Worms wiggled their way into my life

I have a whole bunch of new friends living in my backyard. Not to worry. They are very quiet. I am the proud owner of my very own worm bin, and you’d be amazed how cute a couple of pounds of red wigglers can be.
I have always been a fan of earthworms, taking care not to step on them. Now they are happily eating my garbage and I have some very bright, very ecology-savvy second-graders to thank for it.
I’m married to a frustrated farmer, as some readers know. Our backyard, with a host of fruit and nut trees, also has a half-baked compost spot, which I was not fond of because, well, it looked like a pile of garbage in my yard. When I heard that the second-graders had made a worm bin for the school lunch leftovers, my interest was piqued. This seemed more efficient and perhaps more visually acceptable.
When I casually asked the second-grade teacher how difficult it was to put a bin together, she immediately invited me to let the class help me make one. How could I say no to that?
All I had to provide was an old picnic cooler. We had several just hanging around in the garage. One with a drain is best, to remove the moisture build-up, which is also called “Worm Tea” and is great fertilizer.
First I watched a hilarious yet instructional video the class had made. Then 20 pairs of little hands helped me tear up paper into small pieces for the worm bedding. We then added coffee grounds and eggshells, to provide the worms’ digestive grist, rather like birds use. I got very clear, blow-by-blow instructions and information from several future scientists.
Then they dug their hands into worm castings and mixed it up with fresh garbage without batting an eyelash. And most of them were girls. It was glorious.
Our backyard is about to become fruit-drop central as the avocados, plums, apples, berries, apricots and other more exotic fruit ripen. And now I have something besides the dogs to eat all the bird-whacked, moldy, squishy yet organic waste on the ground. I think my worms and I will be very happy together.
The fruit trees don’t know it yet, but they will be very happy, too, when I start spreading those nutritious worm castings around for the garden to dine on. Talk about a win-win.


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