Little Survivors

I meant to leave my house today. I really did.

But there were so many projects and the time just melted away and the sunlight did too. There were Moonstone beef soup bones to roast and then turn into stock; there were thank you notes to write and phone calls to far-away friends; there were oats to soak for a loaf of bread and presents to put together for shipping, shared articles to read, and insurance forms to work on (still, still).

And at last, there were the little survivors of the house fire and the long dry summer and the chilly fall–living in a plastic 5 gallon bucket for all these months. I’m speaking of my compost worms, whose numbers are down to maybe 100 critters from about 20 times that.

But they’re still wiggling, and with a little moist bedding and some good food (coffee grounds, tea leaves, some leftover lettuce and chopped apple cores, a few broken-up egg shells), they’ll make a comeback.

In a few days, once they’ve adjusted to their new quarters (do worms need to “adjust”?), I’ll sprinkle in a little organic cornmeal–a good worm reproduction booster if used judiciously. I used it injudiciously once, and my house started smelling like salt-rising bread (read: sweaty socks), and the poor little things were backing up into the very corners and top of the bin to avoid the acidic fermentation. That’s the only time the worms have ever tried something like an escape, and the only time my worm bin ever smelled bad.

From now through early spring, I’ll be working to help them increase their numbers so they can eat through more scraps and make more good, fertile medium to start seeds in. Before I started in-home vermicomposting, I always struggled with fertility in my organic seed-starting mix–I didn’t like buying the fish and kelp liquids, and the compost pile out back was always frozen when I wanted to start leeks on St. Valentine’s Day.

Hopefully, by the time spring rolls around I’ll have finally finished all this insurance paperwork and I’ll have my grow light replacements up and running.  The seed collection needs re-building, too–but at least it’ll all be fresh!



One response

  1. We put 2 pounds of redworms in each barrel half – within a month you need to separate (sell or cup or use) or split the worms and bedding in another half barrel, add more peat moss. Fluffing them up helps if you don’t divide them, but overcrowding is not a good thing. Overcrowding causes worms to leave the barrel – plus the worms don’t get really big – most folks want big worms if you go fishing.

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