Saturday, October 20, 2001

I logged onto the computer to look up a bridal registration list for a co-worker who's getting married next month. I thought, since I'm online already, I might as well post something. Hmmmm. What to say? Well, it's been a morning of chores and desultory reading through today's mail: the alumni magazine from my MA program and next month's Lutheran Woman Today magazine. I went to the Famer's Market, in the fog, and then to Trader Joe's. I volunteered to provide the coffee and goodies after church tomorrow so was getting food for that.

Then I tackled a very overdue task: cleaning out my worm bin. When I moved here two years ago, I knew I wouldn't have enough food and yard waste for a compost bin, so I decided to start a worm bin instead to compost my fruit and vegetable peelings. I had an adventure learning about worm composting and contacted a worm supplier through LA County's Smart Gardening site. I drove out to Biological Home Grown Farms near Riverside, Calif., and Tom Bennington helped me set up my worm bin. We punched small holes in the bottom of an 18-gallon Rubbermaid bin, put screen over the bottom (which allows the water to drain but keeps the worms in), cut a rectangular hole in the lid and duct-taped screen over it for air, shredded newspaper and mixed in peat moss for bedding for the worms, dampened the bedding, slipped the bin into another bind of the same size but with no holes (to keep the ants, etc., out) and added two pounds of earthworms. The worms have lived quite happily for two years. Their favorite food is cantaloupe peelings with lots of cantaloupe flesh still attached. But I'm afraid I neglected them during the recent hot weather. So I cleaned out the castings (which is excellent fertilizer) and gave them new bedding. I also fed them some cantaloupe chunks. I feel guilty because, even though earthworms are lowly creatures, they still are creatures and play a vital role in producing fertile top soil. I hope mine survive.

I found a fascinating book on earthworms at the public library, which I later ordered through Powell's Books. It's called Harnessing the Earthworm:A practical inquiry into soil-building, soil conditioning, and plant nutrition through the action of earthworms, with instructions for intensive progagation and use of Domesticated Earthworms in biological soil-building by Thomas J. Barrett. He's convinced that earthworms can help reclaim marginal soil to be used as productive farmland.

Whoops, I'd better get back to the task at hand.

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