Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Creepy Crawly Composts

It’s all Hollow’s Eve…Scary stories are afoot.

In celebration of the creepy occasion, I point my gnarled scabby finger at the most squirm-some, the intrinsically dirty and unbearably wiggly. Yes. It’s time to take a closer look at…the worm. Eekkk!!

We actually owe a lot this poor maligned creature. Not only do worms aerate the soil, they are important soil contributors. Worm excrement may seem like something not worth thinking about, let alone reading about in a blog; however, worm poo is chalk full of nitrogen that fertilizes the soil. If we didn’t have worms squirming about in the soil, what would be the state of it? Next time you see a worm, thank it. And then bury it back in the soil because sunlight will kill it.

I was reminded of worm’s great importance while attending a screening at Planet in Focus. One of the short films was about worm composting, a.k.a. ‘vermicomposting’, in New York City. School kids got first hand experience with the little creatures, touching them, talking to them, creating worm composts and using the fertilizer generated from their squirmy friends to grow herbs.

Now, here’s where you fit in – you can compost, even if you live in an apartment.

Waste makes up about six percent of your carbon contribution, especially if you live in a community that does not recycle organics. Multiply you by billions. World-wide landfills annually release 50 million tonnes of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

Reduce the amount of waste you send to the landfill, even if your city collects your organics for compost. It’ll be less organics to transport and more fertilizer for your garden or potted plants. Your veggies and plants will flourish!

And so will the worms. The little gluttons eat half their weight daily. Not that Mr.-Ms. Worm is a heavy-weight; however, two pounds of worms will polish off a pound of your organic waste in 24 hours. They eat their bedding – newspaper – to get their daily dose of carbon, and your food waste for their nitrogen.

Worms at Home – The care is straightforward. You will need to get a vermicomposting box and red wiggler worms. Worms will not try to escape and create havoc in your home! If they do escape it’s because you let the box dry out or become too acidic. Escapees will drop dead right outside the box - a pretty good indication that something's amiss. For information on proper care, visit Cathy’s Crawly Composter’s website -

Worms in your Outside Compost – Introduce a squirm of worms in your compost during the spring or summer. They will lay eggs and hibernate over the winter. Worms may die off during the winter but eggs do not. Jane and I will introduce the critters to our outdoor box in the spring.

For more information….

Cathy’s Crawly Composters
Greater Toronto Area-based. Cathy is a great person to talk to when setting up your vermicompost. She will even do a worm interpretive dance for you if you ask politely.

BC Worm Suppliers

Green Venture
Some good info and references

All Things Organic
Based in California.

New York City Compost Project

Worms Direct UK

Compost Guide

Composting Council of Canada

US Composting Council

In the News

Us Congress: Act Now On Climate Change!
AVAAZ is at it again. They are encouraging not only Americans, but folks from around the world to pressure Congress to take climate change seriously. Sign the petition and write a note for a young activist to hand deliver to Capital Hill.

Greener Pastures - Birders, Hikers And Towns Pay Rancher To Safeguard Clean Water And Nesting Spaces
Some good news from Toronto’s Now Magazine.

Government paying only lip service to going green
For the love of god Canada!!!

Other News

BBC – The Greenroom

Ecoshock Radio

Green Bloggers

Grist Magazine


My Green Element

New York Times – Environment

Tree Hugger

Zerofootprint Blog

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