The making of black gold

I think my fascination with worms began years ago when my grandfather taught me how to fish at his cottage at Kiser Lake (OH). As a pre-teen I also cared for redworms and nightcrawlers at his produce stand. Now as a warped adult I raise worms in my laundry room. Hmmmmm…… Just when you thought I couldn’t get any weirder!

I am proud to confess that I make compost indoors with red wigglers worms (Eisenia foetida), a process officially named Vermiculture. These are not your backyard kind of worms and will not tolerate cold temperatures which is why they are kept inside. Unlike their vagabond cousins the nightcrawler (whose main goal in captivity is to escape a worm bin) my red wigglers are quite content to consume my kitchen scraps and give me wonderful compost in return. Photos of my recent compost harvest are featured below. To visit a good place to learn more about Vermicomposting, go HERE.

Worm bin is dumped out on a table outdoors (out of direct sunlight) and sorted into smaller piles.

Because they don't like light, worms will move to the bottom center of each pile. As they do, I peel back the compost a little at a time. I check the piles every 15 minutes or so.

This is an egg cocoon. It may hold 1-4 worm eggs.

As I'm working on peeling back the worm-free compost from the piles (takes a couple of hours) I also prepare the worm bin by hand-tearing newspaper and moistening the worm's new bedding. I throw in a handful of garden soil to add grit.

Eventually I consolidate the smaller piles into one large pile. At some point, there are more worms than compost.

The worms get moved back into the worm bin with the new bedding. Add kitchen scraps for food, cover with more bedding and my work is done.

Native plants available Saturday

There will be many vendors at the Native Plant Society’s annual conference this weekend at the Bergamo Center in Beavercreek. The vendors will be open to the public this Saturday, July 9 from 9 am to 4 pm. Find out more about the conference HERE.

Rain barrel workshop this Saturday

The Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Greene County Master Gardeners are offering a do-it-yourself water barrel workshop Saturday, July 9 from 9:30 am to 12 noon at the Greene County Extension Office (100 Fairground Rd., Xenia OH). The workshop is free and open to the public however, if you want to make a barrel and join the workshop, they will provide barrels, materials and guidance for putting them together for a fee of $35 per barrel. There are a maximum of 25 barrels available.  Call the extension office at 937-372-4478 for information.

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2 thoughts on “The making of black gold

  1. How long does it take for your worms to produce a modest amount of compost…perhaps one cubic foot? And how many worms would you say are in your laundry room?

    • I guess that I should weigh/measure it some time but I’d guess that I harvested about 2 gallons worth. I have no idea how many worms there are. They were small this time as I had been cutting down on their food supply. According to Redwormcomposting.com, there are about 1000 worms per pound. I would say that I can turn a bin around in about 3-4 months or so.

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