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Pitching vermicomposting to a vermiphobic wife.  RSS feed

 
jeremiah bailey
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I'd like to sell the idea of a kitchen vermicomposter to my wife. However, I know forehand that she hates worms. I also know that a properly established and maintained bin is sanitary and smells good. But how would I convince her of that? I plan on doing all the work. She doesn't even have to add scraps. Any ideas on helping her over her fear. Has anyone else dealt with this before?
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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i suggest using an outdoor type..myself..i'm not unfond of worms..love the little critters..but would rather have them OUTSIDE myself..besides I don't have extra room in my kitchen ..how about just outside the door in the shade?
 
Dave Boehnlein
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Location: Orcas Island, WA
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Perhaps the book Worms Eat My Garbage by Mary Appelhof would convince her that it is a legit and clean process?

Dave
 
jeremiah bailey
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I might try an outdoor one over the summer and talk her into letting me put it in the kitchen for our cold winters. I am really interested in a replacement/supplement to my garbage disposer. I like the convenience of having it as near the source as possible. Scraps go in daily as generated. Occasionally it gets full and needs emptied.
I've heard many good things about Appelhof's book over the years, but haven't read it myself. If there is one thing my wife likes less than worms, its reading things I suggest for her. As much as I hear about the book I'm getting closer to caving in and reading it myself. I bet I learn something from it.
Thanks Brenda and Dave for the great suggestions.
 
                              
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Location: Inland Central Florida, USA
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Perhaps if you can't convince her of a kitchen worm bin, try getting one you can put in the basement, or garage, or if you have a seldom used closet or utility room you could put it where she doesn't go.
 
jeremiah bailey
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I just read another thread on vermiculture. Susan Monroe mentioned keeping the bin under the sink. I think I could clear out some room under there and she'd never know its down there. I'd, as a matter of course, have to put a hidden cam on it just to capture her reaction if she ever did find it.
TCLynx - I wish we had a basement. The garage gets too cold in winter. The other ideas would work, but its not the worms specifically being in the kitchen that would bother her. It would be having them in the house in general that would do it. I think if I can persuade her to have it in the house, the kitchen would be no problem for her. The undersink area is probably one of the places she goes least. She only opens one side for dish soap and trashbags. I could put it in the other side.
I think my next step is going to obtain and read the book to see if I can get some additional inspiration there on the matter. After that, I'll talk to her. Until then the scraps can go on the outside pile.
Thanks for all the help!

 
                              
Posts: 262
Location: Coast Range, Oregon--the New Magic Land
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It's summer time, just get it and set it up outside. Then she can gradually get used to it and hopefully by fall you can let them in the house. Or set them free. If they come back they are yours, if they don't they never were(sorry--I always thought that was a stupid saying  :evil
 
Susan Monroe
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Location: Western WA
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One little problem that I have run into with vermicomposting is that if you do something the worms don't like, they crawl out of the container in masses.  I think if that happened in your kitchen, you would gross her out beyond redemption.

Put it outside, maybe she will get used to it.

I don't know if this would work for your winters, but what about building a large (like 3x3x3' heavily insulated and bottomless box near the house.  The center may stay warm enough from composting contents to keep the worms alive, or they could go underground and come back in spring.  Think?

Sue
 
jeremiah bailey
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Hmm. Good point Sue. I've been wanting it in the kitchen for the convenience factor. A sort of worm powered garbage disposal, and conversation piece. What I'm ending up with, excuse the pun, is just a big ball of worms! I'm beginning to think that stirring my scraps into the soil will be more convenient in the long run. I won't have to worry about the wife being grossed out. I also won't have to provide artificial housing for worms. I'll just feed the ones in the ground, in the comfort of their own home. Over the winter, I can just bury them (scraps) in the ground on a regular basis. Is this still considered vermicomposting? Maybe not explicitly, but implicitly?
 
