I have a wormery, part of my contribution to recycle and save the environment. The worms and their home were delivered last July and I had no idea that their arrival would give me an extra responsibility in my life. I am not the best at consuming my “five-a-day” and as a result I suspect my worms diet is like mine, lacking a little.
When they first arrived it was exciting and interesting, they consume most things; meat, protein apart and it is best to avoid citrus and too much onion (both staples in my diet). The most difficult part in the beginning was getting the moisture and acidity right. Every few days I added some carefully collected left overs, plus newspaper shredded into worm-sized pieces to absorb the damp and occasionally I threw in a handful of limestone. Last year my worms did not thrive. No liquid (liquid gold) their by-product was generated. They lived in a soft, mushy, smelly mess and I constantly worried that they were dead or dying.
On a weekly basis I donned my marigolds and went delving for worms, turning the gloop over to get some air in to the mix. There were more thredy white worms (a sign of chemical imbalance) than lovely stripy tiger worms. I fretted shredded paper, tipped their container to 90 degrees in an effort to get some liquid to drain out of the tap and generally worried that I was a bad mother not fit to have a colony of worm children.
When the weather started to turn, they came indoors and spent the whole winter in the spare bedroom (moving out when sensitive human guests came to stay). And in time they got settle. Suddenly they were not all wriggling on the lid trying to escape and they even produced some pale yellow “gold” for my pot plants.
Lately they have been come a seething mass of wormness. When I take off the lid to feed them, I can hear the worms on the surface slither, wriggle and squirm as they burrow down to hide from the light. They are doing well and today I decided it was time to take out some of the compost and make some space in their home. It’s not as easy as it sounds decanting the top layer of half decayed matter plus the worms out to get at the compost below. They writhe and burrow, shrink and expand in a frenzy trying to escape the evil marigold hand. I become paranoid that I will accidentally chop one in half.
Outside in the garden doing this deed, it is only later that I realise I was talking out load to the worms:
“Careful” I said as one got caught on the lid.
“Sorry, sorry” to another that wriggled in what appeared to be agony as I tried to scoop it out.
“There you go” I went on to say “comfee now?” As I finally placed them back inside, added their latest meal and shut the lid.
“Ok, this is where you live now” when I moved them to their new location, the downstairs cloakroom. One step closer to being back outside.
It is something that I have known for a while. I am the woman that rescues stranded worms from concrete paths when they are flooded out by the rain. Having my own family has certainly re-enforced my view that worms have feelings too and they deserve a good and health life.
I shall not indulge them by buying extra fruit and veg just for them to eat. I might try (again) to eat my five-a-day and ensure I get some left overs for my family to eat.