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Results of 30 day Milk Jug w/shredded paper only!

16 years ago

Okay! I put 6 worms in a plastic milk jug on October 4th. There may have been about a tablespoon of sandy loam that went in with the worms. Then I put half the jug full of nothing but shredded paper. I got the mix too wet and I was afraid the worms would drown. I punched holes with an ice pick all over the Carton and on the bottom. No juice dripped out, so....I left it as it was. I put the plastic milk carton in the garage, and it got late afternoon sun, dappled, but I did not make it dark for the container, nor did I put the lid on it. I figured that if they got too unhappy, they could at least crawl out at night.

On the 3rd of November, I got terribly impatient and a little worried because I could see a worm...A Worm. The paper had seeming balled up into a solid mass. I cut the plastic carton open very carefully and poured the contents out on a piece of white tarp. First, I broke it in half and to my suprise, there were worms working in the paper! Gently, I counted them into a small (but larger container than the milk jug) black, open top container about 6" x 6" x 12" long. I counted as carefully as I could without totally ripping the paper chunks to shreds and I found that I had 30 to 35 worms ranging from about 1" long to about 4" long. I didn't count any cocoons because look as I would, I did not see anything that looked like what everyone is discribing. I don't know what they look like, but I was careful to put all the paper and the grains of dirt running through the wad into the new container on the bottom. Then I put about an inch of slightly damp shredded paper on top of the clumps, hopefully,it will absorb any excess moisture that might have made them uncomfortable. I put a half inch of leaf mold on top of that and sprinkled about 2 tablespoons of cornmeal over the top. I also added about 1/2 cup of water to that to get the cornmeal damp. The wide top is uncovered. I put the entire container in a small black trashbag, punched holes only above the top of the open container and I closed it up. I placed the wrapped container in a bookshelf (where it fit like a dream)in the warmest portion of my house to see how they winter in the warmth. That was 2 days ago and I have checked the closed bag for escapees and so far, none have tried to escape!

This experiment has really excited me because those worms were terribly stressed in that milk carton. Temperatures only got down to 40°F a few nights,and daytime temps were sometimes 85° or higher, but it could not have been comfortable for them. The only food source was paper and a few grains of soil. Too wet conditions. Still, with all that mistreatment, 6 worms of various sizes turned into 30-35 worms in 30 days.

I figure that if I can get those results, knowing I am doing everything wrong, then once I learn to do everything right, I can do this! This made a believer out of me! =0)

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