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March 30, 2009

The Slimy Way My Garden Grows

Hoards of readers have written to ask about the finer points of vermicomposting, whether I was joking when I said I was keeping the worm bin inside, and how the red wigglers are faring.

Those of you who didn’t know we have a full-blown worm farm in the house can click here for the story of the genesis of this operation.

It’s no joke– Squirmy and his friends reside in the area once known as “the living room” but now known as “the ping-pong/laundry-folding/worm room.” The space we used the least has now become a hub of activity, now that we stored the fancy rug and candlesticks and have games to play, work to do, and worms to care for.

The weather has been a bit nicer lately, so I’ve taken the bin outside so the worms can get some fresh air, and that’s where I took these photos to demonstrate the latest in composting with worms. Squirmy and his friends eat, poop and reproduce at an astounding rate.

As you’ll recall, they live in a set of stacked bins, and when they’ve munched everything in the bottom bin, you add one to the top and start adding food scraps to it and the worms climb up to the food and work on that tray.

Looking at a working tray is not going to take your breath away.  Once you lift the lid and pull aside the newspaper, what you see is a conglomeration of food, shredded paper, dryer lint, coffee grounds, dry leaves, and anything else you’ve stuffed in the bin.

working tray And if you dig into the mass a bit, you’ll find worms.  Thousands of worms.  You have to take their picture quickly or they’ll burrow back down to finish their eating or pooping or lovemaking.  Single-minded, these worms. workingworms

The tray below is much more satisfying to look at.  The worms are about finished with it, so it’s mainly full of compost.  Actually, it was totally compost, but I had so many worms crowding the upper tray that I stuck a little food from the top tray that was almost completely digested, and added several hundred worms to see of they’d get fatter when they have more room.  No one has suggested this is a good or bad idea; it’s just a wormy experiment I’m conducting.  It’s better than trying to magnetize them with batteries, for God’s sake. IMG_7419

Here’s a closeup of the compost.  Look at that rich soil!

vermicompost

The fact that it’s really worm poop grosses out my boys.   Yes, the boys who announce, “Don’t leave yet– I gotta take a big dump” when we’re already late for drums.  The boys who brag about burping and farting simultaneously.  The boys who love to yell “frank ‘n’ beans” just before disrobing.

Of course, in every crowd you have some hedonistic ones and the worms are no exception.  They lurk in the tray at the bottom, which is intended only to catch stray compost and worm drippings. bin1

Dude, you pour the liquid from that tray onto your garden and you will see some pansies that look like they’ve been hanging out with Jose Canseco.

Anyway, the horny worms that just want to make love and don’t want to do their fair share of eating and pooping hang out here. They hide on the sides of the tray. Every once in a while I have to gather them up and dump them back in the working tray. wormsfromtray

“The orgy is over– back to work.”

So far I’ve mixed the compost with water and watered my winter plants, which have all perked up like the steroidal pansies. When it’s time to change to warm weather plants, I’ll incorporate the actual compost into the soil. I’m giving vermicomposting two thumbs up here. It’s easy and entertaining, depending on how exciting the rest of your life is.

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Two years ago in My Tiny Kingdom: Blast From The Past: Potty-Training Nomad Style (contains rear nudity)

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Don’t forget- this week’s Flashback Friday theme is “There Once Was…”

Posted by Anne Glamore @ 5:15 pm • Inventions, Creations, Experiments,Tiny Kingdom Exclusive     add to kirtsy   Stumble it!

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17 Responses to “The Slimy Way My Garden Grows”

  1. Wow, I have to do that. It is so awesome!

    Rayne of Terror’s last blog post..

  2. Composting rocks! Kudos to you!

    Mommy Cracked’s last blog post..Thought For The Day

  3. I’m intrigued and grossed out, all at once. Kind of how I used to feel about boys, I guess. We took the big step and started composting…but this worm thing is so strangely compelling. Why do I want to do this, when just look at the photos makes me kind of nauseous ? (And the idea of clearing them out from under the rim of the bottom bin ? Oh. My. God. No way, Jose Canseco).

