My Composting Worms Had Babies!

My composting worms have birthed cent-uplets! Or maybe mille-uplets?? Well, to be honest I didn’t dig my hands right in and try to count them.  All those tiny white squigglers were too busy, munching their way to red-wiggler-adulthood amidst the vegan largess that’s reaching my composting bins on a daily basis this summer.

An exciting package

Five years ago, or maybe more (who can keep track of years these days?), the great-great – (and so on ad infinitum) – grandparents of my current worms arrived by mail order from Worm Composting Canada. They were packed in a sturdy plastic bag containing “easy worm mix”, a travel-proof mixture of worm food, worm habitat, and of course worms. Both mature “breeders” and countless youth, the website had assured me.

Spring Ritual

Each spring since then, my worms return to the great outdoor compost bins, to gorge on leaves, leftovers gone bad, carrot peels, watermelon rind, avocado peels, you name it. Pretty much anything that didn’t come directly from an animal is fair game for these small forces of nature. They have power in their numbers!, As they while away the dog days of summer eating and pooping, they do me the favour of reducing the vast majority of my food waste to high-nutrient fertilizer. As a bonus, they help reduce my personal methane footprint. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas which is released when organic material decays.

Surviving winter

Since my worms have become pets these days, I can’t bear to let them freeze during Sudbury’s bitter winters. I’d have to replace my babies! I’ve tried various strategies to ensure their ongoing happiness and service. One winter I created a big insulated box for them in my garage. They survived. Last winter, a selection of worms sat out the onset of the pandemic tucked away in a container in my side hall. I wonder what they thought about our changed world when they re-emerged from apparent hibernation in May.

Do worms think?

What? You think I’m getting carried away here? Anthropomorphizing? Do worms actually think? Well, who knows, but they are most definitely productive. I suspect that my red wigglers get more useful work done in a day than I manage most weeks.