I'm starting to gear up for spring these days with lots of garden renovation plans, seed starting, and more frequent blogging. And then I remembered I hadn't told you about my worms yet. Would you think I'm crazy if I told you I got myself a worm composter for Christmas?
I've already admitted to stealing bags of leaves in the early mornings, so now I'm admitting to housing worms in my basement. Seems entirely reasonable to me! I'm sure most gardeners would agree, although my mother-in-law, a fellow gardener, was pretty squeamish about it when I told her.
As the saying goes, "feed the soil and the soil will feed the plants." Good soil is the key to healthy and productive plants and a handful of worm castings can do wonders. Basically, it adds biology to the soil - it adds microbes which are what extract nutrients from organic materials (dead plant material) and incorporate them into the soil to be available to plants.
I plan to use my worm castings primarily to top dress my house plants and vegetable gardens. They could also be added to the perennial gardens and/or lawn - even just a scattering helps. Unfortunately, I won't have enough to go around so the edible gardens will be the highest priority.
A worm composter is a great science project for kids - my three-year-old especially likes to help feed them. We feed them a couple of cups of chopped up kitchen vegetable waste a couple times a week, and that's about all the work it takes until it's time to harvest the compost (can you "harvest" compost? you know what I mean!) And there's no smell or mess, honest! In fact, my bin smells quite sweet.
One tip a friend gave me is to freeze and then thaw the scraps (especially fruit) before adding them to your bin in order to kill off potential fruit flies. I do have another friend who's had fruit fly infestations in her worm bin so I consider that very good advice!