need more ventilation. My first (and only -- I compost all year now) worm bin lasted almost 6 months, till it got too wet and filled up with mites. (Yuck!) And I had more ventilation (small holes drilled all over, a screened drain in the bottom over an empty dish pan, and 2 or 3 ventilated tubes running the length) in my bin than you appear to have in yours!
    Don't be shy with the dry material when you start adding lots of food waste; like compost, the worm bin needs wet & dry.
    Good luck!


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