Down on ‘Oligochae Farm’

Posted: March 22, 2013 in Pets & Garden

Two legs good… n
o legs better!

Hi folks, welcome to the first instalment of ‘The Diary of Oligochae Farm’. First of all, let us introduce ourselves; my name is Farmer Anvil and my partner is called Farmer Jane (formerly just Jane, the Farmers wife). Together we live in a city called ‘Newcastle upon Tyne’ which is located in the far north east of England (it’s quite near Europe?).

Like most sentient creatures living through the emergent reality of global warming, we try and keep our carbon footprint to a minimum. We only fly if we need to go anywhere; we have bought a recycling bin for our paper and plastic; another for our metal waste, tin-cans etc’. We turn off unnecessary lights for which we buy low voltage light-bulbs. We buy organic food; we buy organic food with less packaging; we buy numerous books on how to live at one with our immediate environment.

Last week we bought a water butt – the first in our street!

We only fly if we need to go anywhere

In short, we have discovered a way to ‘buy’ our way to a better, more sustainable existence. And, guess what? The more we buy, the better we feel. It’s a sort of Ying and Yang’ thing for the larger western economies: participate in retail therapy whilst at the same time saving the world. Easy peezy lemon squeezy.

Of course, coming from the West, we have more than just ‘dry’ waste, we have ‘wet’ waste too. And it was this ‘wet’ waste that was problematic for us. What to do with all that kitchen exuberance, all that excess food?

An element of this ‘wet waste’ was, and still is, recycled through our dogs but the end product – known in polite circles in the U.K. as ‘Dog Shit’ – produces human pathogens which can, I’ve been told, blind young children. That said, I’ve yet to meet a young child blinded by dog shit, or indeed anyone who has ever met or known anyone who has ever met or known a young child that has been blinded by dog shit? In fact, come to think of it, when did you last hear someone say: ‘Aw, look, there goes poor blind Julie with her Seeing-Eye Dog. Blinded by dog shit at a very early age. How ironic she now has to get on all fours to sniff out and pick up the very product that blinded her in the first place or suffer a fine not exceeding 500 pounds sterling?’ Never, I’ll wager.

Mind, there was the kid at the end of our street – a promising Tennis player, and God knows, we need them here in Jolly Old England – she slipped on dog shit and shattered her heart, her future, and her elbow.

Wet waste 

Anyway, Research time! We decided to Google the phrase ‘Wet Waste’ and after managing to close all of the porn-site windows we were left with the Compost Section of our local DIY chain store. I felt great purchasing my very first Compost Bin.

“Look, Jane… Me, Man! Me, Man the Hunter… Me, Man the Hunter bringing home the bacon… Me, Man the Hunter bringing home the bacon and the Compost Bin!”

An unending revolution of compost

I felt less great when I returned it to complain about the lack of a base, only to be told by somebody who doesn’t even have a fucking PhD that they sit directly on top of the soil where the worms and insects rise up like the Russian proletariat to destroy the Monarchical organic waste in an unending Revolution of Compost. In short; they “don’t have a base” and, apparently, “every fucking numskull with half a brain cell knows that!” Jane has a PhD. I have an Audi A3. Together we have a concrete yard. Hmmm.

I punched him. Not hard…

Frankly I was down, forlorn, a beaten man. I mentioned my predicament whilst drowning my sorrows in my local pub. An old weather faced man leaned over from his seat and laid a gentle liver-spotted hand on my shoulder: “See you…” he said. I said “Yeah?” He said “See you…” I said “Yeah?” He said “See you…” I punched him. Not hard. The ambulance driver said “What people like you need isn’t a compost bin. What people like you need is a Worm Farm…” wormfarmHallelujah and finger the sweet baby Jesus! It arrived this morning whilst we where having sex. I wasn’t too perturbed. There has been an air of excitement in the house since we ordered it. And to be honest, I’ve been a little bit sore of late?

To describe it to a worm would be like describing Shangri-La – if indeed Shangri-La was about the size of a large black plastic dustbin comprising four equal layers, one on top of the other. Kitchen waste is put into the top layer, then eaten by worms who produce ‘casts’ known as technically as ‘worm shit’ which end up in the bottom layer as compost. The bottom layer is then removed, the compost used on the garden or in plant pots and the now empty layer filled with more ‘wet waste’ and returned to the top in a never-ending cycle of recyclement. Worm urine, known as ‘worm urine’ is drained off via a tap in the base of the bottom layer and then diluted and fed to plants as plant ’food’. A veritable ‘Compost Factory’.

A never-ending cycle of recyclement 

The Worms, about a thousand of them, come through the post in a bag where they get to know one another. They normally guarantee next-day-delivery but ours took nearly a week to arrive as we ordered them on Friday and the suppliers refused to post them over the weekend. That’s cool. I like my weekends off so why shouldn’t the worms? After a couple of months the worm collective will have doubled their numbers to about six thousand and this optimum number will then munch their way through the weekly kitchen waste of approximately five European adults, one American teenager, or one medium sized Sudanese Refugee Camp. Of course the leaflet says that this will only happen if the worms are happy and fed correctly. There are, it would appear, some ‘Do’s and Don’t’s’ in the art of WormCraft; DO feed them Cooked Food Scraps, Shredded Paper or Cardboard, Tea Bags & Coffee Grounds, Vegetable Peelings, Bread, Rice, Pasta, Wool & Cotton and, last but not least, Dried and Crushed Eggshells.

DO NOT WHATEVER YOU DO feed them; Plant Seeds, (they are alive and worms eat only dead things) Diseased Plant Material (may upset the worms), Citrus Fruits (too acidic), Glossy Printed Paper (too many additives), Grass Clippings and Leaves (they’ll heat up and cook the worms), and, believe me it says this in the leaflet: Glass, Plastic, and Metal – Oops! Always read the label first, yeah?


Oh, I nearly forgot… they hate onions and feeding it to them will stop them breeding. Onion breath has the same effect on me, too.

Assembly was simple; fit the legs and the tap, place the worms on the coconut fibre bedding (feels a little like peat) and wait for an hour for the worms to burrow in and make themselves at home. Place kitchen scraps on top of bedding, cover with natural fibre mat (supplied), close the lid and place in yard… voila! We are now the proud owners of our very own Worm Farm, our wet waste problem is solved and we are at peace with the planet.

We initially called them ‘The Borg’ 

We’ve personalized ours by giving it a name: ‘Oligochae Farm’ – it’s a clever word which means ‘Worm’ and sounds Scottish if said in a Scottish accent.

The worms themselves are too numerous to name individually so we initially called them ‘The Borg’ (not that any of them look like Seven of Nine) but this seemed a little impersonal so eventually after hours of very little thought we settled on the collective name: Sandra. Our neighbours think we are mad but that hasn’t stopped a few creeping into our back yard to have a sly peek at Sandra and, of course, allowing me to bellow; ‘Oi, you! Get orf moy laaand!’

Now, I wonder how much a wind turbine costs?

Anvil Springstien.

5 Worm Facts:

Worms are Hermaphrodites.

Worms can live up to 15 years.

Worms have five hearts.

Worms can make simple decisions.

Worms have sex lasting hours.

Google: Worm Farms. Can-O-Worms.

Wikipedia: Oligochae. Earth Worms.


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