Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Global Worming and Climate Change

Worms are cute.
But they poot.

Turns out trendy vermicomposting — setting up a bin on your balcony or in your yard, filling it with shredded paper, kitchen scraps and red worms, and then collecting the "castings" (worm poo) to use as fertilizer — may be creating greenhouse gasses.
Darn. Such a nifty idea. Wiggly red worms you buy at a bait shop or nature store. No need to run the garbage disposal. Less dumping onto the landfill.
But now we learn what the little buggers are emitting as a natural byproduct of digestion: nitrous oxide, way more powerful than carbon dioxide.
Odds are the average home worm bin is not contributing huge loads of the bad gas. So you probably shouldn't feel guilty about continuing your project for now.
It's not easy being green.


dancingmorganmouse said...

Worm farts, that's classic. I don't care, I'm still going to compost, my garden loves it and it just has to be better than throwing it all into landfill.

Dagny said...

Is it enough though to give one the giggles?

Stacie said...

wtf! worms that fart! they ain't got nothin on our midwest methane machines, the cow. their poop creates topsoil and i love them!

cookiecrumb said...

DMM: I might just stick with the pitch fork and heat pile. I can still throw my vegetable garbage there...

Dagny: Clever you. Like, just set up a worm bin, pull up a lawn chair, and inhale. I don't know. Wanna try? Tee-hee. Oops. :D

Stacie: Methane -- wow, did you know it's collectable? Please go click on this link; the dairy is my homies in Marin County.
And yes, cowflops = eventual dirt. Bless 'em.

Anna Haight said...

Goodness, this so makes me think of my grandfather. Ever the entrepreneur, after he was moved into a rural elder care facility, somehow got permission to build a big 'worm bed' outside his unit. He would get scraps from the kitchen to feed it, then sell both the rich composted soil to gardeners AND the worms to local fishermen to supplement his income. He was about 86 when he started this venture!

El said...

I consider this a product of the vast, right-wing conspiracy, frankly. (toot)

Zoomie said...

Worm poots have got to be better than the exhaust from the average garbage truck, both from the tailpipe and the back end! Pew! Worms or composting - that's the key! Of course, this from a gal who gardens only reluctantly and infrequently, when the choice is garden or be completely overtaken by the Killer Weeds.

cookiecrumb said...

Anna: I love your story. If my dad is reading this, he's probably getting some ideas right about now!

El: Yeah, well you know where I first read a report about this phenomenon? The evil Wall Street Journal. (Trust me, I didn't stop there. I continued my research to make sure it wasn't just neocon fat cats making fun of us hippies. Even so, the story is a little overblown.)

Zoomie: I remember that kind of Dreaded Maintenance gardening. I don't do it. The kind where a little cucumber pops up, though, is so rewarding, it's just a pleasure to go out and pick off weeds every day.

kyraninse said...

Well, the thing is, worms will be worms, regardless of whether they're your pets or not. *grin*

SteamyKitchen said...

Worm poots! I love it!
I used to have a compost bin when I lived in SF and had a wonderful garden....maybe I need rethink my sunny Florida gardening strategy. Too dang hot here to grow my fav veggies and herbs