Cathy's Crawly Composters, Vermicomposting, Indoor composting with Red Wiggler Worms


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Cathy's Crawly Composters


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Nepean This Week

October 15, 2004

Wriggling in on Ottawa's compost business

By Natalie Hanson
H&D staff

Cathy Nesbitt's passion is worms - little itty bitty worms that eat compost vegetable matter. So much so that she's made it her job to tell the world about them.

"It's my life's work," said Cathy Nesbitt, the owner of Cathy's Crawly Composters. "The worms kept coming back to me."

The entrepreneur, who once was too afraid to touch worms without gloves, has designed an indoor composting unit using them for people who live in apartments or don't have room in their backyard for an outdoor unit.

The magic ingredient to her composter is red wiggler worms. Much smaller than the night crawler, the worms people see on sidewalks after a rainstorm, red wrigglers are 2-3 inches long. There are about 800 red wrigglers to the pound. (And they are the ones from the famous WKRP episode, with the jingle - "Red Wrigglers, the Cadillac of worms, the Cadillac of worms.)

Happy critters, they eat dead, decomposing organic matter like vegetables, fruit, coffee grounds, even used paper towels and cooked pasta. The worms eat through the waste and leave behind black castings which can be used to fertilize household plants and gardens.

In the right environment, they leave behind nutrient-rich castings, excellent for home gardeners.

"It's a bit more work than outside composting," she said.

The mixture must be moist but not sopping in order to keep the worms happy, and people use newspaper instead of leaves used in traditional composters.

Done right, it doesn't smell. After a few months, you should have twice the number of worms, which you can then pass on to a friend, or put directly into your plants.

"They don't eat anything alive," she said. So they won't the living plant, she puts an apple core in with the plant to feed the worms.

Done right, a one time purchase of worms is all you'll ever need. And if people are finding that the composter stinks or that the worms are dying should call her.

"Once they're gone I can't bring them back," she said.

But for Nesbitt, it's not so much about the fertilizing castings as it is about the worms.

"These worms are capable of so much," she said. And as technology has progressed, we've forgotten how nature can take care of itself.

Knowledge the ancient Egyptians and Chinese knew a lot about.

As well as selling worms, Nesbitt also runs programs for children schools to teach them the importance of taking care of the earth.

Children are fascinated by her creepy crawlies, and have a much better appreciation of it then adults.

"I love what I'm doing," she said.

For more information on Cathy's Crawly Composters, visit or call Local: (905) 775-9495
Toll Free: 1-888-775-9495

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Click here to crawl home
Click here to Buy worms

Cathy's Crawly Composters

Bradford, Ontario
Local: (905) 775-9495
Toll Free: 1-888-775-9495