Friday, February 12, 2010

New friends in the worm bin.

I started a worm bin in my apartment last summer, and it has been so much fun seeing my kitchen scraps get eaten up by my delightful wormy friends. Over the course of time, the invertebrate population has changed a lot in the bin. At one point, it was absolutely overrun with big fat yellow mites that would slowly cover all the rotting food like a layer of caviar. At another point there were bizillions of teensy, fast-moving brown mites that would crawl up my arm when I opened the bin. Sometime later all of the worms seemed to have disappeared, and were replaced by billowing clouds in fruit flies. Delightful.

Currently there is a a little bit of everything in there--many different kinds of mites, red worms, fruit flies, and, most recently, tiny SNAILS! I'm not sure where the snails came from--perhaps from a dead plant that I chucked in there, or maybe there were snail eggs on some of my produce or something. But it's wonderful seeing their little spiral shells glinting in the darkness when I dig around in the compost. Update: Marvelous snail-man Aydin at Snail's Tales tells me that my snail is probably a juvenile Zonitoides arboreus.

photo by Eric

On a sadder note, I recently killed a citrus tree. I didn't know what kind of tree it was. It was given to me by a good friend and flourished outside on my deck during the summer and fall, but then I tried to let it overwinter outside as well, right next to my hydrangea, which does fine. Poor citrus tree; it never dropped its leaves, and then it froze solid when the temperature dropped. The leaves all died and the bark split and peeled, so I threw all of its sad, dead leaves and little broken branches into the worm bin. That was about a month ago, and now many of the leaves have been turned into beautiful, intricate lace by my hungry little worm bin friends.


  1. Neat! It looks like a juvenile Zonitoides arboreus.

  2. Oh, I was hoping you might chime in and let me know who my snaily friend is! I've added an update above to clarify. Thanks, Aydin!