“It is something of an urban myth that a worm will be perfectly happy if you cut it in half. It may continue to wriggle for a while (so would you after you had been shot or stabbed) but it will die not long afterwards. Only if you nip off just a little of its tail end does it have the capacity to repair itself.”
The Curious Gardener’s Almanac by Niall Edworthy (2006)
Today’s Lore is brought to you from an intensely irritated husband here who despairs at the ongoing affectation of referring to “worm wees” and “worm poos”. We are not juveniles struggling with potty training though I guess we should perhaps be grateful that we have not yet descended so low as to talk about worm “number ones” and “number twos”. Worms do not urinate and defecate in the same way as humans. Perish the thought, we would not want to put our hands in the soil. What worms produce is correctly referred to as vermicasts or worm casts. They pass the soil and decaying vegetation through their gut and in so doing aerate the soil, create better drainage and make the nutrients more accessible to living plants. The resulting vermicasts are rich in accessible potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen. Can we cast out the baby talk now that we grown up gardeners? Please.
Sydney daughter lives in a local authority zone that, in return for attendance at a free half day course, supplies free of charge to inner city residents either a worm farm or a compost bin. The choice is dependent on what best suits the individual’s circumstances. It seems an innovative initiative to tackle the huge problem of urban household green waste. I have not heard of local authorities following suit in this country.
First published in the Waikato Times and reprinted here with their permission.