Monday, August 3, 2009

wiggly worms

It's worm harvest day - R and Rb are busy separating the worms from the compost they've made for us. The worms will go into a new tray of food in their Can-O-Worms habitat, so they can get directly back to work, and the compost will go to the garden outside. Rb thinks it's a very fun project - as you remove the compost layers and the worms are exposed to the light, they try to flee by burrowing downward, and so he turns it into a contest - can he catch the worms before they bury themselves back in the tray of compost??

To harvest, they take out one handful (or in Rb's case, spoonful) of compost at a time, search for worms (and worm eggs) to put into the new tray of food, and then put the compost in a separate bin so they can bring it outside. There are other means of harvest (sifting, waiting until the majority of worms crawl up to the next layer of the bin themselves, etc.) - but they find this to be the simplest and fastest way they've tried.

This is the food layer that the worms are going into next. Since the Can-O-Worms has three layers, some of the other worms that are not part of today's harvest have already been working here, so there's a mix of compost, damp newspaper, and ready-to-eat veggie scraps in the tray already. Within a month or two, this next layer will be all compost and no food or paper - and then it'll be ready for harvest too. We add a lot of eggshells to the trays - the worms seem to congregate around and inside them, and that's always where we find lots of worm eggs. Lots of eggs means lots of worms, so that's definitely a good thing!


livinginalocalzone said...

I love the phrase "worm harvest day" - but I know I'd be too skittish to do that myself! Did you all have a learning curve? What made you take the plunge?

Life Looms Large said...

I was a little scared to click this "Worm Harvest" post open. Afraid it might be too wiggly for me at this early stage of the day!! But no reason for wormy closeups! Thanks!!

That's good that you can dispose of eggshells that way. I have trouble with them in the compost because they attract so many critters and I've heard that animals can get sick from them. And in the trash, the crows will totally pick through the trash bag to get to them. Good that you've found a solution!


Colleen said...

There's definitely a learning curve with the worms - and they take some getting used to as they sure are squirmy!! But once we saw how happy our plants and garden were with the addition of worm compost, we were absolutely convinced that they're fabulous. Rb even named them (collectively) - Bob (for the adults), and Baby Bob (for the little ones). He tells people "our Bobs help our gardens SO MUCH!!" LOL