Archive for February 2010


February 11, 2010

A number of years ago I took the city up on their offer to purchase a worm bin at a discount. I picked it up on a Saturday afternoon. Monday went to Elliott Bay Books to purchase a book on composting. The book, claiming to demystify “the art of composting” , was a slim 111 pages not including the glossary and index.

I skimmed the handout from the city and set up the bin with wet bedding and some food scraps. My plan was to spend the next few weeks reading the book in my spare time. The city literature assured me that if I created a welcoming environment the red worms would find my bin. The project was derailed when my labrador retriever, eight years going on six months, injured her knee. After consulting with an orthopedic Veterinarian it was clear that she needed surgery and then an extended rehab. Suddenly 111 pages of instruction seemed like a lot. I didn’t have time for high maintenance worms when I was going to have to keep the crazed one quiet enough to heal without blowing out the other knee.

Fast forward a few years. Thanks to the city, I have been collecting food scraps in a copper bucket in my kitchen to throw into the yard waste bin. With the garden show coming up, I decided that I would give the worm bin another go. Instead of leaving the fate of my compost to whatever worm instinct would get them crawling out of the ground and into my bin, I could buy a box of red worms from Seattle Tilth.

After reviewing the instructions for setting up the bedding, I gathered up some of the copious output from my paper shredder, mixed in some of the leaves mulching my garden bed and pulled the bin  out from where it had been sitting under my deck for all those years. Pulling off the lid I discovered a pile of rich dark dirt! Apparently the worms had indeed discovered my bin and eaten their way through my original  bedding and food scraps. When there was no new food forthcoming they moved on.

I mixed up the dirt with the materials I had prepared. Since I was going to the garden show anyway, I did get a box of worms. They have been safely bedded down in the bin for a week now. They haven’t fled so I must have the basics right. Someday I will probably make my way through that compost book. In the meantime, I have a rambunctious new lab puppy and a bin full of hopefully low maintenance worms.