Last year, during the September Green Bean Challenge to cut down on food waste, I promised myself that I would eventually own a wormery. That day has come!
Two weeks ago my wormery arrived from Original Organics! They don’t come cheap, so after destuffing the house and selling a few things on eBay I decided to invest the money I’d made in destuffing my kitchen bin, and I bought a three-tier tiger wormery.
The wormery comes with three hundred worms and instructions on how to set it up.
I think the instructions may have been missing a point or two, but after a phone call to the very friendly and very helpful customer service line, I got there in the end and the wormery was installed.
Then began the task of gathering up the worms every time they tried to escape and they did try! Whilst on the phone to Original Organics, I was advised that the worms would try to do this, so I wasn’t too concerned. I placed a piece of cardboard over the top, as suggested, which is supposed to help prevent too many escaping. However, I was not prepared for the mass exodus that occurred.
Some just hung around, waiting for their opportunity to make a leap for it, but many of them gathered in the sump tray.
A dangerous occupation for a worm and I suspect they were suicidal, because they all headed to the pool of water gathering near the tap. The pictures you see are of worms after about a week as I was concentrating on scooping them up and not too concerned with photographing the little blighters. I didn’t get a picture of the carnage that met me one morning when a ball of worms went for a swim but here’s one worm trying it out. You can see others at the edges of the photo trying to join him.
Worms can survive for a short time under water and I did remove them as quickly as possible and put them back in the tray, but short of standing guard twenty-four/seven, there was little else I could do.
I checked every morning and I ensured I fed them a small amount at a time and sprayed the cardboard with water to stop the wormery drying out in the summer sun, but they just kept escaping. It went on for over a week. I’m not sure how many worms I now have left and when we went on holiday, I took a risk and just emptied the kitchen caddy into the wormery. I didn’t want to leave waste on the side, or throw it away and I was concerned the worms wouldn’t have enough in the wormery to keep it damp in the hot weather.
Everything from teabags and cardboard rolls to carrot peelings and leftover baby purees, it went in. It’s amazing the amount of waste that would have ended up in the bin. I left the tap open on the sump tray to try and avoid water building up in the bottom to drown any escapee worms and fingers, eyes and toes crossed, I went away for the weekend.
On returning, I checked the sump tray. No worms! I opened the top and was greeted by a cloud of fruit flies who had possibly gained entrance through the open sump tap; nature finds a way. I only hope that under there somewhere the worms are doing their bit and turning our kitchen waste into compost. If not I have done a very good job of breeding fruit flies.
I have had a dig around but it’s difficult to tell how many worms are left. If I had three hundred to start with, I’m pretty sure I didn’t lose that many, although how many worms are there in a handful? There’s a question to ponder. I hope there’s enough left to get on with some vermicomposting. I’ll be sure to report back. There’s one thing I’m sure of – it’s not as easy as it looks!
If you have any vermiscomposting tips, do let me know in the comments below!