Here are my latest pets:
Okay, so not your usual cat, dog or budgie! But so much more useful. I was given a wormfarm for my birthday this year by my wonderful husband (and son). It is a Can-o-worms, and comes with 3 tiers, and a tap to drain off all that liquid gold out the bottom. I chose this one because my dad has had one for years and years, and it seems to work really well. We didn't buy any worms, but rather stocked it by taking an icecream container full from Dad's farm. As worms populate up to the limits of their available room and food, his farm will simply repopulate to cover the few I took out.
I also took quite a few from our compost bin. I have never seen a compost bin with lots of worms, but this one sure does beat all. It is down behind the back shed at our rental unit, and on warm, wet days is simply teeming with worms. I'm sure other days are the same, but they all head to the top of the black plastic dome on these days. It was a simple matter of rubber gloves, hand trowel and icecream container, and 4 or 5 trips between compost bin and new worm farm, and my farm was ready to go. I thought I must have taken almost all of them, but need not have worried - a recent visit showed that there's still plenty there to continue munching.
So why have worms? Well, they generally don't smell (if they do, you might need a bit of lime as it is getting too acidic). They don't need a worm-sitter when you go away. You just give them heaps of food and a bit of water before you go, and can then enjoy your 2 week summer holiday knowing your worms will still be alive when you get back. They eat food waste. I think my farm is supposed to eat up to a litre per day once it gets going, but that will probably take 6-12months. I personally hate throwing food in the rubbish. All that stinky, decomposing waste in our landfills. And so unnecessary, when it is actually a valuable resource. That's not a sustainable practice at all.
In efforts to reduce, reuse, and recycle, worms come up tops. They don't take up a lot of room. They don't make any noise. They don't need taking for a walk, and they don't require expensive vet bills. They are hard working little machines, that go about their business with almost no help from me. I just have to supply food, preferably in small bits, a little water, a shady spot for their house, and empty a layer of the worm farm every few months...which is a task I do not mind at all seeing as worm castings are rather helpful round the garden (apparently very neutral so safe to use ad-hoc wherever you like, you just cover with mulch to stop the sun leaching the goodness from them - you can mix them into soil, put them round shrubs, water a dilution into your tomatoes or strawberries, and use the same to help transplant shock for new seedlings - basically an all-purpose compost!).
I am very happy with my farm. It was something I could have now that I can use for years to come. It helps me live more sustainably, even while we are renting. Do you compost your food scraps? What's your favourite method?
Monday, 18th October, 2010