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7 Things That “Prove” You Have Worm Fever

 

The Crazy Worm Lady and Family

Okay a little light-hearted post today… I was having a conversation with my family tonight over dinner (sorry Mom!) about my worms.  My Dad admitted that he totally doesn’t “get it”, but in his defense, he saves newspapers, corn cobs and various other scraps for me.  I had made dinner tonight for my mom as it is her birthday and I said, “you’ll never guess the secret ingredient”… I was met with “NO NO DON’T TELL ME” and my father chimed in, “worms, worms are the secret”.  That’s how I know I have it bad.  I have invaded my families thoughts with worms and they don’t even vermicompost.

For the record, the secret ingredient was Dr. Pepper.  No worms were harmed in the writing of this post.  As I get more and more engrossed in my worm adventures, I am more aware of some of the oddities that have invaded my everyday.  I no longer chat about the weather or recent political events (although they are abundant these days).  I find a way to weave my worms into almost ANY conversation I have.  I enjoy the hobby, maybe a little too much, but is there really such a thing?

I thought I would share with you the top 7 reasons that prove you have worm fever BIG TIME.

1. You Are Always Thinking Bigger and Planning the Next Worm or Bin

Now, just for some cocktails and worms…

Okay, so I remember vividly about a month after I started my Worm Factory… I was already hooked and I couldn’t wait for the bin to take off.  I had a stockpile of food that could feed a family of four through an apocalypse.  I was so eager for my little babies to increase in numbers and start eating more.  I couldn’t bear it.  I was already dreaming big, of running a huge worm empire and raising thousands and thousands of worms in a warehouse for distribution.  I was dreaming of quitting my job to drink cocktails and play with worms all day.  You think I am playing, you are sorely mistaken.  I had it THAT bad, I still do.

I decided to start a Rubbermaid tote and found some local worms to get started with.  Another two thousand worms added to my thousand (and growing) population.  I was insatiable.  It was only about six months in that I decided to order some European Night Crawlers in addition to my red wiggler/blue worm mix.  The rest is history…

2. You Dream About Your Worms– No Really

Okay, so in the early days I didn’t dream about the worms so much, but the potential bugs.  I was a little bit squeamish and completely paranoid, but regardless I was dreaming about my worms from day one.  A few weeks into my worming adventures, I made the huge mistake of adding frozen food to my bin (without thawing first) and we ran out shortly after this for some errands.  It hit me like a freight train about 30 minutes after we left that perhaps I was stressing my worms out.

In a sheer panic I begged my boyfriend to turn around and take me home.  He was humoring me only mildly at this point and insisted we finish what we needed to do first.  I needed a paper bag to get through that trip as I was hyperventilating just thinking of the carnage I may discover when I got home.  I could feel the mass exodus in my veins.  When we pulled into the driveway I hopped out of the car and quite possibly ran faster than I ever have in my life to the door.  I fumbled with the stupid lock and opened the door and ran to my Worm Factory.  I lifted the lid and sure as shit (pun not intended) my worms were all gathered around the rim of the feeding tray about to make their great escape.

Since that awful night, I have frequently dreamed about my worms in various different scenarios… not limited to them climbing through my bed, dying off, and attracting roaches into my house.  It’s traumatic at times but super fun other times.  The thing I have learned is that the more my waking brain thinks of worms my sleeping brain thinks about them about a hundred times over.  How far into the lunacy are you?

3. You Play With Your Worms More Than You Focus on House Chores

My African Night Crawlers

Hear me out before you start judging away… I work weekends (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and I have off Monday-Thursday.  That’s a decent amount of time at home.  Plenty of time to take care of household chores, right?  WRONG.  If you have worm fever, choosing between worms and dishes is a no-brainer.  Worms or grocery shopping, no competition.  Thursdays are my normal “filming days” for my YouTube channel.  Guess what?  A good six hours are spent doing my weekly updates.  As amateur as my channel is, I spend so much time messing around with the worms, turning the bins, preparing the food, responding to messages and brainstorming new ideas.  I easily waste a full day a week devoting my time and attention to the worms, blogs and forums.  It’s a passion and I find satisfaction in being able to provide education, fun and valuable resources to new worm farmers.  My boyfriend can attest to the fact that worms always trump anything else that needs to be done!

