Tonawanda News

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May 19, 2013

Worm composting an organic, fast way to produce fertilizer

Tonawanda News — Some people might get a little squeamish when they hear what Master Gardener Gale Klinshaw, of the Town of Lockport, likes to do for a hobby. 

It involves critters some might describe as squishy, wriggly and even slimy.

“I’m passionate about my worms,” Klinshaw said in a recent interview. 

In fact, it was the first thing she said when asked about worm composting.

Klinshaw keeps hundreds of red wiggler worms — it’s hard to put a definite number on it, she said — that break down food and even paper trash into fertilizer material for her garden. The little critters, kept in a worm farm — Klinshaw calls it a worm house — have lived inside her home for about four years.

“I asked my husband if he thought I’d be too crazy to keep worms in the house and he said, ‘As long as they don’t climb out,’ ” she said with a laugh.

Klinshaw, who keeps an outdoor vegetable garden, flowers and potted plants indoors, said she decided to start using worm composting about four years ago as part of her effort to try to garden more organically. She wanted a fertilizer she knew doesn’t have any harmful chemicals.

“I don’t put any chemicals whatsoever in my garden,” she said, adding that she’s also used traditional composting for years.

But that’s not all the worms are good for. 

John Farfaglia, educator with the Niagara Cornell Cooperative Extension, said in addition to keeping things organic in the garden, many people turn to worm composting as a recycling method.

“If someone was just interested in recycling, even if they’re not full time gardeners, I’m sure it’s a good way to eliminate that type of waste and doing it in a very natural way,” he said, adding that it could be a good alternative to traditional composting.

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