Thursday, May 13, 2010

Worm Farm Take II

On Tuesday I was stirring the worm farm to aerate and mix up the bedding. I do this about once a week to make sure it isn’t too moist and allow oxygen into the soil.  When doing this, I noticed we had new babies that had hatched!  There were just a few, but we were getting close to the two month mark and according to my research they multiply in about two to three months.  While doing this I also noticed the soil smelled a little.  I found research which indicated to stop feeding until the smell dissipates, or add garden lime to the bedding to neutralize the ph. 

While out on errands I thought I would stop at our local Early May Garden Center and see if they carried garden lime to add to the farm.  I went in specifically stating I was looking for garden lime to help neutralize the ph in a worm farm.  The gal that helped me initially tried to sell me pellets.  I indicated again, this was for a worm farm, and did they have anything in powder form?  She took me to another part of the store and handed me dehydrated lime.  I specifically asked if this would harm my worms.  She indicated “no, they would be fine”.  We talked more about the worm farm and the reason we started it.  I had some more items to get so it was awhile before we were ready to check out. 

When checking out, I again asked her if this would kill my worms, because I didn’t want anything happening to them.  She laughed, and again said no.

My son and I returned home and I proceeded to sprinkle some of the lime on the top of the bedding.  I next mixed it into the soil.  The worms started to wiggle around like they had never done before.  I wasn’t sure what the problem was until I took a couple out to look at.  They were bleeding.  I quickly looked at the package and started reading it in depth.  It indicated the product may cause burns on skin. I noticed my vinyl gloves were starting to leak as well.   If this product could cause burns on skin why would she sell this to me to be placed into a bed with worms?  I became upset and wondered what I could do to save them.

After a few hours of trying to salvage the worms by rinsing them and placing them into new bedding, we realized it was all in vain.  Our entire worm farm perished.  It was awful watching them suffer.  My son and I were both sick to our stomachs.  Not only did we lose the worms we had purchased, we lost the newly hatched babies and the eggs still to hatch. This didn’t include all of the time and effort we put into the project to this point. 

Needles to say, neither of us slept very well that night.  The next morning I phoned the manager to see what their liability policy was.  He indicated that freeze dried lime would be too harsh and shouldn’t have been used in that type of environment.  I am still in the process of trying to recover the expense to replace our farm.  I will keep you posted on the status in the future. 

When I returned to the store on Wednesday to get a refund on the lime, the manager indicated the employee stated she tried to sell us pellets and that she said she told us to be careful with it.  I indicated to him after further research the pellets would have had the same effect.  I also indicated she never mentioned to us to be careful with it.  If she had, I would have questioned purchasing the product.  I also specifically said I wanted to make sure what she was selling me was not going to harm or kill my worms.  If I hadn’t asked those questions of her, I would have taken the responsibility for what happened myself. 

I could easily have gone to another business to purchase my lawn and garden items, but I chose to support a local business; a reputable business in lawn and garden care.  This business should be responsible to give accurate information about the products they carry.  They should have knowledge of the products they are selling. 

As a cosmetologist, if I have never used a product, or I am unfamiliar with it, I do not try to sell it to a customer unless they specifically ask for it.   If I sell something, it’s because I have tried it and have used it.  How can you sell a product you are not familiar with and make a claim when you do not actually have experience in the area? 

What happened to customer service anyway?  When I worked in customer service, the customer was always right.  It seemed, at times, that motto was at all costs.  Now days, many businesses appear not to care if they get your business or not.  I can tell you I have several bags of garden material still unopened.  All of which may be making a trip back to the store to be purchased at a lesser price elsewhere if they fail to make this right.  Replacement cost for my farm was a mere $25.  If they choose to stand behind an employee that isn’t knowledgeable, and is dishonest to say the least, they will be losing more than the $25 when the items are returned. 

We are back to day one of our worm farm.  We have a new cooler, new bedding, and 130 worms to occupy it.  It appears they have all migrated toward the bottom of the cooler and are all alive.  Now we sit and wait for them to provide us with fertilizer for the garden and multiply.  

Today I mashed a pear for the worms to consume.  I started with a pear that was very soft and was past the point of giving to the older chicks.  I cut the pear in half and took out the seeds and stem.  The seeds and stem were then placed into my container to go to the compost pile.  I chose not to throw them in the trash, or put them in the garbage disposal.  These still contain nutrients that will be of use in the compost bin.  I then proceeded to mash the pear with an old potato masher and add the food to the top of their bed.   

This masher has come in handy for many things.  And to think I almost took it to goodwill with some other household items my husband had when we got married.  I have been able to find many uses for items in the past I would have easily gotten rid of because they were older.  Many of these items are no longer available for purchase in stores now. 

 Mashing the pear.

Pear puree added to the top of the bedding.

I inherited many things from both of my grandmother's kitchens after they passed away.  Little gadgets you can't find in a store.  If you look, and are into seeking out finds, auctions are a good place to find gadgets at a cheap price without paying the higher price for a new one.  In addition, you are recycling an item and giving it a new use.  Often times the older the item is, the more likely it was made in the USA too! 

1 comment:

  1. I almost started crying when I read this. I am so sorry the worms suffered. I am interested in hearing how Earl May resolves this for you, because I am all about buying local, as well. I am just sick over it. Good luck with the new batch. You need to move so you can really let your creative juices flow. You are not made for city life. The country is in your blood.