We have had more than one disagreement regarding the amount of time I spend with the worms in comparison to “us” time.  Oops! I love the worms and unfortunately they can’t curl up with me at night so I have to give them my waking time.  In all honesty though, Thursday’s might as well be called Thrilling, Therapeutic Worm Day!  I have been known to spend sun up to sun down on my worms on Thursdays and as funny as it may seem, I love every minute of it.  I have been known to meal prep for my weekend of work at 3am because I just couldn’t step away from my worm bins.

4. You Start Searching Out Like-Minded People Who Won’t be Grossed Out by “Worm Conversation”

So this might not be true for everyone, but in my case, I never stop searching for new forums, Facebook groups, local events and people that I may be able to talk about my worms with.  If you are reading this, my guess is that you too enjoy the “worm community”.  Finding the Facebook and YouTube worm “world” was a game-changer for me.  I have met so many amazing people that totally “get me”, they are just as excited as I am to talk about worms 24/7.  I have made friends near and far.  I have had lunch with local worm nerds (I say that with love), given worms away to local friends and even mailed worms across the country to help people get started in their worm journey. The beauty of social media is that you can get hooked up with people around the world, perhaps never meet in person but still have lots of engaging conversations with.  How cool is that?

I have made some amazing friends.  I got hooked up with my mentor in all things “worm biz”, Larry The Blue Worm Bin from Canada, a fellow female worm nut in Utah, Tori Anarchy Worm Bin YouTube, Lilia from California Lilia Kogan YouTube and one of the founding members of our Facebook group Experimental Worm Fun, Wayne.  The list goes on and on.  My YouTube channel really picked up after being shouted out on a YouTube channel London Worms & Garden and another channel out of Pennsylvania My Hillside Garden.  It has just grown from there.  I have collaborated with the developers of the Urban Worm Bag (Steve Churchill who has also shouted me out, thanks Steve!) Shop Urban Worm Bags Here and the VermiBag (Tom Perkins) View Products Here.  I have teamed up with a commercial worm farm courtesy of Tom in Texas and I continue to meet new people everyday.  I chat with fellow worm nerds, experiment with all things controversial with worms and do my best to add value to the community.

5. Enjoying Worm Videos and Worm Books More Than Netflix

When I started worm composting, I utilized YouTube as my primary educational resource.  I quickly discovered that there were very few worm channels that were active and still putting out fresh content.  I will admit right now, I watched hundreds of hours of worm videos.  I continually searched and watched just about every resource I could find.  Channels like London Worms and Gardens, World CompostingMumbai Balcony Gardener and Down to the Roots were some of my early favorites.

I quickly ran out of material and was frustrated that I couldn’t find answers to all of my questions in the videos available.  That led me to creating my own worm YouTube The Crazy Worm Lady in October of 2017.  Do I have all of the answers?  Absolutely not.  What I think I have to offer is an honest and experimental way of running my worm bins that allows my watchers to learn with me.  Many of my viewers have years and years more experience than I do, but that makes it even more fun.  I can learn from them and they may just learn a thing or two from me.  I attribute my success (in not killing my worms) to all of the wonderful videos I watched in those early days.  I hope my channel can do the same for others.

I continue to watch worm videos daily.  I go through what I like to call “worm porn withdrawal” if I can’t find a new video to watch each day.  That’s how I know I have it bad.  I beg my fellow worm friends to get their videos up STAT (nurse lingo for you).  It seems extreme, but gosh there is nothing more satisfying than watching a video with  “worm balls”, cocoons and gorgeous castings.  Forget reading the newspaper or watching Netflix, give me some worm videos, good books, like Worm Farming Revolution and I am set for life!

