© 2011 tracy worms1

Super Healthy Compost

I’ve lived with composting since childhood.  It’s hard for me to imagine a life of throwing away perfectly good compostables to be buried forever in and with plastics that will be around until the sun swallows the earth in its death throes.

Having said that, I’m supremely lazy with my compost.  I don’t break up the deposits into similarly sized pieces. I dump and dump forever, never turning it.  I plan on using the soil, but there’s always  something left to break down, and then exclaim at the amazing and unplanned tomatoes and bell peppers that grow OUT of it every year because there are so many tomato and bell pepper innards in the kitchen waste.

In some circles it could be termed more of a forgotten science project.

This spring however, in a fit of gusto, I decided to turn the pile. I know why I should do this more often—aeration, redistribution of microbes, ensuring proper moisture—but most of the time, I rationalize that a process as natural as this actually does better left alone.  Still, I want that dirt this year.  Planting season has begun, and I have three vegetable beds I want to feed with my own compost.

So I dug in.  And began unearthing hundreds of worms.  I mean, in a lifetime of composting, I have never seen the like.  Can it be Brewmaster’s discarded grains?  Can it be that I’ve “forgotten” about so many acorn squashes this winter?  It is seriously awe-inspiring.


Serious Amount of Earthworms

Worms, worms, worms!!


Not only that, but upon further research, I have discovered that these little wrigglers can be brought inside and dumped into the counter-top composting can…the one we always overfill within two days. It sounds like a marvelous plan. The rest of the family is not as excited about this prospect as I am. But I’m sure I can get them on board.

Frustrated with the small capacity composter, I began filling up paper grocery bags and throwing them in as well (Brewmaster never remembers to take the re-usable shopping bags, and at last I can stop nagging him about it).  The worms seem to like this.  In addition to this kind of paper, the pile gets the egg cartons (faithfully made of paper mulch by my long standing favorite egg farmers at The Country Hen), paper towels, and the seemingly endless supply of kleenex my allergies consume.  Seems the worms like all that too.

Compost Worms

It’s a crazy amazing efficient process. I’m in awe of nature on a daily basis. And it’s weirdly reassuring that all this digging and turning over won’t kill these guys if I accidentally sever them in two.

Worms and Cranberries

Worms amidst cranberries...dating this layer of the pile to around Christmas. Very scientific.

Some composting resources:

Sierra Club Video on Composting

EPA’s Composting Page

Compost Page on Wikipedia


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