Posted in Nunavut

My Wife has Worms!!

Worm Ranch 1

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…

Worm Ranch 2

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.

Worm Ranch 3

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.

Worm Ranch 4

The worms are very lively now and quickly burrow into the dirt-bed when disturbed.

Worm Ranch 5

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!


I am a lawyer by profession and my practice is Criminal... I mean, I specialize in Criminal law. My work involves travelling on Court circuits to remote Arctic communities. In between my travels I write a Food blog at

11 thoughts on “My Wife has Worms!!

  1. What happens when your five floors are completely full? By the way, you wife certainly doesn’t look like an assassin but rather a very friendly person that I’m sure is well liked by friends and family. 🙂

  2. My husband keeps threatening to get some worms. But it’s already crazy enough that we have 2 scrap buckets going—one for chickens and another for the compost pile. We lack counter space for another!

    1. My wife would probably be happy with just a compost pile but we can’t do it outside and it is a bit smelly doing it inside without worms to speed up the process.

  3. I love your title, and had to laugh. I posted about my venture into vermiculture in early spring and I’m just about ready to make my first significant batch of worm tea. I was thinking of posting an update and playing with similar titles. And I was talking myself out of it! LOL! I have really been enjoying watching the soil really come alive. I have thousands of baby worms and the it has taken a good three to four months to get to where things are transforming. I have to work to keep mine cool enough, and I assume you’re watching temperatures in the other direction! It’s quite fun!

  4. Good luck with it – I (and many of my friends) tried worm composting back in the early 1990’s. I can’t begin to describe the worm carnage that occurred at the hands of all those well-meaning pacifist vegetarians. It’s not just the slaughter that is disturbing, it’s the manure-like smell as they decompose. But, this was 20 years ago, and your worm farm looks a lot more high-tech than the blue-bin style worm composters we wreaked havoc with back in the day. Please report back, I will be very curious to hear how the new-fangled version works.

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