Friday, April 5, 2013

No, really, there are WORMS in my KITCHEN

It happened. There are worms in my kitchen. And they're there on purpose. My job involves pest control and I keep worms in my kitchen. Anyone who knew me in high school, when I was involved in The Great Arachnid Car Accident of 2004,* would be speechless.

After taking the vermiculture course from the LES Ecology Center, I decided that the most cost-effective way to get worms into my kitchen was to buy the worms from the center ($22), but to make the "worm condo" ourselves. Using Swagbucks I had accumulated, I got a free $10 Home Depot gift certificate and dispatched Ben to the store for a plastic bin.

We borrowed my parents' electric drill and drilled small holes in the bottom of the bin, for drainage, and larger ones around the top, for ventilation. Then I placed an order to pick up worms on Friday, and so we spent half an hour or so Thursday evening tearing and dampening newspaper to create bedding.

I couldn't be there when Ben picked up the worms, and I was both relieved and disappointed. By the time I got home from work, they had already mostly disappeared into their bedding, exactly how I wanted it. I was only a little disappointed to get what I wished for and not see any worms.

(He took a video, but won't let me post it.)

I'd begun saving food scraps in a yogurt container in the freezer a few weeks ago, so we had already added food to the bin, a feast to makes any worm's mouth water.

The major problem that first night was that turning off the kitchen light behind us is such an ingrained habit that we kept leaving them in the dark. We were warned to keep a light on during the first night to prevent escapes before the bin begins to feel like home. But we survived, and so did they, and then . . . we went away for the weekend the very next day, to visit my father-in-law for his birthday. Ben stayed a few extra days, since he didn't have to work, but I cam home, alone, that Sunday night, with absolutely no idea what I'd be walking into. I pictured a bin full of dead worms. I pictured opening the door to find worms all over the living room. I pictured an unimaginable stench.

Instead, I found a bin full of worms, all alive as far as I could tell, and although I thought I noticed a bit of an odor when I first walked in, it dissipated quickly.

It's been almost 3 weeks now, but it feels like these worms have been part of our household forever. There are days when the bin is a bit . . . fragrant . . . but it's no worse than the days when our garbage can used to be rather . . . aromatic. Now though, the worms take care of that decomposing food and the scent goes away without anyone having to take the garbage out!

The best part, for me, is seeing the little casings spread throughout the bedding and sticking to the sides of the bin, and knowing that slowly but surely, that garbage is being turned into fertile compost that will grow good food that will feed us!

*I can't be the only teenager to total a car trying to kill a spider . . . but I hope for the world's sake that there aren't too many of us.

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