Sometimes, it just takes a New York Times article (or two, or three…).
This time, it’s urban worm-binning. I’ve had one for just about two
years. It produces lovely potting soil and reduces my trips to the
compost bin. I sort of have pets that I can vaguely be fond of but
leave alone when I go off on three-week jaunts across an ocean.
Generally, it’s been a good experience. But nobody took me up on
offers of worms for their own bin until the New York Times wrote about
them. The irony: I seem to have had a mysterious die-off of worms and
can’t share at the moment. In fact, I may need to acquire some
breeding stock myself.
My worms have survived a lot. Every spring, they go hang out with
third graders for a week and get mauled. Last summer, I had a serious
mite infestation and they got bathed. I don’t recommend it. Your
worms will not enjoy the experience, and you will feel very sorry when
you accidentally wash a few down the drain. They lived through a
summer of constant 90 degree temperatures (oh, living in an attic).
Once, they freaked out during a thunderstorm and I found myself
desperately searching for escaped worms in the kitchen. And let me
say, finding pink worms on pink tile is hard. This was during the two
months before my roommates exactly knew that blue bin in the
kitchen with the holes contained worms, so leaving a few out was not
I figured that if the roommates did not know, and did not notice for
an extended period of time, they couldn’t really complain. Well, I
was sort of right. The complaints were muted, and a blank stare
followed by “they’ve been here longer than you have” mostly quelled
squeamishness. And, may I say, unwarranted squeamishness. The mites
(and they posed no human health or aesthetic risk) were my only bin
issue in two years. Odor has not been an issue, and nor have any
pests. They are low effort, environmentally friendly, closer than the
compost bin, and guaranteed to amuse most nine-year-olds. And if you
ever have a nearly naked ficus or an anemic spider plant, a good
infusion of worm dirt will likely solve your problem.
Unfortunately, I suspect the last few weeks of low cooking/low feeding
did in my population. I could only find one worm on Thursday night.
So, anyone got any worms to share?