Because I know you care.
Well, actually, because I care. Or obsess, anyway. And they are almost the same thing.
You will recall, no doubt, that prior to 2011 ending, I admitted to wormicide. The weather got hot, and I was vacillating between sickness and busy-at-work-ness. When I finally peered at my worm farm box on the weekend, there were no worms in it. I dug, I sifted, I hunted. Just rotting vegetable matter; no wriggly red worms. You can imagine the despair.
My partner theorised that, in addition to the heat, I should not have turned the scraps as often, as I was speeding the process up. Something that is beneficial in compost heaps, but is less so for worms who make the compost by moving through layers. I was always destroying the layers and ruining the worm’s beloved environment. You can imagine my despair.
We set off to Tasmania for a couple of weeks of riding, hanging with family and eating. Before departing, I had put some old potting mix into the former worm farm and decided to leave it be. There was a second box, which I had just started and into which I had moved about five worms. These were still alive but I did not have much optimism that they would remain so. Into that box, too, I added potting mix and newspaper. And then I left them.
On our return, I tidied up our pot plants, filled with desiccated lettuce and shrivelled strawberries. Some crazy winds must have blown through as the lid of one “worm farm” box was halfway across the courtyard. The newspaper on top was dried up, with cracks forking and criss-crossing the print. Underneath, the rotting vegetable matter had turned into lovely dark compost. Hurrah! With my little gardening fork, I sifted through the matter, intending to turn it as I would turn compost in a heap. I unearthed worms. Lots and lots of red, wriggling worms. They weren’t too happy with me disturbing them, but I was thoroughly happy with them. Double hurrah!
I haven’t learnt my lesson, of course. The lesson being: leave worms alone! Instead, I spent most of this morning sorting through the compost, collecting worms and transporting them to the second worm farm box, the one that I am actually adding our kitchen scraps too. I think this degree of interference is acceptable, and I will endeavour to not stir up the worms too much.
There, a new year’s resolution.