The Dirt

Things I love in theory

Photo/Illustration: Boyd Hagen
Photo/Illustration: Boyd Hagen

There are lots of things in my life that I wish I could love. Like melons. I eat a lot of fruit, and a big, juicy watermelon looks so yummy and juicy and huge, but I cannot stand the taste of it or any of its melony kin. Same goes for whole wheat pasta. Why can’t it taste as good as whole wheat bread, instead of the cardboard it is?

But the most confusing of these conundrums is my love-hate relationship with earthworms. Earthworms are amazing things. They aerate and fertilize our gardens, turn kitchen scraps into wonderful compost, and remind us that our soil is a living ecosystem. But let me tell you, if I come upon one in the garden, I’m a shuddering mass of uselessness. I let out an embarrassed shriek and drop my trowel. I look around to see if anyone has heard me, and I stealthily move along to another part of the border until the worm has disappeared into the soil again. And don’t get me started on worm composting. The thought of keeping a whole BIN full of a writhing mass of slimy worms inside my house is enough to make me pass out.

View Comments


  1. GardenWiseGuy 05/07/2009

    Well of course you're having trouble warming to worms. You haven't gone to the trouble of getting to know them. And you can't really know them until you name them. I suggest you make little "dog tags" for each one, put them around their necks (that's the hard part, since sometimes it's hard to know if you're looking at the "inbound" end or the "outbound" end) and have a little one on one time with each of the little dickens.

    In my bin, they all come to the side of the box when I opening it up, wag their little tails and I greet them each by name: Hi Doc, yo yo Dopey, lovely day Sneezy, gee your hair smells terrific Moe, wazzup Larry, mah man Curly, S'happnin; Bambi, glorious day to you Thumper, eh Dubbya, grrrr Cheney, top of the mornin' Ebert, how DEE Siskel, you da man get the idea.

  2. ShirleyBovshow 05/08/2009

    You sound like a perfect customer for "Rent a Composter" full service composting. Just leave your scraps by the front door and receive of bag of "black gold" in return.

    You never see the worms!

  3. EditorHack 05/11/2009

    How do you get any gardening done? Either your soil is very poor and therefore you see very few worms, or you are a 'weekend' digger. I find it incredible that an editor of a national gardening magazine would have such meager gardening experience.

  4. plantnutsSB 05/13/2009

    My theory is that these upsetting worms are the alien ones that are known for destroying hundreds of years of accumulated leaf mould in hardwood forests of the Right Coast. Perhaps if you could find some of the less agressive native earthworms you could form the relationship with them GardenWiseGuy reccomends????

  5. paperart 05/13/2009

    I used to feel the same way. It all started with fishing and I could never touch the worms to bait my hook. Finally, my family refused to do it for me and I started to use rubber gloves. I could touch them without actually touching them. After years of this I finally got over it, I can touch them and they don't scare me any more but occasionally when I dig up a big wiggly one when I am planting, I have to resist that urge to jump and shreek! I think it's that Eve adn the Garden of Eden thing - little snakes? LOL!

  6. Noturf 05/19/2009

    Love, to love things, people I do not know what to say. Regarding horticulture I dislike very much weevils, how
    they chew at my Coccolova uvifera, destroying their symmetric
    round thick leaves.

    Yet, I love that my garden planned, installed as a habitat,
    serves others, birds, lizards, spiders, in my surroundings. Destructive or beneficial.

    What can one do? I have great difficulties to destroy insects,except with dish soap/hot sauce my secret weapon, and
    never feel comfortable with pulling beautiful weeds, that otherwise will take the whole space...

  7. CompostCritter 05/23/2009

    I have to ditto GWGuy. My critters are out there 24/7 munchin' and mulchin' and enjoying all that I can find to feed them... and they never whine or complain.

    There's no way to name the thousands of little buddies that I have, so I sorta do them in troops, based on what garden bed they are in. East Wing, Up The Hill, South Park.

    Always great fun!

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Related Articles

The Latest