1,000 New Teachers on Staff at Annmarie Garden

Red Wigglers demonstrate the inside story of composting

Red Wiggler worms are busy digging and dining in a compost Can-O-Worms at Annmarie Garden.
    Second graders visiting Annmarie Garden on daily CHESPAX field trips explore the world of composting with a little help from the Garden’s squirmy residents, about a thousand in all.
    Red Wiggler worms, along with eight volunteers who do the talking, teach the students hands-on and practical ways to go green in their daily lives.
    “The worms are a favorite with the kids,” said Annmarie’s Jackie Sudore-Flood.

Jackie Sudore-Flood and Linda Crandall show off the new Can-O-Worms composter at Annmarie Garden.

    “They’re tangible and the students can practice the application of going green right away.”
    Red Wigglers are the best composting worms. Unlike night crawlers, they live well in close, highly populated conditions. They also don’t burrow.
    Living happily in their two-and-a-half-foot tall, three story Can-O-Worms compost complex (about $100 from abundantearth.com), the worms can consume up to their own body weight in food every day. They leave behind castings that “increase the amount of nutrients to your plants by up to 10 times,” according to Can-O-Worms manufacturers.
    “The Red Wigglers’ gifted area — or specialty — is composting food scraps,” said Linda Crandall, a longtime Annmarie Garden volunteer and University of Maryland Master Composter.
    “They like a variety of raw food scraps,” Crandall said. “Their favorites are banana peels and strawberries.”
    Annmarie Garden bought the wigglers online, about a thousand worms to the pound.
    The worms live three to four years, according to Crandall, who has worm colonies at home.
    A Can-O-Worms composter like the one at Annmarie Garden will produce about five to six gallons of composted soil a year, enough to nourish a small garden in your own backyard.