Actually, things are not as alarming as the title of this post would suggest (although I may well get a thumping when said wife sees it). Rather, Darlene has imported an earthworm kit so she can make compost out of vegetable scraps from our kitchen and use it is as fertilizer for her greenhouse activities. It takes somewhere between 2 to 3 months to make a batch of compost, I gather, so there is no way we will be using any this year. Still, it is going to be an interesting project over the winter.
I am not sure, but I believe that my wife and I are now the first worm ranchers in the territory. When I was first told that we were going into the worm-ranching business, I had visions of vast herds of worms sweeping majestically across the tundra as I drove them towards fresh pastures astride my trusty Arctic Ptarmigan. Naturally, as with all things, the reality is a little more prosaic…
Here is a better look at our ‘ranch’, dubbed a ‘Worm Factory’ by the manufacturer. As the worms do their business and make compost, additional trays can be stacked on top for a total of 5. The bottom tray has a little tap attached which, presumably, is for draining off the worm pee, or something.
The process is started by making a bed composed of strips of newspaper, some broken pumice, potting soil and a bit of real soil. Thankfully, a little bag of this was thoughtfully provided with the kit as there is no soil in the tundra and we can’t just go out and dig up some for ourselves. After the worms are added (these were mailed to us separately from the factory) and have become acclimatized to their new environment, we start adding various vegetable material (peelings, used teabags etc.). We have a container in the fridge accumulating this already.
The worms are very lively now and quickly burrow into the dirt-bed when disturbed.
Some are very lively indeed and we have had a few escape, only to be found later as desiccated little carcasses on the floor. I even discovered one on our dining room table this morning and, since there is no way the worm could have got there itself, I can only think that one of our cats (Little Black Kitty, I suspect), carted it up there. Cats are *not* allowed on the table and depositing decomposing little ‘presents’ is a definite no-no.
Anyway, I am looking forward to seeing how things progress and I will update you in due course. Hopefully with a nice batch of home-made compost!