Vermicomposting Update

The Worm Factory 360

On March 8 of this year I became a Worm mom.  So far I have been a horrible mother to them.  First, they arrived on the hottest day of the year, and possibly the hottest day ever recorded in March in Cleveland.  The poor little guys were dropped off on my doorstep by the USPS around 2:00 and I did not get home from work until 5:30 and so they sat and sweltered in the midday heat for over 3 hours.  I promptly placed them in their new home as soon as I jumped out of my car and upon further inspection they were alive and wiggling.  The instructions that came with them stated this:

**If you have any type of melon rind, place it so that the juicy part is facing down.  This is a favorite food for your worms and will help them adjust quickly to their new home!**

Yes, it looked just like that on the page.  I happened to have a cantaloupe so I stuck 2 large pieces of rind in the box thinking I would really make them feel at home!  Then I just left them alone in a quiet, dark, (cool), corner for a few days.  After 3 days I took a peek at them and EEEK! there were mites all over the soil!  CRAP! Bad mom, bad mom.  An internet search came up with the knowledge that cantaloupe and watermelon rinds attracts mites to the worm bin.  What the… why didn’t the instructions that came with the worms tell me that?  After removal of the rinds, I added coffee grounds, crushed egg shells, and some chopped wilted lettuce.  After a week the mites appeared to have gone somewhere else and the worms seemed ok but not overly active.  I figured they were still adjusting to the trauma of traveling across the country.  So, I left them alone for another week and today I thought I should probably check on them again. I opened the bin pulled back the paper and dug a little deeper in the dirt and uncovered these:

Not Baby Red Wigglers

I was excited at first thinking, “Oh boy baby worms!” but alas upon further internet searching they are not baby red wigglers but pot worms 😦 My Adult red wigglers appear to be perking up a little bit and moving around some more, but now I have to decrease these pot worms.  Apparently they are harmless and actually contribute to the compost process.  They may also indicate that the soil is too acidic.  I guess we will be eating a lot of eggs this week to add more shells to the soil.  My long term “Urban Farm” goals are: Year 1 – Worm Farm, Year 2 – Bee Hives, and Year 3 – Chickens, if I can’t get this worm thing figured out how am I ever going to raise bees and chickens?

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