Last Saturday, I brought home new pets. As readers of my blog know, I sponsored a traffic circle garden in place of a pet last summer. I don’t have to walk it, but I figured it would get me out into the fresh air and help me meet more of my neighbours. The strategy is working.
Buoyed by this success, I decided to attend a workshop in vermiculture conducted at a city-owned composting demonstration facility a brief walk from my home. For the $25 price of admission, I got a worm bin to keep in a balcony corner, a supply of carbon-rich material like straw, earth, and newspaper, some food scraps, about 500 red wriggler worms, and an hour-long lecture and demo. I’ll be able to feed the worms some of my kitchen scraps. About every four months, I can harvest compost to use as fertilizer for my house plants, balcony planters, and circle garden.
I feel like a new mother, only more confident, as I learned in the space of an hour everything I need to know to care for the lives I’ve taken into my hands. When the worms multiply, I can feed them more of my scraps. If I have a population explosion of worms, I can donate the surplus back for the facility to use with their school programs. If I encounter a bad smell or attract fruit flies, I know what to do. If the outside temperature goes below 5 degrees Celsius, I can cover the bin with a blanket to avoid bringing my livestock into my living room. Easy peasy.
En route home triumphantly with my worm bin, I met a neighbour who was trying to wrestle the front yard jungle that had come with her condo into a garden. We had a great time trying to identify some of the plants, and strategize what to remove or add. She was very interested in the worm bin and asked how to get on the waiting list for the next vermiculture workshop.
As we parted, I assured her I would watch the developments in her garden with interest. She said she’d be asking me how my worms are doing.
“That’s fine,” I said, “but please don’t ask too loudly when there are a lot of people around.”