Worm Eggs

Worm Eggs

Imagine my surprise when I picked out an old avocado shell to find it packed with worm eggs.

Back story, I was rummaging through my worm bin for castings to add to a potting mix I was putting together. Castings are the product that the worms make (that they poop) after eating the vegetables and scrap paper you feed them. In this photo, the castings are the dirt-looking stuff in my hand. You can see how dense and black it is, very rich. Also fluffy and moist.

At one time I supposed castings were a working substitute for potting soil, but they're not. The germination rate is low; apparently the nitrogen is too high. So I've been mixing it up. On this particular day, the formula I was trying was 1 : 5, one part castings to 5 parts earth.*

* This ratio performed poorly, too.

Anyway, you've got to rummage when you're harvesting castings, because there are a lot of worms in a worm bin, and you want to leave most of them behind. So you dig down, fold back a positive orgy of worms (orgy—literal) and look for a relatively unpopulated spot to lift out, till you've filled your tub with dense handfuls not entirely teeming with life.

Does it sound gross? It sure is. But I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, if you want to really upset me, show me some unexpected maggots. I will have a visceral freak-out that all my self-control (of which I've got a hell of a lot) cannot contain. On the other, worms are not maggots, I've always liked worms, and one of my favorite words is "fecund." Which happens to be the best word for a worm habitat. Or a compost bin. Hence these are my favorite parts of the garden.

In any case, it makes sense the worms chose to put their secret kindergarten in an avocado shell. Kind of a subterranean umbrella. Still a surprise, though: I had never seen a worm egg before this moment. They're so orange!