Louisa Enright's Blog

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Turkey Tracks: Worms in My Basement

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Turkey Tracks:  May 21, 2013

Worms in My Basement

I have worms in my basement.

Vermiculture Worms.

They eat my garbage.

Actually, they eat the mold my garbage makes at it…ages.

They don’t smell.

They have likes and dislikes.  They are not crazy about citrus.

They live in this box in the utility room:

Worm box

It’s warm in the utility room.  They like warmth.  See the vent holes on the sides of the box.  Screens taped on the inside keep the worms from exploring more of their habitat.

Here’s what the inside of the box looks like:

Worm box inside

You can see they’ve disposed of all their food except for some stray egg shells.

See the black dirt?  The worms make all that dirt.  Worm dirt sells for about $17 a bag.  It’s black gold.

Here’s a close-up of the worms in their black gold:

Worms and their dirt

The chickens LOVE to get a handful of worms thrown to them.

I cover the worms with a layer of shredded paper.  I keep a shredder in the office, and sometimes I shred newspapers if the supply of shredded paper runs low.  I got a decent shredder last year after trying to manage a small, cheap one for some years.  When it broke, I upgraded slightly, and I think that’s been a good trade-off as I’m not putting a whole lot of paper into the waste stream.

The new shredder cross-cuts the paper, which means it dissolves quicker:

Worms, paper shredded fine

Here’s the new shredder and TWO bags of shredded paper–all made with no fuss, no jamming, no cuss words…

Worms, paper shredding

In the summer, I empty the worm bin onto a tarp.  The worms retreat to the bottom of the pile, and I skim off the black gold and put it into the garden.  The chickens LOVE to help with this task.  I round up some worms to go back into the box and feed them and cover them up again.  The rest of the worms go into the veggie garden.  These worms live near the surface, so they don’t survive in a really cold winter.  I think they might winter over in a milder winter however.  At the very least, they aerate the soil and add in protein.

Vermiculture worms are very different from outdoor Maine worms.  Those guys can be as long and as thick as a small snake.  Vermiculture worms are reddish, smaller, and thinner.

I like having worms in the basement on a cold, snowy day when I don’t want to plow through drifts to get to the compost bins that live back of the garage.

Whatever the reason, I like having the worms in the basement.

PS:  there are many web sites about vermiculture.

Written by louisaenright

May 21, 2013 at 3:14 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Louisa – I love my worms too!! And my vermiculture bin looks almost exactly like yours but stays outside with no chickens to appreciate it. However last year, a delighted little fledgling experiencing his first day out of the nest hopped his way in when I left the lid ajar to drive the worms away from the area I wanted to scoop out. He had a feast and thought how easy real life was while his frantic parents screetched and swooped around trying to keep him from harm. I keep telling fellow gardeners what wonderful compost-creators those red wrigglers are but so far the only one who has taken me up on my offer to help them create their own is my 23 year old son.

    Bonnie Sinatro

    May 25, 2013 at 10:00 pm

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