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Living Lightly column

Can I suggest a worm farm…?

By Jenny Indian

A friend recently commented that she found autumn beautiful and yet a little depressing.  This stopped me in my tracks – as one prone to fret about heat and summer, autumn is simply the finest of times.  Not just the colour and light from those wonderful deciduous trees but the joy of all that decay and sense of quiet as nature begins to batten down for winter.

Back to the friend. I suggested a worm farm may help with the melancholy – perhaps not the most obvious of choices but it does seem to have distracted her inward-looking thoughts and now provides great interest and even delight.

I love my worm farm and, in turn, the veg garden loves its produce.  Handfuls of precious worm castings give an enormous kick to seedlings and an occasional sprinkling of them to the compost bins provides breeding stock and eggs for future generations of healthy compost makers.  Then of course there’s all that worm juice, easily collected, diluted and used as a fertiliser.

You can buy a kit but you can also make a very simple worm farm.  Check the internet for various recipes using polystyrene boxes but you can also use an old bath with great success.  I salvaged my old bath and it sits happily beneath the Medlar tree for shade, housing my worm stock.

Darwin became fascinated by worms in later life – the ‘unsung creature which, in its untold millions, transformed the land’.  And they are fascinating and so very quiet in the way they go about their life enhancing work.

Perhaps Ghandi can have the last word, commenting that “To forget how to dig the earth and tend the soil is to forget ourselves”.  Earth worms involve us in the world of soil and so remind us of our crucial role in caring for that.