December 26, 2007

Jingle worms, jingle worms

Oh, the weather outside is frightful- and it is still a bit chilly in my basement. But, all seems to be well with the wormies and we are getting ready for the big weigh in and move this weekend.

Just to update from previous posts, the mighy Serra Eagles did indeed make it all the way to Hershey, to the State Championship for the Single A Division. Hooray! However, what they did when they got there rhymes with "booze" and we are not going to say it out loud in this blog!

Since I have off work til right after the New Year, I am able to devote more attention to the squirmers. They are still getting down on some grapes from last week- I don't know what's taking so long, I wonder if they are getting drunk on the grapes?- but I got plenty of Christmas goodies in the wing for the first feeding after the new bins are done.

One of my favorite Christmas gifts this year was a purse and wallet made from recycled billboard. Check them out and save the Earth!

December 9, 2007

Worm Blankets?

It gets kind of chilly here in Pittsburgh, PA, and so does our basement on a 10 degree night. So what are the wormies to do? I wrote to my worm advisor, and he said they can survive fairly cold temps, but that the colder temps make them lose weight and not multiply as fast.

Hmmmm....sounds like a solution for a few other world problems to me....

Anyway, until someone invents worm blankets, worm comforters, or worm warmers (say that three times fast!), I'll just have to pray they know to stay burrowed down in the nice cozy peat, paper, and food mush!

November 27, 2007

Wiggling their way to the state playoffs...

So, the worms are great. But do you want to know what's even better? SERRA CATHOLIC EAGLE FOOTBALL!

While I am busy with worms, my husband is an assistant coach for the Serra Catholic Eagles. Last Friday, they won the WPIAL Championship at Heinz Field, beating Springdale 10-6. To punctuate the win, my Dad and I had a great time afterward at the Bettis Grille 36- where they serve a mean deep fried Italian hoagie and have the best TVs anywhere. This week, the Eagles move on the PIAA State Playoffs against the North Star Cougars.

I thought the worms were taking a long time, but this football season has been lasting a long time, too! It had better end with a win in Hershey, PA!

I promise promise promise I will focus on the worms next time. I have three new bins ready for action. All I gotta do is find the time and not cop out on the weighing!

November 13, 2007

Pumkin Eaters

This story loses points for timeliness... but the wormies enjoyed Halloween by eating all the insides of the pumpkins we carved! Also, they got a bunch of rotten bananas after our eyes were bigger than our appetite for bananas last week at the grocery store.

Moving on (they are happy, healthy, and crawly- all a new worm farmer could wish for!)- time to discuss my new favorite fruit this week- pomegranates. They are yummy and interesting and bitter sweet and take a lot of effort to eat. I mean, like by the time you are done cutting, soaking, and picking out the good arils, you have probably burned all the calories that are in the whole thing.

I swear next week I'll get back to concentrating on worms. Worm farming is just so easy and requires so little energy and focus, that it's easy to leave your little friends hanging (both the ones in the bin and the ones expecting to read a worm-type blog).

I promise next time I'll be buying up more bins and weighing worms- just you wait and see! I'll use that scale yet!!!

October 21, 2007


Feed, spray, watch. Feed, spray, watch. We are kind of in a holding pattern here, folks, while the wormies eat, stay moist, and procreate. Not much action to report unfortunately.

At this point, there are three bins and each has PLENTY of worms inside. Next steps are to create seven more bins so I have a total of ten, and of course do what I couldn't do the first time out- weigh them.

In other news, big dog day today....Barktoberfest at South Park seemed to be a smash success with our dog. We also walked dogs today at the local humane society. Gotta love those poochies!

October 2, 2007

Save the Babies!

You may remember this photo from my last post:Get ready for some shock and awe involving this image.

As a novice worm grower and worm mover and worm binner and worm re-settler, I dumped the bin out and put the contents into a big heap. The worms moved away from the light and I took the first layer of castings and put them in another pile. I did this a few times and then picked out some doodads that weren't castings- i.e. eggshells, paper bits- to come up with the five bags shown above.

Eventually, I got a little freaked by the sheer volume of worms (I'm new at this!) and felt a little bad (stress! stress! stress!) and I quickly placed them in their new bins with the rest of the castings.

