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Worms worms worms!

Deborah Mahs
Deborah Mahs

There is wildlife on the Willesden Green station platform gardens - and it is multiplying....fast!

Luckily, the wildlife in question takes up a small amount of space and is easy to contain, but you won't be impressed if you are squeamish because our up-close pictures show the little wormy wrigglers in all their glory doing what they do best - composting!  Yes, we are worm-composting.  

Our 'worm farm' is on Platform 1 where, from 2017, we have been cultivating worms known as European Night Crawlers or Eisenia hortensis or Dendrobaena veneta for the purposes of composting.  We keep them fed and happy on the weeds and green waste from the station gardens as well as organic compost from our own kitchens.  The picture below reveals the top two layers of our worm compost unit.  Layer 1 is the most recent and sits on top.  Those beneath it - numbers 2, 3 and 4 - are layers that have been composting for longer and will soon be ready to mix back into our planters.  The bottom layer (5) is where the 'worm tea' collects (basically the excess water which is used as fertiser).  But - I've learned that if your worm composting is healthy there shouldn't be any surplus water, so actually we don't have much - just a few kamikaze worms that head down instead of up!

What is under all that compost?  I'll post pics of the layers further down later so you can see the soil broken down by the worms in action.  But for now, take a look at the worm pictures below these (Warning:  if you are squeamish do not go any further).  

The pictures (taken at the end of November 2020) show the worms just under the surface of the green waste you see below and you will be amazed (as I am every time I look) how many there are.  Each time I add a new layer on top it takes just a few days for the worms to 'move on up' and start on the new compost.  Those little wormy wrigglers get to work on that compost just as soon as they can.  It takes about 3-6 months for the waste to be broken down completely into lovely rich soil.

These are not your normal earth worms (which like to burrow down deep) but are larger, red in size and you will see also yellow/orange tipped.  They like to remain on the surface (or just under, they don't like light) and eat away at the compost, eating, digesting, poo-ing it out (called castings and is full of nutrients) and over again adinfinitum.

We love our worms.  They are healthy and happy and we know this because they procreate fast and move a lot.  The compost doesn't get smelly or horrible either, but rather has a fresh organic smell to it (honestly) and as soon as it has fully broken down (about 3-6 months), it goes back into our planters to replenish and revitalise our soil keeping it aerated and healthy.

I'll post more info on the worms later, but that's all for now folks!