Worm Learning

Original bin

In June of 2019, I became the confident caregiver of a worm composting system. As I wrote in my blog, More new pets, I had learned all I needed to know to care for my new charges in a hour.

What could go wrong?

By the end of July, I noticed water collecting on the underside of the lid, a sign that moisture was building up inside the bin. I also noticed the remnants of a couple of worms who had wriggled out and perished in the arid environment of my balcony. A quick internet search told me that worms will try to escape if the environment is too moist.

Logic told the tale. The underside of the bin had only six small holes for drainage. The upper sides had only eight for ventilation. With the bin inhabited by worms, bedding, food, and worm castings, I couldn’t see how to drill more holes without mucking up my drill or contaminating the contents with bits of plastic.

When my son asked whether I had any wishes for Christmas, I jumped at the chance to suggest a slick worm composter I’d seen online. With the weather getting colder, I had brought the bin into my living space. The blue colour clashed with everything. An earthy aroma wafted about. A commercial version with an emphasis on design – and with lots of drainage – would be just the ticket for my struggling worm family.

What could go wrong?

The day I set aside to set up the new worm composter, I admired the charcoal colour that would blend with my balcony décor for three seasons and my living room in the winter. I attached the tap at the bottom that would drain away excess moisture. I looked for ventilation holes in the upper tiers and found none.

Upon checking reviews of the product online, I discovered that a buildup of excess moisture is a typical issue with this model. One woman posted a picture of hers wrapped in screening to prevent worms from escaping. It looked dreadful.

Before populating the new system, I decided to drill ventilation holes in the upper tiers and cover the holes with screening on the inside.

Ventilation holes
New composter

I haven’t spotted any fugitive worms in my living room. But I don’t want to speak too soon.

I am learning something from my worms.

Humility.

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