June 29, 2008

Berries Banished

After 12 days of berry feasting, the worms have finished virtually all of them. There are a few small green pieces of tops I can see if I sift around, but other than that- all the red fleshy stuff and the rest of the leafy parts are GONE.

While investigating, I saw tons of cocoons and all different sized worms- hooray! I don't know how I'll ever know- in pounds - how many worms I have now that they are in the wigwam, but I guess I'll be able to tell by how fast they eat X pounds of food. I'll just weigh the food from now on and keep track of how long it takes them to finish.

I also finished screening all the castings from the old bin, FINALLY. It took them forever to dry out. I have giant bucketful now to use in Lilliworm's first worm casting tea bags.

What are worm casting tea bags, you ask? They are regular tea bags filled with worm castings (instead of tea) that you leave in your full watering can overnight. The good bacteria and nutrients from the castings leach out, turning the regular water into a nutritious organic plant drink (for plants- not you).

June 26, 2008

Wigwam Modifications

After the big berry feed last week (still not completely gone!), I noticed something was up with the wigwam. Problem: whenever I tilted up the giant black cover to look in, the condensation on it would run down until it dripped all over the floor in a big puddle. Not good. My bin was becoming a miniature rain forest.

I didn't have this problem with my other bins. The old bins had screened tops and allowed plenty of air circulation (check the pics).

Time for action. My husband likes the worms a lot more when they present him with an opportunity to show his dexterity with power tools. He was more than happy to cut a big circle in the wigwam cover with a jigsaw. I caulked in some screen over the hole, and the wigwam is fixed.

Enjoy the fresh air, wormies!

June 18, 2008

Berry-licious Worm Food

worm wigwam strawberriesWorking at America's Favorite Traditional Amusement Park has its perks, but unless you are a worm farmer you couldn't appreciate what I got today: an entire day worth of strawberry tops- about 7-8 pounds- from the funnel cake stand! A wormy culinary delight!

Strawberry tops are great worm food for two reasons:

1. They smell DELICIOUS and don't send me delirious from a wicked waft when I open the bin to peep.

2. They have a great mix of watery fruit that breaks down quickly and a green part that takes longer.

Did I mention they smell FANTASTIC?

Just to experiment with timing, I didn't food processor-ize this time. I'll let you know how long the worms take to finish the whole strawberry smörgåsbord. I have two worm bowls in waiting, so they better hurry it up.

In other news, I am almost ready to debut my exceptionally cool logo. You'll be so jealous.

While you wait patiently for the grand reveal of the official trademark of Lilliworm, get inspired to break out of your own cubicle nation.

June 15, 2008

Just How Fertile Are Worm Castings?

I'll tell you.

This is a snapshot of my bin just three days after putting in about six pounds of left-over tomato slices.

You got it- all the tomato seeds sprouted.

Inside the container.

In pitch darkness.

Those puffy dark brown worm castings must be the greatest plant food ever to have sprouted seeds in just three days in the dark, which makes me pretty darn happy.

After work today, we biked on the Youghiogheny River Trail, which is part of The Great Allegheny Passage- a 150 mile network of biking/hiking trails (we only saw 10 today). We turned around at slightly freaky Dravo Cemetery, which the Elizabeth Township Historical Society is supposed to be up-keeping (so says a sign), but I beg to differ. It was WAY overgrown and weedy.

Some headstones have the engraving worn off, but one had the eeriest epitaph: "As you are now so once was I, as I am now you soon shall be, prepare for death and follow me."


June 3, 2008

Saving Pods? Eggs? Cocoons?

After some research online, the little pellet thingees I've been picking out of the old bins really are cocoons filled with worm eggs.

I'm retrieving as many as I can with the primitive worm egg retriever (PWER) I've devised. I sort through the bin with a gloved hand, scoop up the eggs at the front of the PWER, and then tap them into a glass holding bowl.

Once my eyes start crossing, I dump them into the wigwam to join their friends and families. I would feel bad leaving any worm (or its cocoons/eggs/pods) behind while the rest moved on to bigger and better housing!

I don't think I mentioned this yet, but the biggest, greatest, fastest, free-est food processor ever died on me a few weeks ago. I admit it may have been from overuse/abuse. I LOVED that thing and what it did to giant food scraps, and I loved to hold that button down and watch all that scrap turn to MUSH! So much so, I'm afraid, that I held it down a little too long, and pfftttt.....it died. My brother took it apart with great intentions, but it was fried, fried, fried. So I was back to using my miniature one again.

Tonight, the big bad processor was born again, as I picked a Black and Decker version up at a crazy discount store for less than $20. It is HUGE, and did a bang up job on THREE BOWLS at once! Which, my husband quickly pointed out, was exactly how I broke the last one- putting too much in and running it too long. I guess I'll try to be more gentle this time around.