The Worms and I ( this was first posted 5/08)

Vermiculture is composting your food scraps (non meat) thru the action of worms. In other words, having worms eat your garbage. I have been composting garden wastes for years and had always wanted to have a worm bin to feel like my composting efforts where complete. In September 2002 after purchasing the “Can O’ Worms” plastic worm bin, we received our first (and actually only) batch of worms. I think about this topic today because I just completed the job of cleaning out the Can O’ Worms.
The task of Can cleaning is not one that I look forward to. It is recommended that you clean the Can every year, but I let it go for two years this time. After the worms consume the garbage, their poop (castings) is left. It is very high in nitrogen, making it a excellent, concentrated and organic fertilizer. One can imagine that separating the worms from their poop is neither stimulating nor particularly difficult. It is tedious. I completed the task in 5 hours (1 break and lunch included).
As I was separating the little lives from their excrement, it occurred to me that this task had many Zen like qualities. Appreciating the work of these creatures and their prior/future generations, being mindful to return them back to the Can and not into the the casting bin, thinking about how many little lives and generations of lives have been in this Can over the last six (!) years with little attention from me, I find rather humbling. I keep and use their castings and give it for gifts to other gardeners ( imagine getting a bag of poop for Christmas or your birthday!). Cleaning the Can today provided me with an opportunity I never appreciated before. Life goes on. It’s supposed to.

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