20 September 2009

Meet the Joeys

Red Wiggler Worms may be the best pets ever!

When my daughter started her "worm composting" several years ago, I have to admit that I grimaced. My familiarity with worms at that point began and ended with the garden variety, sometimes hooked onto the end of a fishing line. One day the worm farming daughter moved away and left behind the large black worm composting bin.

Eventually, overwhelmed with how much kitchen waste we throw away in the garbage each day, I thought, Why not compost this waste? I looked into the traditional compost bins and decided to look for one that rotates or tumbles in one container.

And then I remembered the worm bin sitting empty in the garage.

The biggest hurdle to the worm compost process is finding the Red Wigglers. I searched the internet for sources of Red Wigglers in our city or near by. Nothing in my neck of the woods. I continued to look at the tumblers and talk about composting with friends. Then, quite by accident I saw them. In a booth at craft fair a woman had a display of her "home-made" plywood worm bin with directions and WORMS.

How much for the Red Wigglers? I asked her with more enthusiasm than she'd ever witnessed in her booth. She told me she happened to have a bucket of 1,000 Red Wigglers, and I bought them. We brought them home and tucked them gently into the black worm bin per internet instructions. They eat all our kitchen vegetable waste, coffee grounds, egg shells, and shredded newspapers.

We call them the Joeys. Naming 1,000 worms seemed impossible, so I called them Joey. If anyone asks, and people do, I recite a litany of Joey names: Mary Jo, Billy Jo, Jonny Jo, Kelley Jo, Peppy Jo, Slowy Jo, you get the idea. They appear after three weeks or so to be pretty happy. It's relatively free of odors and the Joeys live in the kitchen or laundry room most days. This week I opened the lid to check on the Joeys and found ten of them headed for the lid. In fact, some of them crawled all the way to the lid. Probably this means they want something more than what they've found in the bin. I added more garbage and spritzed a little water on the newspaper cover. Fewer and fewer of them climb to the top now.

I have no photos of our worm composting bin, but here is a website that gives great directions with photos.

One day my daughter will come to claim the worm bin and the Joeys will go to live with her. I will miss them. I think I'll buy a tumbler next time.


Kelley said...

give my best regards to the joeys!

Addie said...

Aw Jon will be sad to see the Joeys go too.