I spent a good bit of the weekend preparing to have worms. Two weekends ago, I finished my homework (reading Worms Eat my Garbage), and this past weekend was action time. Finding newspaper without colored ink proved to be the biggest challenge. I thought black ink would predominate in newspapers, because colored ink is more expensive, and newspapers are struggling financially, right? Think again! I hunted through a lot of newspaper to get 4-5 pounds of black and white pages. After wasting some time, and diminishing the life of my scissors, by cutting the paper into strips, I brilliantly discovered that newspaper easily tears into nice, uniform strips.
When I looked into buying worms, the prices surprised me, and not in a good way. The best price I found was $27/pound through an online supplier. I feared that ordering them in the dead of winter would result in a pound of worms that were, well, dead (and crunchy), so I pursued a closer to home option — getting a start from someone’s worm bin. I was skeptical that the coffee can or bucket of “stuff” they offered would contain a sufficient number of worms, but hey, the price was right (free), so I decided to give it a try.
By late Sunday afternoon, the worm home I lovingly prepared was ready to go, and I biked over to pick up my new friends . . . only to be greeted by a worm bin that improperly maintained. I wanted to yell, “You’re doing it all wrong!” because it was obvious that they hadn’t read The Book. Now, I was getting these worms from complete strangers that I met through a neighborhood listserv, so I politely accepted a small-ish container of the “contents” of their bin and mentioned that I read the book Worms Eat my Garbage, which I found quite helpful. I returned home with a smelly container — vermicomposting done correctly should be odor free, or nearly so — with perhaps five worms, or about 0.5% of the worms I wanted to start my project.
So, I return to the drawing board as far as acquiring my starter worms. Meanwhile, I hope that all of those soggy newspaper strips will dry so that I don’t have to start that process from scratch!