Lessons from the Worm Lady

Diane Rhoades is something of a vermiculture celebrity. She’s been teaching folks about composting for so long, she gets recognized in public. “I’ll see a kid in the Fresh Market and they’ll turn and say, ‘Look, mom, it’s the worm lady!” Rhoades says. She’s taught in the schools, in the libraries, and on March 26, she’ll give a workshop as part of ECO’s Sustainable Living series called “Vermicomposting with the Mystics.”

“There’s a big picture and a small picture here,” Rhoades says. “The bigger picture is the part that fertile soil plays in the attentiveness we have to life — the life of the soil and the health of the plants. And the smaller picture will be how to grow more and better vegetables and flowers.”

Photo by Rimas Zailskas

Photo by Rimas Zailskas

Vermicomposting is a way to get your compost really cooking, to make fertile soil for the benefit of your entire garden. Introducing worms to your compost is a way to speed up the composting process.

Rhoades will have worm compost containers for sale, although she’ll only have about eight of these, so she recommends reserving them in advance.

Beyond the basic benefit to the garden, Rhoades says vermicomposting can be spiritual.

“I consider it a mystical experience to be present to the little guys,” she says. “The microorganisms in the soil, and the worms.”

Or, as it says in the course description, “Raising worms is a gateway activity to enlightenment, vitality, and combating cultural ridiculousness.”

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