Happy Earth Day, Wormies!

Earth Day is wonderful! Also, Happy 50th Post! Party all around!

But I wish I had done something for Earth Day.

So, inspired by Rosengeranium over at the Indoor Gardener, I redid my Ecological Footprint quiz to see how I've been faring on my goal to halve the number of Earths it would take to sustain humanity if everyone lived as I do.

I got a 2.90 this time--in two months, I decreased my ecological footprint by almost two Earths! My previous number was 4.73 Earths. Then, I still shopped primarily at the organic market and I didn't compost, but now I shop pretty much only at the farmers' market and I do compost with my cuddly friends. Also since then, I added a couple more planters, so the size of my garden has increased. I still put a lot of travel-related stuff in there, which keeps my carbon footprint higher, but since I now shop at stores like Greater Goods for as many household needs as possible, my consumer rating went down. But, to be honest, living in DC, it's hard to get the whole consumer category really down. Or, rather, it hasn't been my focus.

Speaking of focus, one of my goals for this month was to keep my little pals alive so I can continue to compost my organic "waste." It has not even been two weeks since I set up my worm bin, so why would I be worried about their fate so soon?

See? This looks nice and healthy, right? For a few days (like, since late last week), I hadn't been able to find any worms. This was when I noticed... Well, see this picture and tell me what you'd think if it was in your living room:

Hm, lots of fungi growing in a wet, dark, plastic container right next to your nice couch... I let it go. I did some research that said mold is normal, natural, desired for a worm composting bin. The mold starts breaking down the food so it's easier for the worms once they get to it. If there is too much mold, however, it might be a problem.

What's too much mold?

I don't know.

But after the first week, I decided to stop feeding the system, because I had put so much in and the worms had been trying to crawl out (further research suggested that this is normal worm behaviour in the first few weeks, because the worms aren't from a composting system and aren't used to the environment, but I thought it was because it was too wet/too much mold/something else). So, without extra food, maybe the mold will stay in check. The bedding is still pretty moist, so I think we're good on that score, although I think I'm allergic to the mold, which would explain the crazy sinus infection I think I have right now. I'm nigh delirious, but I will stay sick for another few days, 'cause I can't afford to slow down.

So, despite my worries about the mold, and the mites (yes, I think I have mites--I couldn't get a good picture, but they're said to be a good part of the system, too, so I'm leaving them alone for the moment), it appears that the worms are pretty happy! I found a lot of them today--maybe a dozen or so out of the five hundred I was told I bought, but they're surprisingly easy to miss among all the bedding. Ever wonder why Eisinia fetida are called "Red Wigglers"? They're natural-born dancers, they are!

Hope you enjoy the short selection of "Kylie" by Akcent, one of my favourite Romanian bands. It's a translation of their slightly dirtier "Dragoste de Inchiriat." I think in the English version, they're talking about Kylie Minogue. It makes sense--they have another song, "King of Disco," and at the end they spoof Madonna.

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4 Responses to Happy Earth Day, Wormies!

  1. I hereby hand you a virtual "Happy 50th post" present: a virtual T-shirt with the slogan: "Lumbricus rules".

    I would hate to live next door to you :-) as the worm/mold perfume will be creeping out under the door into the corridor.
    Actually, are you sure the Health department won't close your operation down?
    I hate to put a damper on your enthusiasm, but my answer is : 'no mold is good mold'. Indoors that is.

  2. LOL

    I've read that Lumbricus rubellus and Eisinia fetida are maybe the same species(?)/maybe confused for one another(?)/maybe do the same job anyway(?). But there isn't any perfume! The worm bin smells like... Well, like nothing. I don't smell any rotting food or whatnot--it smells slightly earthy, but I put some dirt in, so that explains that!

    Granted, no mold is good mold... But mold is EVERYWHERE anyway. In the air, on the toilet, on your skin, in your clothes. There's no escaping it. Now, if this was black mold in the wall or something in the bathroom, I'd be concerned, but it's likely just some sort of nonproblematic fun fungus.

    Yes. I will believe that. Hey, if the worms can live with it, I'm sure I'll survive.


  3. Right you say?
    Hmm, I'll reserve judgement on that, if I may.

    As for the snail advice: I have used orange peel before. It attracts woodlice.
    Actually there is no problem finding the snails: I find an average of 100 every time I go hunting, but the problem is keeping them off my precious plants until I find them.
    I have invited them for coffee now. See if that works.Rings of coffee grounds round some and stale coffee sprayed on others. We'll see.

  4. Have you looked into the Bokashi method of composting? Take a look



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