I did a bad thing today. Well, not really, in the grand scheme of things. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Actually, today I took the first step in realising a long-held gardening goal of mine: vermicomposting. That is, using composting worms (different from the usual earthworms) as an aid to composting. This is particularly attractive when, for example, there is a foot of ice and snow on the ground between the back door and the compost bin. Here in Mississauga we do have organic bin and yard waste recycling pickup, but I prefer to compost as much as I realistically can for myself. Pretty much the only kitchen stuff I put in the green bin are bones and meat and fat scraps.
Anyway, composting worms are different from normal earthworms because in the wild, they usually live in the very organically rich layer of leaf litter just above the soil. This means they are accustomed to a very loose, airy, but moist environment, one that is high in organic content and low in mineral content. In contrast, earthworms live in the soil, where the mineral to organic ratio is much higher. Earthworms consequently need more space to forage, they reproduce slower, and they are generally not happy in containers.
Conversely, composting worms are well suited to life in small spaces. They cannot, however, survive freezing temperatures, so they must be brought into warmth in cold weather.