Monday, March 7, 2011

Worm farmers - divide!

Don't you love a girl who's not afraid
to get her hands dirty?

We are worm farmers. Worm farming is not strenuous, but you must be willing to get your hands dirty periodically. Yesterday was that day.

About a year ago, a neighbor came to our neighborhood garden club meeting and introduced us to the joys of worm farming. A friend of mine was intrigued, and decided to start her own empire.  She generously gave me a start last September. (I did have to pay her in grape jelly.)

I brought the little bin of red wigglers home so that my family could embark on our own educational adventure. As frequently happens with pets, you know who does the majority of feeding. By the way, worms are vegetarians.

A little over two months later, we divided our worms into two bins. We found that our population had more than doubled – hurray! We started with 250; after division we had 300 in each of two bins. We also had a bucket of worm gold (i.e. poop). My daughter helped divide. I pointed out that her nose was 3 inches from worm poop.  She was unconcerned.

Now we had two bins to feed, water and care for. These two did not fare so well; mishaps befell them.

Shortly after the worms moved into their new homes, we gave a party. In the cleaning frenzy, they were relocated to the Men’s Institute for Higher Learning (i.e. storage building) where stuff was stacked on top of them. They were compressed. I did not discover their plight until about a week later.  Can you imagine the little wigglers screaming for help? (Ooooohhhhhh nooooooooo – heeeelllllllppp usssss!)

They were returned to their place on the porch, only to be exposed to extreme cold temperatures several months later. After a day or two, I realized that this might not be good, so I provided them with a blanket and a light.  They made it! My friend thought she had committed worm genocide, but hers survived, also. Tough little critters!

This man is the assistant to the head worm farmer.
Note the attention to detail. He is a good worker.
Perhaps I should give him a raise.
Yesterday, about a month and a half overdue, we divided our worms again. I decided two bins were plenty, so one of the bins – the most compressed – was poured directly into my husband’s vegetable garden.  Good luck, little gold-poopers! I don’t know how these worms will do in the big wide world, but we are setting them free, anyway.

We dumped the other bin on newspaper spread over the picnic table, and began picking through.  We worked about an hour. When finished, we had two bins with about 250 wigglers per bin. We had really, really dirty hands.  I also had a bucket of worm gold to incorporate into my garden. That gold undoubtedly conceals a few worms and eggs; I can’t wait for them to get to work in my beds!

Favorite spot in the garden:

Today’s favorite is again in my larger garden. Our native redbuds are blooming! I think these are the Texas redbud (Cercis canadensis var. texensis), though there is a Mexican redbud (C. canadensis var. Mexicana) that also grows on limestone. They grow in three spots on our property:  one by the driveway and the others requiring a walk in the woods. That’s a walk worth taking!


  1. Interesting post on the worms. I wish I had more of them in my poor soil. Loved seeing the redbuds, too. They are some of the prettiest trees, IMHO.

  2. Worm Gold... love it. So much easier than dealing with horse manure... and not so heavy... or so much.

    Ok, here is a question for the worm farmer. I know I read on ground dog food meal was good to put around rose to encourage and feed worms, so therefore I assumed they were meat eaters. What meat that was part of a worm diet did not concern me. But now I am wondering if corn meal would do the same thing AND not be quite so enticing for my dogs.

  3. @HG - yeah, we don't have many in our soil, either. Too dry and hot!

    @LH - Well, I'm not a worm expert. I should have said that what I read says don't put meat scraps in your bins because it draws scavengers. Of course, my dog is an omnivore and has no problem stealing food from worms. Also, I think worms in garden soil are a different kind of earthworm than red wigglers, a.k.a. manure worms. In other words, I cannot answer your question!