It is with a midly-heavy heart that I must inform the RWC community that Mr. Toad (or “Ted” as I had wanted to call him) has officially “left the building” – he is no longer a resident of my Urban Worm Bag (I can almost hear the worm and critter cheers).
I’m happy to report that he is alive and well, now living in a one-bedroom clear salad container, with recently installed skylights, wading pool, bedding, a cardboard tube, and a springtail-infested apple core.
OK ok – I do feel a bit guilty about this. He basically went from living in Toad Mansion (with 24 hour all-you-can-eat buffet) to a plastic prison cell…but alas, it had to be done!
Weird worm behavior aside (I am still convinced the toad was at least partially responsible for all the worm roaming), his presence in the system was really affecting my vermicomposting efforts. I needed to be a lot more careful about air-flow (making sure the lid was always at least partially open), while also keeping the level of material low near the opening (he still got out twice).
Anyway – his new digs are really just a temporary residence until it warms up enough outside to let him go in the garden. And the kids and I will likely provide him with a “hopping bin” he can get a bit more exercise in each day.
After he was moved, I added another ~ 7.7 lb of food waste (bringing our total to nearly 47 lb) and a huge heap of dry cover bedding. If I continue to see roaming worms moving forward I will be very surprised!
One other interesting observation to report, before I sign off.
It seems the UWB may channel liquid down to the bottom more than my Worm Inns ever did. Even with a substantial false bottom and keeping the bottom pocket open (for increased air flow), some liquid has made its way onto my basement floor. Mold has also started to grow on the wall of the bag down near the bottom – something I have seen happen quite a bit with Worm Inns.
It’s important to note that this is a cool basement location with what I suspect is a pretty high air humidity. If I had a fan for air flow or an actual dehumidifier down there this probably wouldn’t happen.
Whatever the case may be, it’s definitely not a big deal – more “interesting” than anything.
Should be fun to see where things go from here.
As always, be sure to stay tuned!
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Haha! Bentley – I can commiserate with you in a way. Winter before last I did not realize until mid-January that a toad had buried himself in a 12″ potted pelargonium that I’d had outside all the previous summer. Had no clue when I brought it in late in October that the pot was his chosen digs (literally!) for the winter!
It wasn’t until the plant seemed to be wilting that I stuck my finger into the pot to see if it needed watering or what, and, with a sudden queasy feeling realized my finger was touching, not soil, but a hole – at the bottom of which was something that was soft & rather mushy-feeling.
It took a certain amount of pluck to scrabble down in there – gently – and found legs! I dug my fingers down under Mr. (?) Toad, fished him out, then immediately wondered what to do with him since, like you, I didn’t want to put him outside in the bitter cold when he’d been used to at least a balmy 55 degrees on my windowsill.
My next thought was to wonder what he had been living on since it really was not anywhere near cold enough for him to be in full hibernation, so I figured there must have been some worms or something in the soil for him to eat. Flummoxed, all I could think to do was water the plant & tuck him back in – after bringing up a few sacrificial worms from the basement bin to add atop the hole! (So sorry, guys!)
Well, this was fine for another week or so – until he hopped along the windowsill one sunny morning as I was eating breakfast! Luckily, we were in the midst of a spring thaw, with the weather supposed to remain mild for several days, so I went out & dug a shallow hole in the herb bed on the south side of the red brick wall of our house and tucked him down in there, covering him with chopped leaves. I have no idea how he fared the rest of the winter, but I hadn’t wanted to have to feed him more of my guys from the bin, so I hope Mother Nature took care of one of her own.
I keep a small Rubbermaid with shredded cardboard under my Worm Inn. I don’t get too much dripping, but it seems like a nice way to collect the runoff and then I just dump that on top of the bin.
Wow Carol – that sounds like quite the experience! I can’t imagine finding a toad via touch (creepy – lol)!
I had originally wanted to just re-bury our toad friend as well. I suspect the cold soil (and cold temps in general) would make them want to stay put and shift back into hibernation mode again. Hope so anyway!
John – yeah I used to do that with my Worm Inns as well. Probably a good time to do the same thing with the UWB. The little towel sitting on the floor is not the best strategy. lol