September 14, 2004 | David F. Coppedge

Take Out the Garbage?  No– Feed the Worms

Every kitchen needs one, says National Geographic News: a popular new device that turns garbage into fertilizer.  What is it?  A new high-tech electronic machine?  No, something more ancient: a worm bin.  Modern homes are finding old benefits in vermiculture, the art of composting garbage into plant food via worms and bacteria.  A small bin with red worms can process five pounds of garbage a week.  “Here were have some of the planet’s most lowly creatures taking some of our most repulsive waste and turning it into fertilizer,” said Mary Appelhoff, author of Worms Eat My Garbage.  “I realized that the more worms I raised or encouraged others to raise, the world would be a better place.”

This would make a fun home project or science project for the kids.  The young are not so easily grossed out, and they would learn an important lesson as they fertilize the garden with the processed watermelon rinds they tossed into the bin, that everything in creation has a purpose in nature’s ongoing recycling program.  Another lesson is that we can all contribute to that recycling program in partnership with our other creatures, no matter how humble.  (We all will someday, anyway, but that’s another story.)

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