Saturday, April 18, 2009

Barley vs red wiggler worms: picky eater smackdown!

Barley only likes dry food. He will use a paper towel to dry off pasta, and has no qualms about using my cloth napkins to wipe brown sauce off chicken picked out of Chinese food. If he could get away with eating the pizza without the cheese, he would. Then he could more easily wipe off the oil and the sauce underneath, to render it the perfect beige food. You could describe Barley's diet as anti-Atkins. All carbs, nothing but carbs, skip the protein, veggies, and fruit, please.

The worms, on the other hand, prefer moist food. Vegetable refuse only, no meats or fats. Limited carbs, please, and eggshells and coffee grounds WITH filters thrown in are a treat. Worms also don't mind fruitflies, ants, and other vermin sharing their food.

Barley, in contrast, tolerates the presence of his brother at the same table, but don't even THINK about stealing a french fry, bro!

In summary:
Wet food? Worms, yes. Barley, no.
Vegetables? Worms, any kind. Barley, only carrots, cucumbers, corn, or broccoli.
Fruit? Worms, everything but citrus--peels welcome. Barley, only peeled apples and bananas.
Carbs? Worms, ok in small amounts. Barley, yes please, and nothing but please.
Meat? Worms, no. Barley, plain chicken, beef, hot dogs, meatballs, kielbasa.

Judge's ruling: while the worms have a wider variety of foods they will eat, I believe the worms are actually pickier eaters than my son. I have owned a food processor for 3 years, and never once used it. I had to pull it out this week to puree the worm food, before I nuked it, then froze it (to kill fruit fly larvae), then defrosted it. Heck, I don't work this hard to cook dinner for my family!

Frankly, I've been obsessing a bit about the worm tray. Haven't blogged every detail, since I think some readers are not that into vermiculture (almost sounds like a skinny noodle you'd serve with meatballs, doesn't it?). The primary angst is wondering if they are eating and thriving, since I can't ever seem to find any, even at night with a flashlight. Also, the fruitfly population is exploding, hence the need to start nuking the scraps I am putting out. Today, I checked out all the layers of the bins, and still could not find any adults in the working top tray. However, inspection of the lower tray exposed 3 juvenile worms immediately without poking around, so I am confident there are likely quite a bit more in there. Click this link to read a past post about the habits of teenage worms. Or not.

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