Warning! This article may give you the squiggly wigglies! Proceed with caution.
I buy worms every spring and keep them in a composting bin in my kitchen until it is warm enough to move outside.
Yep. You heard me right. Worms. Not exactly soft and cuddly pets, but they do more than their fair share for the environment.
I buy my worms from a reputable worm farm in Pennsylvania. I know their worms are "clean," meaning that I don't have to worry about disease or bacteria or any extra insects.
The worms arrive at my doorstep via the mail just a few days after ordering and I put them right to work!
Do you need some convincing that you should voluntarily bring worms into your kitchen? Here are five reasons you should consider vermiculture:
1. Turns scraps into soil
Toss all your kitchen scraps into your worm bin and your worms will turn it into the richest, most beautiful soil! You want to stay away from feeding them meat or dairy, however, or else your worm bin will stink. And who wants that? Yuck! But the worms will happily eat all of your vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee grounds, and egg shells. You can also use the liquid you find in your bin called “worm tea” to fertilize your houseplants.
2. They won't escape
Do your dogs bolt when the door opens? Does your hamster escape its cage on a regular basis? Your worms will stay put. I keep my worms in a giant lobster pot right on my kitchen counter with the lid off. The worms don't like the light, so they stay buried down deep in their dirt, happy as can be. Quiet, polite, and they recycle? Best pets ever in my book.
When I was a beginning worm farmer, I didn't realize this though. Instead, I bought a huge plastic bin, drilled air holes in the cover, and put my worm farm in the basement … in the dark. Oops. It turns out that the worms partied in the dark, feeling free enough to escape their bin and wiggle all over the floor. Now that was a mess. So keep your worms in the light, and they'll stay put for you.
3. It’s a cheap hobby
About 2,000 worms will cost you about $35. All they need is shredded newspaper and your kitchen scraps, plus they double their numbers every three months, so if you take care of them, you won't need to spend any more than that!
4. Even more uses!
We use the worms as treats for our chickens and they make it easy to find live bait for spring fishing. I mean, did I mention that they double their numbers every three months?
5. They're educational
The worms provide great science lessons for my kids too. We chart their growth, keep track of their favorite scraps, and make observations on the bin. The kids are also seeing firsthand how easy it can be to recycle with a little creativity.
Convinced yet? I'm telling you, these little guys will worm their way into your affections -- especially when you see how great your plants grow on the dirt they make for you. Happy worming!
Layni Loumiotis-Hook is the publisher of Macaroni Kid Cape Cod, Mass.