It has been a year since I began our worm composting experiment (did you think I was saying goodbye to the blog? No such luck, people! Your suffering will continue I'm afraid). It was a success in some respects, but a failure in others. I will write a list of pros and cons in case anyone wants to try it.
1) Worm poop makes gardens grow (I have to assume this is true, as I only planted my garden this week and nothing is growing yet, but the Internet says that worm poop makes gardens grow and the Internet is always right, right?)
2) Worms make great pets. They are quiet, they eat your garbage (although to be fair, there are plenty of dogs that eat garbage, right Theressa?) and they require very little attention. Plus, there is the alleged excreta benefit mentioned above.
3) Worms make you feel like you are doing a great thing for the environment. This must also mean that I can crank up my a/c to offset my green footprint, or something like that, I forget. I'll ask Chey tomorrow. She's been learning all about the environment at school and "teaching" (teaching = lecturing in a self-righteous manner) me how to be greener at home "to save the earth." Worm composting is also great for bragging about my wonderful environment-saving skills, people really look at me with admiration in their eyes when I start talking about my worms. I could be reading them wrong though. It could be the glazed looks of people who wish they were on a quiet sandy beach somewhere. No, I'm pretty sure it's admiration or adoration or approbation or
4) You can compost in the winter with worms.
1) Although worms make great pets from an ease-of-care standpoint, they do not make good pets from a mental health standpoint. They tend to disappear when you open up their box to observe them. I choose to believe that this sudden dive is due to their intense need to escape the light and not an attempt to avoid being cuddled, which brings me to my second pet-con. Worms are rather slimy and not at all nice to cuddle with.
2)Worms need to be fed, but not too much. They're actually, kind of picky, little bastards. They prefer their food to be cut up into small bits (its garbage, I don't cut my kids' food for them, I'm certainly NOT cutting up garbage for worm food) and they only eat about half of what our family produces in a week, as far as vegetative waste. They also like cardboard and newsprint, nether of which we seem to have when required (darn recycle bins!)
3)Worms (actually, it's probably the decomposing food, but I'm not fact checking tonight) produce a lot of liquid called leachate. Turns out this is kind of toxic and is not the same thing as worm tea (to get worm tea you soak their poop in water. You do not soak the worms in water. Also, the "tea" part is misleading. It is NOT the latest superfood (yet, maybe no one has thought of it. Does this mean that when someone does think of it, that they are stealing MY idea? Mark your calendars, people, I might need additional evidence of my genius) so I wouldn't recommend drinking it, unless it turns out to be a superfood, then fly at it!). You can not feed leachate to your house plants and expect them to live. You can use it to kill your house plants, though, so if that's what you're going for, this could be a pro. The other problem with leachate is that it has to be emptied (about once per month) because there is a lot of it and it starts to make your house smell funky (not the good kind) after a while. In the winter, this poses a slight problem, solved by the toilet, but not without mess and aggravation, a little cursing and an extra load of laundry.
4) Worm composers take up space. Ok, I'm stretching with this one, but it is true. You need a dark space that is convenient to get to and not too cold or hot (see? picky bastards!), I used our front hall closet, but that space is now being used for something else (which I shall share soon), I'm not sure where they would go, should I choose to use worms again.
Conclusions: I did like having the worm composter, but ultimately found out that it wasn't for me. If the worms had been able to handle the amount of vegetative waste our family produces, I might feel differently, but I found the cons to outweigh the pros.... Now, If my garden suddenly produces something phenomenal, the pros might still win. I'll keep you posted.
Here is the bin just before I dumped it, worms and all, into my garden.
|My garden helper... notice the skirt. |
She's actually wearing one, not to worry though.... those are sharks you see.