6. You Eat According to What Your Worms Like, Not What You Like

I swear to you, this isn’t even a slight exaggeration.  When I discovered how much my worms loved watermelon I started buying it weekly at the grocery store and even growing it in my own garden… more for them than me.  Don’t get me wrong, I love some watermelon, but my diet doesn’t typically allow for lots of fruit.  I resorted to cutting up watermelon and taking it to work to share so that I would have tons of rinds to give to my babies.  Similarly, I find myself eating a lot more green leafy veggies and making my own soup stock… simply because I know my worms will love the remnants.  My health probably benefits as well… we can all use more produce in our diets, right?

I heard that worms love pumpkin and last year, my boyfriend threw out our Jack-o-Lanterns before I snatched them up.  I was legitimately depressed that I missed out on that opportunity.  No worries– we have a local ALDI grocery store (if you have one locally and have never been, do yourself a favor and check it out, prices are insanely low) and I found canned pumpkin for $0.66.  I snatched up 10+ cans.  I mean, the worms deserve dessert too, right?  Forget saving my own waste, I want my worms to be spoiled!  I accept judgment!  I have absolutely bought foods just for my worms (sort of defeats the purpose, but hey I can’t help myself). Do you do anything similar?

7. You Have a Stockpile of Food for the Worms and Your Freezer Has More Worm Food Than People Food

This is funny because starting day one, I had this obsession with not throwing out food waste.  Previously to starting, I honestly didn’t compost much at all.  After reading, watching videos and talking to other vermicomposters, all of a sudden I couldn’t handle the thought of putting another ounce of food in my garbage can.  Before my worms arrived, I had already stockpiled roughly 8 freezer bags of food.  My worms eat much more these days, but I still never pass up the opportunity to collect scraps from friends, grab produce waste out of the trash at work or collect coffee from Starbucks when I go through the drive-thru near my house.

My freezer goes through phases depending on how much I feed my worms, but I always have at least 5 bags on reserve.  I know I have it bad because I have been stalking the Facebook Marketplace for used deep freezers so that I can have even more space to keep all of my scraps.  Forget using it to store our fish, deer, pheasant meat (hunting family) or bulk buys from Costco… worms win out every time.

Peas I grew in my indoor garden last year.

Silly little post for today however everything I mentioned is 100% true in my personal experience.  Of course we all know I am a special breed of worm nut, but I don’t even care!  Way too much fun, relaxing and absolutely the most environmentally friendly thing I have ever done in my life.  Did I miss any of the worm fever traits?  My guest bedroom is no longer usable due to worms…

I could go on and on.

 

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My Worm Composting Story To Date: The Somewhat Abbreviated Version

It All Began With a Simple Search Using Google and YouTube

When I started vermicomposting (composting using worms) I was uneducated on the topic and honestly completely clueless as to what I was doing.  I was researching indoor/outdoor gardening how-to’s when I came across some YouTube videos on worm composting as a supplement to organic gardening methods.  I was enthralled but left with lots of questions.  How had I never heard of this?  This sounds kind of gross.  What weirdos bring pounds and pounds of worms into their house?  How could this benefit me?  I ended up watching these videos for hours (I don’t even want to admit how many) and I figured if I wanted the healthiest plants, composting seemed like a good way to go.  Why start a garden and use chemical fertilizers to make the plants grow?  That can’t be healthy and quite honestly my health wasn’t the greatest.  I wanted to go organic, no excuses.

I purchased a commercial system, the Worm Factory 360 and 1,000 red wiggler composting worms the very same day.  Next thing you know, I had worms in a bin with some peat moss and watermelon.  I was squeamish to touch them but oddly enthralled.  I was poking in multiple times a day and I was so amazed at how these guys could smash through food quicker than a football player at a buffet.  I soon came to realize that I had way more scraps than my worms could handle.  It was summer, I was eating a diet very high in fruits and vegetables and I had a backlog of food piling up in my freezer that I just couldn’t justify throwing away anymore.