    Daffodil Campbell’s last blog post..Post-Bloody Mary meme – this should be interesting

  4. I cannot even count how many of your posts have made me laugh so hard I cried. But this is one of them. This was AWESOME! I learned so much! Makes me want to click on over and find myself a Worm Factory. You should surely become an associate… you’d have lots of buyers after this. Hilarious, informative, and intriguing… way to totally pull me into vermicomposting and worm love-making!

  5. Oh, gross…I’m sorry, but I’d take dead plants over worms any day. When we bought our house, there was a composter in the back yard. Both my husband and I were like, what do we do with THAT? So we ignored it for a year and then put it out with the trash…what can I say, I am a city girl at heart. But good for you!!!! =)

  6. You are so brave. I have a can-o-worms that lives in the garden but can’t touch the worms, I have to wear my gardening gloves and use a specially assigned garden handfork if I have to move the worms but for the compost and worm gravy it is totally worth it.

  7. “Worm gravy”. Excuse me a moment, I feel a little queasy…….

  8. I’m intrigued, impressed, and thoroughly grossed out!

    Joy East of theKingdom’s last blog post..Power of Prayer

  9. Huh, that Does sound cool. I had no idea you could keep the compost bin indoors and not have it get smelly. I may just try that!

  10. YUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Good grief, you’re a good mother. I can’t top this. My mom let my brothers keep snakes (non-poisonous) as pets. I can’t top that either.

    Kim (Observations of an Earthroamer)’s last blog post..Flashback Friday: The Trust Fall

  11. Hm. Maybe I should reconsider this. I have no idea where I’d store these new “pets,” but for rich soil I could come up with something!

    jen’s last blog post..No April Fools here

  12. We are not technically allowed to throw away food in our garbage around here, we are supposed to backyard compost. I have a big old compost container, but the raccoons, skunks and other vermin liked to dig under it and take out all my scraps, so we stopped doing that. I have been feeling guilt about it lately and want to try composting again, so this wormy way sounds much better! I might give it a shot.
    And yeah, your last line about it being entertaining depending on how exciting the rest of my life is, cracked me up because while reading this, I was thinking “wow, this sounds kind of fun!”.

  13. This is a scream! I don’t think I could do it, but then I only raised one boy. Maybe dealing with three boys has raised your threshold for tolerating icky stuff!

    Scribbler (Ellen)

    Scribbler’s last blog post..An April Fooled

  14. Oh my – I love my worms too! I have this same system, which I also keep indoors. It’s the best thing ever. I’ll be spreading all that lovely bounty soon!

    SimplyForties’s last blog post..Simplify Your Life

  15. [...] earliest possible moment. My Tiny Kingdom has produced a tour-de-force in describing…well, you’ve got to read it! Funny’s much more humdrum appears in this round-up—thanks, Mary, for the good [...]

  16. My worms arrived yesterday! I didn’t get the bin, instead I have them in a Rubbermaid container. If I can keep them alive for a month I’ll get the real bin. Thanks for posting this.

  17. [...] presents The Slimy Way My Garden Grows posted at My Tiny Kingdom, saying, “Adventures in vermicomposting! Compost quickly with [...]

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I'm Anne Glamore, wife, mother, lawyer and blogger. I have three boys, and I'm desperately trying to train them to become Southern gentlemen, but that may be an unrealistic goal. At this point I'd be ecstatic if they'd quit farting at the dinner table. If you're new here, check out the Readers' Favorite Posts below or browse through the Categories. I write about my attempts to teach the boys about peckers and sex (which we call "making googly eyes"), my struggles with hepatitis C and spine surgery, the boys' adventures with fire and pets, my mom's death from ovarian cancer, my love of cooking (with plenty of recipes) and anything else that crosses my mind. Join me on Twitter or StumbleUpon or Email me. I'm happy to speak to your group or club.

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