News - April 13, 2011

Earth Day in Portola Valley: Worm composting workshop

by Dave Boyce

That there are earthworms in Portola Valley is not news. But earthworms crawling around in the lobby of Town Hall and eating the staff's lunch leftovers? That is news and the worms will be available for inspection and interviews during a one-day composting workshop that begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 16, at the Earth Day fair.

Town Hall's worm farm is an initiative by Brandi deGarmeaux, Portola Valley's environmental programs coordinator. Its purpose: to demonstrate an alternative to throwing away food scraps and other things that earthworms like, such as cardboard and paper bags.

Worms have eclectic tastes and eat half their weight in food every day, according to a reference provided by Ms. deGarmeaux. While a single worm doesn't weigh much, a few thousand can do some respectable composting.

Among their preferences: fruits and vegetables, including hard-to-compost corncobs. They also welcome pancakes without syrup, eggshells, used coffee filters, dead flowers and newspapers, including the Almanac.

They will nibble at bread, onions, garlic, coffee grounds and banana peels (after the farm is well along), but absolutely no oils, meats, fish or dairy, and no citrus or candy, including chocolate.

"Worm composting is a great way to transform food scraps and organic waste into a nutrient rich fertilizer and concentrated soil conditioner," Ms. deGarmeaux says. "Your plants, lawns, gardens, environment and of course, the worms, will all benefit from vermicompost!"

To pre-register for the workshop, call Ms. deGarmeaux at 851-1700, ext. 222, or write to her at


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