I went back down the rabbit-hole of YouTube and researched making a DIY worm bin using a Rubbermaid tote.  I swear it seemed like overnight, my small Worm Factory turned into an arsenal of systems.  Saying I was hooked would be an understatement.  I was diligent in my research although I was still convinced I was going to kill these worms and it would have all been for nothing.  I lacked confidence despite how well things were going.  That fateful day of quitting never came…

How My Goals Shifted to Even Bigger Things

October of 2017 I decided to start a YouTube channel of my own.  I was so obsessed with watching and learning from these “experienced pros” and I was running out of content. So I decided to make my own.  I had a huge learning curve, not only with YouTubing, but with my hobby that was just beginning to truly take off.  I ran into many roadblocks, made lots of mistakes, discovered that more than just worms live in compost and my eyes were opening to just how much I still had to learn.

To this day (over 2 years later) I still feel amateur.  I still feel like I am clueless at times.  I experiment on anything and everything I can think of.  Worms are cool and I like to share just how amazing these little workers can be.  To date I have only bought worms on 4 occasions.  When I started, when I expanded to European Night Crawlers, when I decided to add African Night Crawlers to the mix and when I realized my “red wiggler” purchase had actually been blue worms and I just had to get the “real deal” reds.  I think my total investment to date is roughly $400 but in retrospect, it could have been 100% free and a lot of that cost was for larger commercial systems that are totally unnecessary if they aren’t within your budget.  I don’t feel bad about that investment at all however because it was the most amazing investment I ever made.  That being said, I have also been able to help four local gardeners start their own worm bins by giving away worms when I can, so being able to reduce the startup cost for others is pretty cool payback as well.

The Amazing Community of Worm Nerds and Growing the Interest to Others

Even on vacation, I am always reading and researching new and cool worm stuff.

Since starting my YouTube Channel I have found a community unlike any other.  The people who do this “weird” hobby are some of the kindest, most generous and helpful people around.  I have never felt like any question I had is dumb.  I have always gotten amazing feedback from others, I have connected with people who make commercial systems, sell worms, write blogs and/or just do this for fun.  I have been humbled by the support I am getting and the kind words coming from even the biggest gurus in the worm world.  I am often told that my opinion gives a fresh face to a hobby that is somewhat obscure and misunderstood.  How cool is that?  Those comments, those people who thank me for helping them make it all the more rewarding.

All the fluffy fun aside, I can honestly say that many people don’t get it (I am working on them though).  I oftentimes hesitate to discuss my hobby for fear of judgment.  I am happy to report that no one to date has actually been critical in any way whatsoever.  When I get the courage to bring up my hobby in casual conversation I am always shocked at how receptive people are.  People are supportive and curious and that is more than I could ever hope for.

I was at an acupuncture appointment the other night and my acupuncturist is well abreast of my worm hobby but she has taken an apprentice under her wings.  My acupuncturist casually asked “how are the worms” and thus a long conversation ensued as her apprentice had never heard of vermicomposting.  I can proudly admit that I had diarrhea of the mouth.  I was spewing my excitement and knowledge about worms and super happy to answer all of her questions.  I felt a little silly because it sounded like I was talking about my pets (well they sort of are…) but the biggest reward for me was when we were leaving the office (I was the last appointment of the day) her apprentice said she totally wants to research worm composting further.  She was amazed when I said that I have fed as much as 16 pounds of food waste in a single week.

My biggest eaters: the African Night Crawlers.

I had a “worm nerd” moment, no shame.  This is the reason I keep doing what I do.  Even people who have not jumped on the bandwagon for whatever reason often contribute their waste to me or learn something from our interactions.  I have coworkers, family, friends and the local Starbucks to thank for that.  Even if I can’t sell the idea of worm bins to everyone I meet, for each person that I impact I have a strong sense of accomplishment.  My garden thanks me (although I still fail more than succeed with gardening) by giving me healthy plants.  I have pride in reducing my carbon footprint and turning “trash into treasure” and I have built some amazing friendships with people across the world (quite literally) that I would have never met if it hadn’t been for worms.

Start a worm bin and see how much your life changes, perspectives change and your appreciation for our planet flourishes.