I've got worms!
And I couldn’t be happier. And no, it’s not that sort of worm — I’m talking about my worm farm, which I set up a few weeks ago.
I had a compost bin and a worm farm at my old house, but for various reasons I wasn’t able to bring them with me when I moved. My new garden is much smaller, and mostly native plants, which don’t need much fertilizer, and in fact some of the plants thrive on poor soil. But my vegie boxes do need their soil enriched.
I was also feeling rather wasteful, throwing vegetable peelings and other compostables in the rubbish bin, so I bit the bullet and ordered a worm box on line, along with a supply of compost worms. Different worms do different jobs, and these worms live just beneath the surface and process vegie scraps, waste paper and other organic material into . . . well, worm poo, and worm wee. Both of which plants just love.
I set it up just outside the laundry door. I collect my scraps in a small bucket (with a lid) that sits on the kitchen bench and every day or two I take it out to the worm farm and pop them in. I chop everything up small to make it easier for the worms to process. You can see from the photo the kind of thing I mean.
Eggshells, which they can’t process in big chunks — they have tiny mouths and no teeth — I let dry first and then grind to a sand-like texture in my stone mortar and pestle, which my parents brought back from their time in Penang. It takes barely a minute and it provides the worms with the grit they need for health. And it’s good for the soil, when it gets there.
I’m already collecting worm wee — they like to be kept damp, and the excess liquid trickles down and is collected, and from time to time I turn on the little tap at the base and collect it in a bottle, which I then dilute to the color of weak tea before I feed the plants with it.
Funny story. Another friend of mine has a worm farm, and one evening at dinner with friends I was mentioning how much I missed my old worm farm and compost bin, and a friend said, “I could give you some worm juice if you like.” (Yes, quite the high-brow dinner party discussions we have. <g>)
Our host, who had been in the kitchen and missed the context, had just put the next delicious course on the table. He looked at her in horror. “Worm juice?” he said, appalled. “What on earth do you do with that?” Clearly thinking this was some kind of frightful heath fad and that we would drink it. We laughed and explained.
I’m very happy to have a worm farm again. There’s no bad smell, and it’s using up my organic waste and turning it into something productive for my garden and my pot-plants. It’s a win win situation.