I kept the little plastic bags of harvested castings open to try to air them out and make sure they dried out before I closed them. A few days later, I checked the bottom of the bags to see if they were dried out comes the shock and awe......

There were teeney, tiny, barely there BABY WORMS in the bottoms of all the bags where a little moisture was left- and, THANK GOD!- they were still alive! I switched in to worm-saving overdrive mode and picked those little babies out with my bare hands and threw them back in with their families!

I am so sorry, baby worms! No one told me this might happen! No where in the worm literature did I read about baby worm sacrificing during casting harvesting! NO WHERE! Who would have guessed???

The only question is....what happens next time? What is the proper procedure to save the baby worms?

September 23, 2007

Wormy new digs

So this is what my first bin was down to when it finally came time to move them into their wormy new digs. The remaining paper was browning and they were eating little bits of it. I had a wild goose chase for a small postal scale- my husband who is just learning to save the earth came home first with a digital one that I had to return.

He redeemed himself by drilling the holes in the bottom of the new bins (for drainage) and cutting out large squares in the top so I could replace them with screen. But then he went upstairs- he is still not overjoyed with the worms (or saving the earth) just yet. Love is carrying him through these tough environmentally friendly times!

I cut the rest of the newspaper into small squares and mixed it with peat moss and some water. And then I did the big dump....I dumped the whole first bin onto a tarp and got down to business separating castings from funky stuff from wormy clumps.
First observation: no more eggshells, or maybe just one every other feeding. They don't eat them fast enough and I was picking little eggshell pieces out of everything.

Second: you don't really get dirty sorting the worms. The castings are just a little damp but real soft and fluffy with no smell. Interesting.

Third: there is no dang way I was going to weigh these things at this point. I am hoping by dividing them into three bins the next time I can actually weigh them.

Here was the issue: they are lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of worms. Some of them were in clumps (like a giant bunch stuck to a small banana peel piece- ew!) and the rest were just so willy-nill that I felt bad trying to corrall them into being weighed. It seemed stressful enough just with the dumping and sorting.

Truthfully, I was equally stressed by seeing this very alarming amount of worms for some reason. So I hurriedly got them into their new homes and breathed a sigh of relief.

I left the big bin to air out, and figure if I get ambitious and order more, I'll get them started in the big bin just like their ancestors.

On to the good part... I did get some bags of castings. I need to get a big screen to screen them through, because picking all the little paper and eggshells out of them is NO FUN.

I am going to try some out on my own houseplants and see what happens.

September 16, 2007

Why put off today what you can do tomorrow?

Because worms are slow. I've told people for forever I'm moving the worms into new bins. However, I was planning that out at MY work pace, not THEIRS. These worms have turned me into a liar, because I've had these three bins for a few weeks now, waiting patiently for them to finish this last large batch of scraps so they can move on up into their new digs. They are STILL finishing up, and eating most of the newspaper while they are at it. The bin is about 50-60% worm poo at this point, particularly at the farthest side.

I am moving on without them for now. Next steps are to cut holes in the new bin tops, line them with screen, and put the drainage holes in the bottom so it doesn't get too mushy and wet inside. I am supposed to dump the first bin onto a tarp, sort out the castings vs. the worms, and fill the new containers with damp peat/coffee grinds/shredded newspaper, and weigh the worms. There had better be more than a pound, let me tell you! With these optimal conditions, I am expecting increase.

Sidenote: I was in Walmart the other day tree and plant shopping, and what did I see but a giant display with the words "WORM POO" real big. WHAT? Some dang worm poo company got into Walmart and just comes right out and says "WORM POO"....BUT....then I read the label and there is more than just worm poo in there. That made me kind of ticked, not to mention the fact it seemed to be in plastic containers? WHAT???

My issues with this are:
1. Worm poo by itself is the great organic natural fertilizer, why mess with it, and
2. So much for saving the earth with your plastic container! Sheesh!
I got myself all worked up and was shouting at my husband and could barely continue to shop.

September 5, 2007

Yes, we have no bananas...

because we let them go bad and the wormies got them!

