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:: dirty work ::

April 13, 2012

My girls have been working hard.  Not Ava and Violet, no. My other girls.  My precious worm babies.  I have been vermicomposting off and on for several years with mixed results.  This year I have decided to change up my system a little bit and use smaller ice cream pails which I rotate through periodically.  In other years I have used larger containers rather than many small ones and so far, it seems as though the smaller buckets are winning out in terms of productivity.

I decided to give my worms a little ‘kick start’ before gardening season since the number of worms I had was not enough to keep up with the amount of scraps that my family produced during the day. We really could fill up an ice cream pail a day with peels, cores and stems of fruits and veggies. As much as my little worms love to eat, that just is too much food for the one pail of worms that I had.  Our school also keeps worms and I received permission to get some starters from them .  I took one ice cream pail of soil/worm/compost and set to work separating.  Since red wrigglers reproduce so prolifically, that bucket that I took will hardly be noticeable in a few days!  They really are incredible little creatures!

Every couple of weeks it is time to aerate and ‘clean’ the worm buckets.  To do this, I spread out some paper and begin to pick through the dirt and compost looking for my little wrigglers.  When I find a worm I place it into a container to put back into the compost bucket and keep the dirt (or worm poop, as Ava refers to it) in a different pile to spread into my plants and garden.   With a rough count of the number of worms I pulled from that one pail of dirt, I was able to add over 200 worms to my compost system today!

I had a little ‘helper’.  She was very good at getting dirty.  Not so good at picking out the worms!

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