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Worms in My Stocking?

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Looking for the gift that keeps on giving? Something earth-friendly? Got a hippie/granola person or garden enthusiast on your list?

christmas stocking full of worms

Diane Mizota: Here's the solution: a worm composter.

Worms? Ick. Wait: Hear me out. I'm not some super-green hippie kind of mom, but I do like to be as eco-friendly as possible without living like "Little House on the Prairie." I received my worm farm for Mother's Day. An unorthodox gift? Perhaps. But I'd take these red wiggler worms over a box of candy and overpriced flowers any day.

Not only do they eat your garbage and divert some of it from your local landfills, but they turn your trash into nutrient-dense, deep, dark compost that enriches your soil and makes your garden or houseplants flourish. It's a simple, low-maintenance thing you can do to live a little greener. You can grow your own flowers with the black gold these worms produce.

Here's how it works: The worms eat fruit and vegetable scraps (which all moms of toddlers have plenty of), breads, grains, cardboard, newspaper, napkins, teabags, coffee filters, eggshells and more. You just can't feed them meats, anything too acidic, or anything oily. They live in a plastic, contained two-bin system that my husband purchased from our county waste department for about $60. (You can also make your own if you wish.) The waste that they create, called worm castings, is free homemade organic fertilizer. It takes a few months for the worms to get going, but once established, they can eat up to 1 ½ lbs. of food a day!

The other benefit for moms? They make excellent pets for my 2-year-old son. They don't smell, they don't make noise and they just occupy a small space outside our back door. We don't have to feed them every day or worry about them when we go on vacation; we just take our food scraps out there every couple of days, bury them under some compost and newspaper and wait for the worms to work their magic.

I've started a small, organic vegetable garden to feed my worm castings to and supplement my grocery shopping. It's fun to check on their progress together; my son likes to pretend to be scared by their wiggling, yet squeals with delight every time he holds one. He learns about the earth, about decomposition and about being kind to our planet. And as a mom, that's a gift that's pretty hard to beat.

next: Beating Holiday Depression in the Elderly
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Patricia March 18, 2011, 2:39 AM

What’s worse than a worm in your apple?

Answer: Half a worm

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Matilda March 20, 2011, 7:07 PM

I actually gave a gift of worms a few years ago. I gave the bag of worms first and my friend, who is a garden enthusiast, looked at me like I was on drugs. Then I gave her a whole tray of tomato and pepper seedlings and we laughed over it.

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