Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Bye Bye Worms

If you have been following me for a long time, you might remember that we have a worm bin. Or rather, that we had a worm bin. We started using a worm bin to dispose of food scraps back in Austin, when we lived in an apartment and didn't want all the banana peels, apple cores, coffee grounds etc that we produced to go to waste. The worm castings and worm "tea" were great fertilizers for our container gardens. Although it was never as odorless or bugless as the various books and websites asserted it could be, we put up with fruit flies in the bathroom and extra cockroaches on the porch for almost 9 years. They moved to Bellevue with us for a summer, and back to Austin. When we moved to New York, we gave the bin and its batch of worms to a friend. but shortly after we arrived in Brockport, I made a new bin and restocked it. That batch moved to Arkansas with us and lived in our bathroom whenever it was too hot or too cold.

Lately, however, we have been neglecting the worms. Partially, we had a hard time generating enough food for them, since we now also have two regular compost bins in the back yard. We eat a lot of vegetables and fruit, but not so much that the remains can sustain worms and compost. On Saturday, as we were leaving for tennis, I noticed that there were suddenly a lot of dead worms on the floor of the garage - probably because there wasn't anything left to eat in the bin, and they made an ill-fated break for freedom. The garage was never a great place to keep them anyway, since it gets pretty hot in the summer, and there are lots of roaches. So, rather than let the rest of the worms suffer, I emptied the remaining worms into one of the compost bins. If they like it there, they can help the microbes eat up the leaves and food waste and Kirby-bedding. And we will no longer have to have two yogurt containers on the counter with mouldering food in them - just the bucket under the sink.

I feel a little sad about quitting our vermicomposting adventure, although it stopped being much of an adventure quite a while ago. It was certainly something different, something not at all corporate or widespread. Something that was a sort of an extreme lifestyle choice, like making my own yogurt and baking my own bread every week (I don't do either of those all that often anymore), but not as far out as living in a yurt or becoming a dumpster diving freegan. Now, I am just a normal suburban environmentalist, with compost bins and a clothesline.

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