I fed my vegetarian recyclers again today and the bowl was crazy with bananas: peels, parts, and entire bad bananas- again courtesy of a co-worker. The last time the menu included bananas, the worms were all over them and finished up pretty quick. So, we'll see....these bananas had the added nutritional value of carrots and onion tops. Yum.

Also, great news.....I am at the last "row" of feeding in this bin. I have fed all the way across the length of it, so when this batch is finished, we'll be having the official "weigh-in"- will there be over the pound I started with?- and "moving day" into three new deluxe accommodations!

August 30, 2007

Getting Misty...

So I've had my worm bin for about a month and a half and although the little squirmers aren't a lotta trouble, the sprayer I bought at the local Rite-Aid is a python sized pain in the posterior! Every time I go to spritz the wormies, it gives me two good sprays, starts leaking all over for two more squirts, and then just quits altogether.

Today I ventured to another fine discount establishment and bought a new and hopefully much improved sprayer. This one was a little cheaper- only $1 versus the first $2.99 one- and much more cheerful looking in an enticing clear bright yellow. They also had super-inexpensive plastic containers- so I now have three new homes for when the current arrangement starts overflowin' with worm happiness!

August 27, 2007

Scrappy friends and family

Just when you thought it was safe to look in the is overrun by worm food! Seriously, how do two people (and two of our friends) produce so many biodegradable scraps? I have two almost overflowing worm bowls taking up a lot of fridge shelf space, and that's just from four people over about week! I am trying to imagine how much of this kind of WASTE my street/neighborhood/small town must be throwing away EVERY DAY! AARRGGHHH! That's terrible, embarassing, and FIXABLE!!!

I fed one of the bowls to the wormies tonite, and it had a bad peach in it. This bad peach was so squishy and juicy and made the whole mixture real runny, ew. But, it smelled peachy and sooooo much better than the last batch that almost knocked me out cold. This mix was kind of like a fruity coffee perfume for worms.

This week I am going to get a few more bins and start dividing these suckers up. They are eating like crazy, and the castings are all over the place and seem a few inches deep now. Look out worm world, here I come!

August 19, 2007

I spy

I spy with my little eye....a bunch of squirmy worms I am not supposed to keep looking at! That's right, I am a peeping tom with these dang worms. I know I am supposed to just spritz them, feed them, and add some nice bedding and be on my way, but I feel like I NEED TO KNOW what is going on underneath that shredded paper!

Before I leave for work in the morning, I turn off their little nite-lite and I cannot resist popping the top off, putting on my garden glove, and pulling back some bedding to see WHAT IS UP. Are they eating? Are they sleeping? Are they mating? I NEED TO KNOW.

Then when I arrive home, I give them some spray water and again, I put on the garden glove, pull back the bedding, and do another check. WHAT ARE THESE WORMS UP TO? Let me tell you, NOT MUCH. They are really squirming in their new batch of food- this time featuring mashed grapes, berry tops, coffee grinds, and potato peels. But, that's about it.

Worms as pets on a scale from 1 to 10 would get about a 1.5 for excitement and a 2.5 for activity- however, as far as ease of upkeep, they'd be a solid 10, and keeping me environmentally friendly, another solid 10!

August 8, 2007

As the worm turns...

As I may have mentioned, worms are not the most active and exciting animals on the planet. So here's a pic of my real pet and husband, who are pretty fun and always exciting.

Back to business. The food from the first batch seems to be done, except for a few potato peels. The next worm bowl of food comes from the hard work and recycling efforts of a fellow co-worker, and is full of different foods than last time like carrots and banana peels. Hats off to her for giving them such variety in their little lives!

HOWEVER...this one smells wildly and mind-blowingly worse than the last and took a lot more cutting and mashing and crunching up to make it into mush. Like my instructions point out, WORMS DON'T HAVE TEETH! I would like to point out, CARROTS DON'T MUSH!

Last week, I shredded another edition of our city newspaper to add more bedding, as it seemed to be disappearing. When I pulled it back to put the food in (new row!), some of the worms were mixed in with the paper near the top.


I hope in wormspeak this means "Put in new various delectables- I am hungry, ready to mate, and make lovely organic fertilizer!"and not "Just wanted to check the local headlines from a few days ago!"

