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Worm composting: 500 of my new best friends!

There is compost in my kitchen! As promised, early Wednesday morning, I got my call from the LESEC telling me my worm bin was ready for pickup at the Union Square Market. I excitedly headed over to their little table at the market where bags of their own compost were piled high for sale.  

(Extra income opportunity?) I turned in my pink receipt I had the privilege of buying for $10 only after completion of the two hour seminar the week before and in return, got a clear plastic bin and a Tropicana carton which appeared to be half full of dirt.  Of course under the top layer, wriggling away were 500 or so of my new best friends!  

A fellow composter at the booth expressed her best wishes, and jealousy, and then I was of.  Walking through the market with a huge bin under my arm, it seemed as though everyone knew exactly what I was doing and where I was coming from. Clearly I was going to compost!  But as soon as I crossed 14th St and headed south, onlookers must have assumed I was coming from the container store with a storage bin for spring cleaning… Little did they know.

Fortunately when I got home, I was all ready to make these little guys their new home. All I had to do was take some newspaper (which is regulated by the FDA to be printed with non-toxic soy ink) shred it, wet it and fill the bin most of the way full with it.  Then for the worms.  They had been patiently waiting in their carton, not making a sound.  

I picked up the carton and even though I knew exactly what they were going to look like once I poured the top layer of soil off of them, I still shrieked in with some primeval disgust. I don’t want to be grossed out by them but first instinct is that they are gross and slimy and wriggly!  But allowing my rational mind to take over, I coolly dumped the rest of them into the bin and let them get used to their new home.

Now, one of the things we had been warned about in our class was “worm crawl”. After being jostled all around in transport and being turned upside-down and all around during their journey to my house, the worms get confused and don’t know which way is up for a while and may try to crawl out of the bin.  

Because of this, you need to remind them by keeping the light on for the first night of settling in.  Of course I forgot all about this, and my neurotic tendency to run around the house turning off lights that night prevailed and I completely forgot about the “worm crawl” potential.

I was still not thinking about it the next morning when I went to go check on their progress.  I took off the Tupperware top, and again, shrieked in spite of myself as I noticed there were several who had cleverly wormed their way into some tiny little nooks around the rim and then I noticed another wily one or two had managed their way onto our floor.  

Well, I scooped these guys up (with a butter knife since I still can not bring myself to touch them) and put them right back where they belonged.  Clearly they have not yet realized that hey have won the red wiggler JACKPOT. They get to be fed ridiculous amounts of delicious rot for the rest of their days with not a single threat of birds swooping down to snag them as a tasty treat. 

So with that, I dumped a big chuck of frozen apple cores, orange peels and carrot pulp into the bin, making sure to cover it with at least four inches of newspaper to keep other pests away from it, resealed the top and let them get to it!