Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Verne-Day

Nowhere to put a candle, but it’s about time to celebrate Verne’s birthday. Coming up on a year since I began this second venture into vermicomposting--and I have to wonder how I ever managed to kill that first set!

Yes, okay, I do remember having parboiled the critters, indoor wormery plus Texas heat proving a fatally bad combination. And the early iterations of Verne didn’t do all that well, either, before I gave up and moved them all outdoors where they belong. But the so-perfectly-named red wigglers are so very resilient out there that I’m finding it hard to remember just how vulnernable they can be.

Small bin and temperatures under 15 degrees F? They barely even slowed down. Temperatures above 100 didn’t seem to bother them much, either. A month or two with no additional food? Fewer baby wrigglies, but no other problem. Overstuffed container? Ooh, look: hatchlings. Neither drought nor flooding containers killed them off, and even the ones in the neglected winterized closed-container test are surviving, if doing less well than those allowed to wander. (Which may not be the right verb, as it tends to imply feet, but my thesaurus doesn’t have a vermi-setting. Sorry.) And wander (slither? Slide?) they do, into every planter with any form of bokashi barring the very freshest and most acidic.

And not only planters. I knew that, of course; Verne and his earthworm cousins flock (squiggle?) to bokashi juice dilutions and so on, too. But it hadn’t really occurred to me that they might be so attracted to the stuff that they’d go places they really shouldn’t.

What can I say? They don’t have feet, I forget how mobile they really are. But I sprayed some full-strength AEM in a trash bin a couple of weeks ago—to deodorize it—and, while I had the trigger bottle in hand, spritzed the outdoor ashtray, too. Which, appropriately enough near my place, is a terra cotta pot filled with clay kitty litter.

Just the one Verne-aggregate in there when I saw it, and I promptly removed it to a less inhospitable environment, but I couldn't help wondering--if worms adapt to their environment, would I Verne pick up a taste for nicotine?

Happy -ing,


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