The Flaming Vegan

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How to Hold African Nightcrawlers
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How to Hold African Nightcrawlers

The blog post title strikes one like it was another movie in the X-Men series. But the whole prospect is really unglamorous. Most of us already know the benefits of vermicomposting to our gardens and farms. But there's still a lot of people who may be aware of them but don't want to deal with them directly. This post is dedicated to one of those friends who really wants to try vermicomposting but finds the whole project too stomach turning.

How it Feels Like

For me, it's like holding "living spaghetti". Long strands of living matter interwoven with each other enmeshed in a weird crimson ball of worm. On your bare skin, the mixture of decomposing organic material together with the living matter can cause many to be quite queasy.

To my surprise, many experienced gardeners I know cannot even bear the idea of holding these hardy subterranean workers. Well, to be honest so can I.

I partially close my eyes when I do hold them and wash my hands and arms 3 times afterwards.

Conditioning Your Mind

We are all creatures of the earth and of nature. If you believe, you could also say that we are God's creatures just like the worms. Each creature performs a function in this thriving eco system and it comes with the good and the bad.

The soil that we hold contains a lot of nastier creatures and microbes that could cause serious irritation. I have not experienced any sort of skin irritation with my vermicomposting experience.

Hygiene and Extremely Common Sense

 If you don't have a skin condition or are not sensitive to getting your hands dirty, holding worms shouldn't cause any serious problems - not unless...

  • Your nails are long and dirt comes in, then you eat something with your hands.
  • You're a smoker and you smoke right after handling the worms.
  • You have an open wound

Using Gloves

By all means treat the project with a clinical demeanor. Having latex gloves or any rubber waterproof gloves should be sufficient. Be sure to wash both your hands and the gloves afterwards. 

For me, the real way to avoid being queasy with our partners in vegetable or fruit growing is in the mind. Yes worms are disgusting, yes they deal with the dirty stuff and yes they contain a lot of microbes and bacteria. Nevertheless, if you only think about the end product which is the healthy and organic produce that you'll soon be having, you'll find that there's a lot of good that you can derive from them.

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