Thursday, June 15, 2006

Worms, Anyone?

If you look up into the air at Chez Sven,you get a view of trees. Here are some especially beautiful leaves that grow on a tree next to Seagull Cottage. In October, they will fall to the ground and eventually become humus. That is, unless I interfere, scooping them up to create compost. A good compost heap has alternating layers of green and brown. I like to think of it as lasagna. Add a bit of this, and a bit of that. Let it all percolate and you get a marvelous soil-enhancer, natural to boot.

Last week one of our Seagull Cottage guests asked if she could put her garbage in the compost. I was embarrassed to have to say no. I went into a long-winded explanation of my reasons. The short version: worms have laid siege to my composter! What happened is this: I added a handful of red worms to the compost, thinking their presence would improve the quality. In fact, the worms took over. They had babies, and the babies had babies. Much to my frustration, there was never any compost left to sprinkle in the garden because all those worms had quite an appetite. They ate their way through my garbage, consuming the dried leaves as well. Every time I went to pick up composting materials at Hatch’s, it was to feed the worms. Soon I was transported trash cans full. We are talking really hungry worms, here!

Cape Cod’s sandy soil needs compost if you are to get anything to grow. This year I decided to take matters in hand. First I removed the black plastic composter, washed it, and repositioned it in a different part of the garden. Then I ordered a proper home for the worms, called a Can-O-Worms. Finally, I invited some of the biggest and juiciest to move. Oh, they didn’t come willingly. I had to drag them out, squiggly and ducking under the closest bit of decomposed matter. It occurs to me that there is not space for them all in the Can-O-Worms. Worms, anyone?