all my animals in the dark

I have told you about my new gardening project started mid winter: my little earthworm farm in the cellar. In the beginning, I wasn’t sure if it would work at all.

First week, when I went down to check on the boxes and moisten the earth, spraying some water on it, I noticed, that some of the worms have tried to escape. Losing their life in the process. They somehow got through or away underneath the fly-screen covering the boxes to prevent them doing just that. Some made it almost to the staircase door, but most never got that far. The cellar screed being too dry for them, they just lay there, dead. Parched and shrivelled up. Forming a star-shaped pattern around the boxes, the bigger ones making it farthest away. I swept them up, very sorry for the awful end I caused them to have. But it were only maybe twenty worms, whereas I had put about 250 worms into the boxes in total. So maybe this was just a case, where the adventurous didn’t get the prize for once. I still had hope for the rest and kept on moistening the earth and feeding them with organic kitchen waste every fortnight.

The animals must have gathered, that trying to escape is not such a good idea. Because after the first week, no worm ever crawled out of their box any more. They can’t be entirely brainless. I don’t know how, but word seems to have spread, that outwith the boxes, life is too dangerous, so it is best to stay put, wait for food and proliferate.

As advised by the expertise found on the internet, I put the food in a neat row in the middle of each of the three boxes, so I can actually see, if the worms had eaten it up. Thus being able to guess, whether they are doing ok or not. As you can’t see them at all, keeping themselves underground.

At the beginning, they never finished up their portion from two weeks ago. But a while in, when I took the leftovers away, to renew their food line with fresh, stinky stuff, I noticed a lively crawl right underneath the food. Next time, they had cleared away most everything. By now, I find just the odd big bit of vegetable not rotten enough to be eaten by the worms, left over. Having to heap a little more food on the line for them, I decided last week to switch to a weekly feeding routine. I guess, the population must have doubled or tripled by now – as was the plan – by the amount of food they guzzle away.

So I dare say, that the experiment is working fine and they are a happy and thriving lot. I already fear, that they might not find enough food to survive, as soon as I put them out in my garden in a few weeks time. Maybe I’ll find a corner somewhere, to install a little compost heap for them to crawl to, if their food situation becomes dire. And maybe I’ll even continue farming some over summer. We’ll see.