As for ever getting a shot of that feeding frenzy, forget it. These dang worms are private eaters and not hot on light, so every time I try to pull back the paper and snap one of them squirming around- FORGET ABOUT IT! Away they go!

July 30, 2007

The Feeding Frenzy....not really

It was time to do some feeding. The worms had been with me a week or so, and I had issued various friends and family "worm bowls" to save their veggie scraps in. The first "worm bowl" filled up at my house.

I mashed up potato peels, strawberry tops, egg shells, green and red pepper tops/stems, and more coffee grinds. It looked not good, and smelled not good. I tried to keep in mind this would have all ended up in the garbage, but I was turning it into yummy (gulp!) food for helpful creatures. Ew anyway.

Went downstairs and pushed the shredded newspaper out of the way about a quarter way across the bin. I had read to feed them in a new row each time and slowly move across the bin, so by the time they get to the last row on the farthest side from where they started, you'll have all the castings (POO!) left. That sounds like a swell idea, but my worms seem to be all over the place. Hopefully, I have received intelligent enough worms that they will understand this slow migration of food across the bin.

I will try to photograph the worms actually feasting, if and when this feast takes place.
By the way, worms are kind of boring. I was very elated building the bin, overjoyed when they arrived, and way ecstatic to show them their new home. Then, a lull in activity. Hmmm...worms just don't take all that much energy. I guess that's a good thing, or I would be complaining how much work the worms are!

July 26, 2007

There Was Darkness and Potential Escape

In the morning, I got ready for work and headed to the basement on my way to the garage. I stopped to take a heartworming, Earth-loving peek at my bin.....HOLY TERROR and ALARM! I was witnessing an escape attempt by about forty of my creepy crawlers!

They were crowding up around the top of the bin, which thank goodness had a top on it (with the middle cut out and replaced with screen so they could breathe!). Still, I looked around with a panic I had not known would come with worming. WHEW! No escapees had made it past the top! A few quick taps on the side of the bin later, they were all laying back in the bedding.

I got to work and emailed my supplier- what the heck was going on? Were they trying to get back home? Did these worms have a innate sense of direction I had not read about while I was researching them? HELP! I did not want unhappy guests!

My connection to the worm world, a great gentleman from Da-Le Ranch with the quickest, most complete, and positive thinking emails EVER, emailed me a nice calm reply and noted that I should leave a light on at night so they stay put in their bed (bin). They tend to move away from the light, and you don't even need a bright light- just a small one.

I obviously need to consult my directions more closely. I have been missing some key points.

Stay tuned for the first feeding.

July 25, 2007

In the beginning...

I couldn't wait to see how worms were shipped through the US Mail like a Christmas card. I was amazed that within two or three days, a whole pound of living wiggling worms would be on my doorstep. They arrived from a ranch in California. After mapquesting, I found out my little friends travelled over 2,400 miles. They have already logged more miles than me this year!

The worms arrived in a regular cardboard mailing box marked with red felt pen alarmingly "LIVE BAIT!" Yikes! I was not planning on hooking my worms as fish food!

In the box was a ton of shredded newspaper, and in the middle lay a tightly packed cloth bag with a little drawstring. I dampened the newspaper and placed it into my bin like the directions mentioned- oh, yes, worms come with directions! Sometimes in projects, you might just breeze over the directions figuring you know the deal- but THIS WAS NOT ONE OF THOSE TIMES! Not with hundreds of little lives on the line!

Not knowing how productive/successful I would be, I only ordered 1 pound for about $30; however, it looked like I had received the bargain deal of the century because there looked to be, oh, about a kizillion in the cloth bag.
I dumped them quickly into the bin and shuffled them around with the newspaper. Then I sprinkled in the coffee grounds I made my husband save and shuffled them around, too.

I gave them a few sprays with my new water sprayer purchased strictly for worm sprinkling.

I looked at the worms, newspaper, peat moss, and coffee grounds in the bin. I pushed some stuff around to make sure they were still alive.

And then I thought, wow, that was easier than I imagined. I had pictured wild worms needing to be wrangled back into the bin by way of worm lasso.

And then, with day one of my worming adventures over, I shut off the light and went upstairs. You'll never guess what was going on the next morning...