Becoming purveyors of worm poop was never one of the answers either my husband or I gave to the “What do you want to be when you grow up?” question. He became a union ironworker and I became a high school English teacher. Again, nothing about either of those career choices gave any indication of vermiculture (the fancy word for earthworm farming) in our future. Nevertheless, we love country living (so far out we will never have cable OR fast Internet), animals (dogs, cats, goats, chickens, and an occasional rescued squirrel or fawn), and gardening (everything from apples, beans, and cabbage to zucchini). Those interests eventually converged to produce a desire to develop a hobby into a business enterprise.
I must admit, however, when Scott first suggested raising worms in buckets to harvest the poop, I was less than thrilled. Had the conversation been observed by a third party, one might have even concluded that I was vehemently opposed to spending money on worms. Nevertheless, two decades of marriage were worth more than worms, so I eventually came around to his point of view. I even got my hands dirty. I mixed the compost. I fed the worms. I sifted the buckets of worm-filled dirt through decreasing sizes of screens. I happily mixed scant handfuls into the soil as I planted my garden the following spring. But the real shocker was to see the results. It was like a garden on steroids! I knew then that “we” made the right decision.
HANDFULS OF SUNSHINE
It is hard work, but something is also therapeutic about the rhythmic sifting of the worms, castings, and eggs. Even as the winter stretches on, the warm, feathery softness of the castings sifting through my fingers evokes memories of warm garden dirt in the summertime and biting into a juicy, vine-ripened tomato—just enough of an impetus to keep sifting!