Thursday, March 15, 2012

Peacefully, at their home in Ontario.

It is with some sadness that I write today to tell you of the demise of my friends, the red wiggler worms.

In previous posts I have extolled their virtues, their fecundity, their extensive knowledge gleaned through reading discarded newspapers, their graduation to University, their managing of my financial affairs as they slurped up my bills and obliterated sensitive information before it could fall into the wrong hands. All that AND provided me with a never ending supply of rich organic, non burning fertilizer.  Well, never ending till now.

For awhile I was overwhelmed with worms.  I held worm seminars in the hope of passing on knowledge and surplus worms.This was not successful.  I sold thousands, I traded more thousands for useful items like rain barrels.

Still I could not stem the red tide of worms. I was growing more unhappy with the job of lifting the bins to feed and clean them.

It could have been my negative vibes that killed them but more likely it was because I did not clean them as often or put clean bedding in each time I fed them.  This probably set up the unpleasant living conditions that led to their demise?

Some months ago I noticed their numbers dwindling and eventually I eliminated two of the three bins that once were overflowing with pink wriggling life.  At first I admit I was relieved not to have to lift that heavy third bin that perched on top of two others.

I did not give up hope for another few months. I figured there were eggs that would hatch. There were tiny young worms that would grow to adult hood and the colony would thrive once again as it had for about 5 years.

So I kept up feeding and the waste disappeared but still no worms were evident.  How could this be?

Then I remembered reading that  worms do not actually "eat" the garbage. They do not have teeth and cannot scrape or gnaw their way through it.

Neither do they require lime in the form of eggshells for their craw (???) and to help them with digestion as some sites will tell you. This in fact is only to help de acidify the bin....however even that has been called into question as eggshells dissolve so slowly.

The job of breaking down the vegetable matter is done by beneficial bacteria and microbes that prepare a delicious soup that the worms then slurp up. To my knowledge microbes and bacteria don't possess teeth either.  I do not know the mechanics of what they do but assume it involves some chemical reaction causing putrefaction. I confess I am too lazy to look it up.

So....I think I will continue with this experiment and just keep adding the refuse to the bin and see what happens.  I have become hooked on that wonderful fertilizer. I much prefer just burying kitchen refuse in a handy bin than schlepping out through snowbanks to the compost pile or putting it in a garbage bag that has to be taken to land fill....we have no garbage pick up here.

Have you ever noticed when you are buying a car you are told it maintains its value and that is why the price is so high?  It will have  great resale value. But when you try to sell the same car you are told that that particular car is no longer in demand.

Well the same goes for worms and probably lots of other things.

Worms don't come cheap when you are trying to buy them. They do however go cheap when you are trying to sell them. No one else was as foolish as me to pay $50.00 for a pound of them. I had to let them go as low as $35.00 a pound just to put a dent in their unchecked population explosion.

But my question is ....Have we been scammed by these worm purveyors? Do they know that the worms are just decoration... not a necessary part of the equation?

I know that in the outside world worms do more than assist in breaking down vegetable matte they also aerate the holes as they create their burrows and drag vegetable matter deeper into the soil. Or so we are told.

The longer I live the less I believe any more.

I will let you know in a future post how my wormless composting experiment proceeds.

1 comment:

down to earth said...

Oops. No matter how many times I re read these there are still errors when I have done the final posting. In the fourth line from the bottom I meant to say vegetable matter and that they also aerate the soil. Apologies.