Sunday, July 3, 2011

Squirmy wormies wiggling: making a worm bin with Kieran

Kieran with his worms
Until recently we were avid composters, but then the rodent invaded our compost bin once again. (This happened years ago, and Mike reinforced the bottom with wire mesh.) When he went out to the compost bin and a rat jumped out at him, that did it. It's a good thing that didn't happen to me, or I would have had a nervous breakdown. I have a horrible rat phobia. Last summer I saw one come up on our deck, and I completely freaked out. Unfortunately, Portland does have rats...and our wooded backyard does not exactly help to deter them. But enough about rats.

In recent months, I've felt horribly guilty discarding our vegetable and fruit scraps after years of composting. And I'm a Portlander--good Portlanders compost and recycle!! So I was excited to see that Tryon Creek State Park was offering another worm bin class. (The last time I tried to sign up, the class was full. They are offered only every 3 months or so, so I registered as soon as I could--several weeks ago.)

I nearly forgot about the class until a reminder popped up on my iPhone 15 minutes beforehand! (It's a good thing I was looking on my iPhone at the time or I would have missed it entirely.) Kieran and I had a great time learning about worm bins and building our own worm bin--the process is way easier than I thought it would be.

The class was small--just four kids and their parents--which was nice.

Kieran with a power drill! (We drilled holes in a plastic bin to create the worm bin)
The instructor, Matthew, brought his own year-old worm bin. After helping each child create his or her own bin by creating a bed of moist, shredded newspaper and soil, he had each one choose about 25 worms. Then he added some of his rich castings and we added a top layer of moist straw.
Looking through the castings for worms

Matthew's seasoned worm bin
We had a great time and have already started a collection of food scraps from this evening's dinner...we'll begin feeding the worms tomorrow. I realized that we take Tryon Creek State Park for granted--we do go there occasionally, but it's one of my favorite spots in the city and once a year is NOT often enough. Since I was a child, I've always loved that little spot of forest in the city. Kieran and I determined we would return again soon!

With my sister and parents at Tryon Creek when I was in junior high
So I didn't get much cleaning done today (we are preparing for Mike's mother and our nephew to visit in less than a week), but I got to spend high-quality time with my little scientist!

Afterward we went grocery shopping and had sausages, salad, and amazing barbecued corn on the cob for dinner outside. We also planted a few more vegetables we bought at New Seasons with our new gardening gloves. Summer is finally here!


  1. looks fun! doesn't the city of portland provide compost bins for pickup? here in seattle we mix all sorts of things in our bins, from yard waste to old greasy pizza cartons to veggies to meat. Last summer I made the mistake of putting meat out a few days before the pickup when it was hot out. I flung open the heavy lid and little white maggots flew out and were crawling all over inside - YECH! Now I put fish and meat refuse in the freezer until the morning of weekly pickup!

  2. The city is experimenting with that process, yes--but it hasn't reached our part of town yet.

    I remember once when I was living off campus during college, and the garbage bag broke--there were some chicken bones in the bag and they were covered in maggots. YUCK! It was disgusting and I've never forgotten that image!!