Saturday, November 3, 2012

Worm Tea and Falling in love with worms

Noah loves handling the worms, which has made me love it too. He's gentle enough not to harm them.
Given the success of our big trash conversion to a worm bin, I wrote to the City of Cape Town to ask about canceling trash pickup and they said this was not something you can opt out of. I'm going to work on this with them over the next few years, because I think the giant 240L bins promote carelessness about waste.

I've noticed that many urban dwellers who are really into sustainability still find it hard to make the transition to vermicomposting. If you don't have a garden, vermicomposting is the most effective way I've found to convert household organic waste into something useable and wonderful.

I am only now beginning to really imagine the benefits of this process, because I finally have a bin that is large enough for our needs. A key shift is in the fact that our regular trash is not organic at all, meaning that having the worm bin doesn't add an extra place where hygiene is an issue. It's the only place.

We have recycling, non-recyclable plastics, and stuff for the worm bin. So the "ick" factor is actually less than it was when we had meat scraps or hair or gunk from the drain in our trash for a week- Now it all goes into the worm bin, except the large number of orange peels that we dry then use as mulch.

I wasn't very into the worms- they were just a means to an end- until Noah started picking them out of the little trapdoor in the worm bin and having conversations with them:
Noah: Hi WORM!!!
Noah: OOOOH BIIIIIIIG Worm. Worm tickle me, tickle me! ahhaahahhahaahaha! Hi worm!
Jo: Hey some worms seem to be leaving the bin. They must be upset about something.
Noah: Oh NO!!! worms are sad! worm cry. (stroking worm) Worm, no cry no cry. (to me:) Worm no sad. Worm tired.

And this was the start of my anthropomorphizing little worms. I then read that they lived 10 years, then that lived 5, and either way it caused a shift in my perception of the worms and in how I took care of them. The worms in our worm bin right now could potentially live until Noah and Eli are 5 or even 10 years old! It gave me pause, and I'm spending a lot of time figuring out how to make the worm bin as effective as it can be for us and the worms.

I've recently started making worm tea using these instructions because I unexpectedly inherited an air pump from my brother. I'm ridiculously excited about it, and if you're in Cape Town and want some, I'm imagining some kind of home-made-consumables-barter system where I share it with as many people in Cape Town as I can. Based on knowledge acquired from obsessive reading in the last two days, worm tea is about the most awesome thing imaginable for gardeners. It is a golden elixir that lasts just days.

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