Leah Sattler
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I want a worm bin but haven't quite "got there" yet. I compost my scraps and it is very effective. before I had a pallet box I used. now just a section of welded wire with 1x2 holes that is tied in a circle. a metal gallon container sits my my sink and all non-meat scraps and coffee grounds go in there to be walked out the door to the compost when full.

worms are nice and expidite the process but not neccesary by any means. if you have phobic wife it might be easier to just compost in the traditional way.

my mother was snake phobic. I was a rotten child and into reptiles. I brought home pet snakes despite her fear. I had a 5 ish foot wild caught columbian boa that eventually escaped. couldn't find it. I guess you just can't sustain that level of fear for long periods. it reappeared.....very thin......many months later...........my memory fades but I think it was close to a year later. although my mother is still  frightened of snakes the constant exposure altered it from a phobia type fear to a "don't really like them" type fear. I guess you could try immersion therapy 
 
jeremiah bailey
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I plan on taking her fishing.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Location: Missoula, MT
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Hi Jeremiah,

I'm late in responding to this thread, but is your wife more icked-out by worms or rats? Or by waste water backing up and flooding the kitchen?

When we buried food waste in our compost pile, the rats found it and nested in there. Then, we were given a nice wooden worm bin and only put our food waste there and no more rats! It was a nice sized bin, probably 3' x 4' which was perfect for our family of four, cooking lots and lots of meals from scratch at home.

Now, years later, it's just me and my son half time in a condo and I just purchased a worm bin from azurestandard.com. It's a 10-gallon plastic storage tub (which Azure recycles for these - it's a second use for the tub which comes from some local business and they drill all the holes for you) that would fit under the sink, but I have it on my condo patio.

What I think is amazing are the red worms they sent. These ARE different than the everyday earth worm. They even look different - they are more red and are a bit slimmer than the pale pink, chubby earthworms in the ground. (Mary Appelhof explains this in Worms Eat My Garbage - a great read, btw!) These red wrigglers were shipped in a covered plastic container (with holes punched in it) within the storage tub surrounded a bunch of shredded paper (which I didn't use - I used sawdust instead) and several other decent things to make sure you've got the entire set up. I'd been saving up some kitchen scraps which I set inside the box with the worms and paper while I did a few other things before getting the box completely set up. These guys knew there was new food there, so by the time I returned, a bunch of them had wriggled out the holes and were crossing the dry paper to get at that food! They were trying to get to work!

Then, when I did dump out the quart-sized bucket of worms, I was impressed by how many, really vibrant worms there were and how they'd been provided with some kind of food scrap(s) in the center of their teeming masses and rich black castings. A number of years ago, I had purchased red wrigglers from wormwoman.com (formerly Mary Applehof's site, I think) and it was only a pint or so, which did well, but the ones from Azure seemed far lustier.

I dream of convincing more condo residents to vermicompost. We all have kitchen disposals, but it uses a ton of energy and water - let alone the waste stream issues down the pike. Our water is of course paid jointly through homeowners dues, so the more we can conserve the better. Plus, I was recently the victim of a clog in the mainline drain for my 12-unit building. I'm on the ground floor and the clog chose my kitchen sink to back up and overflow into. All this nasty water came pouring out over my sink, across my floor, under the cabinets on the other other size, soaking into my dining room carpet. It took the plumber using a 35-foot snake to clear the blockage. The plumber made a point of stressing that most people don't use nearly enough water when they run their disposals.

I don't know about you, or how your wife might feel about waste water flooding the kitchen, but worms seem awfully CLEAN, warm and fuzzy after that! 
 
jeremiah bailey
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I definitely can attest to the tastiness of red worms over earthworms. No I haven't ate them to find out, but the big bluegill definitely know the difference. I see red worms occasionally when digging around the yard. They're common for fish bait around here. Anywho, I'd like to thank everyone again for their input. I think I'm gonna build a small box that can fit under the sink and place it outside for the time being. Then I'll teach her about how it saves money and would be more convenient for us in the kitchen. I'm tore between that and burying scraps in the garden. The former is convenient, while the latter seems more natural.
 
rose macaskie
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Make a house for your worm bin like someone else said. You can do a pacific solar energy house with a roof withb a big over hang to stop the summer sun getting in and glass on a south facng front front to catch the winter sun and tanks of water in it to hold on to the heat, as larry hartweg zed master, advices. You can experiment with solar achitecture on the cheap because a worm bin  house would  be small.
 
Leah Sattler
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oh jocelyn yuck! how awful to have drains backing up. I hope it didn't ruin anything in your house. If ever there was a story convincing someone to compost instead of use a disposal that is one!

we don't have a disposal. non vegie food scraps are usually eaten by something and the rest just go in the regular compost but that is slow because of the different arrangment (not many other compost additions close by) so I want a worm bin even more!
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