Sad Day for Worms (and me!)
Monday, July 04, 2011
I have been worm composting only since last September. I bought a few boxes from a bait shop (only about 1/8 of a pound) and have my ups and downs... I followed instructions on YouTube to set it up, then overfed them. Most died, but I saved enough to keep the colony going. Their numbers increased, then I was afflicted with fungus gnats (should have frozen the worm food before feeding it to them, apparently) which nearly killed my baby eggplant seedlings. I bought a bacteria to attack the fungus gnats, moved them outside under the deck and watched them thrive... I harvested my first set of compost and put it on my garden plants and watched them increase in vigor. The gnats were decreasing daily and the worms were eating up a storm. I was thrilled.
But I fogot to tell my husband, specifically, how to treat the worm bin. I mentioned that they were out there and that they were thriving but that was about it. So when he needed to get the lawn mower out and the worm bin was in the way it didn't really occur to him that the box with the holes shouldn't be left in the sunshine... why should it?
So - sad story continues - I went out to see if they needed to be fed and I found the box moved, presently in the shade but in a spot that had been in about 6 hours of direct sunlight, on a 97 degree day, and not a live worm to be found in there. It was sweltering to say the least. He feels awful, I feel like a fool for not pointing it out and all my hard work just went to waste. I shed a tear or two, then - for the kids - put a positive spin on it...
a.) the fungus gnats were a problem, and I wasn't at all sure I could get them under control before I brought them back in. I can't afford to start seeds with fungus gnats attacking. The fungus gnat problem is no longer a problem.
b.) we'll add the partially composted materials (and worm carcuses) to the regular compost pile and wash the bin out really well. Then we'll wait a few weeks...
c.) I'll increase the ventilation in the bin a bit (another reason the fungus gnats went crazy in my bin) and find someone who will sell me a pound of worms.
d.) I'll put a BIG sign on the bin... WORMS ENVIRONMENT - GIVE US SHADE
And we'll start over.
But I'm still (really) sad.