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The Worm Turns

I feared my worms had all died during a great winter cold spell. Temperatures in my basement dipped below 50 degrees which I had read was the absolute limit for red wiggler survival. One day I went down to see if I could at least harvest some worm castings for houseplants I was repotting – and I found a worm. More than one worm!

I don’t know how many there are, but although my photo doesn’t show it, the worms I saw do have a white band known as the clitellum. Worms join themselves at the clitella to exchange sperm, and soon a cocoon will form on each worm. Baby worms are in the making.

My worms and I will be at the Western Mass Master Gardeners Spring Symposium on Saturday, March 21 at Frontier Regional High School in South Deerfield. We’ll be joining keynote speaker, Julie Moir Messervy, landscape architect and author of Home Outside, as well as many other knowledgeable presenters. Hope to see you there.

3 comments to The Worm Turns

  • garden girl

    I’m so tempted to get some red wigglers for basement composting. Have you had problems with fungus gnats with your composter? That’s the one thing holding me back.

  • Commonweeder

    GG – Fungus gnats are a new one on me, but Worms Eat My Garbage by Mary Appelhof had the answer. The secret to all insect management is to bury the food scraps in the bedding. Flies need to lay their eggs right on the scraps so their larvae have a food source. I did have some trouble with fruit flies. In addition to trying to bury food carefully I laid a couple of thicknesses of damp newspaper over the surface of the bedding and that helped a lot.

  • Powell River Books

    I don’t raise worms but am thrilled when I find one when I work up the soil in my floating garden. They must have arrived in the original soil because I haven’t put any there on purpose. Maybe I should. – Margy

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