The Worm Farm
For years, we lived in a townhouse. All of the yardwork was taken care of by the neighborhood association, other than the few flowers along the patio that the wife planted each year. My gardening philosphy vis-a-vis the flower beds was simple. “Throw down birdseed, and whatever grows there is the garden.” This led to curious looks from the neighbors, but I considered it a great success, in that after I threw down the birdseed, I was done gardening for the season. Unsurprisingly enough, this annoyed the wife, who much preferred impatiens to millet
Then we bought a house, with a yard. A massive yard, one that must be measured not in acres or hectares, but in Rhode Islands. This is of course a lie, but in comparison to the postage stamp of grass that we used to own, this is Pemberley.
We moved in, spent the night, and woke up the next day as the Jones’s. Or I did, at least as far as the lawn was concerned. I had to have grass that grew faster, thicker and was of a more pleasing shade than that of my neighbors. My roses must be rosier, my azealas more zealous and my hydrangeas more…hydrangic. Come summer my tomatoes must be bigger, redder and above all earlier than those grown by the poor weak fools who live beside me. What is best in life? To outgrow your neighbors, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women. The only thing left to complete my transformation is to re-register as a Republican.
It’s not just enough to fertilize, reseed and water constantly, or so I suppose. We’ve only been here 9 months, and turf wars are long haul affairs. You need a secret weapon, and one day, while ostensibly at work, I found one…..
Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm. Properly fed and cared for, 1000 worms make another 1000 worms every couple of months, and each worm craps out his weight in fertilizer every day. Worm crap contains five times the nitrogen, seven times the phosphate, and eleven times the potash of the same amount of your regular topsoil. ELEVEN TIMES THE POTASH!!! Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! Look on my rye grass, ye mighty, and despair! Thanks to the glory of the Internet, I can order the worm farm kit in a matter of seconds.
At dinner that evening, I paint a glowing picture of our yard in the not too distant future, a verdant eden, lush with flowers and the fruits of the vine, where our toddler could amble through turf thick as molasses and soft as down.
“You spent 65 dollars buying worms off the internet?” Warm.
I admitted that yes, I had indeed spent 65 dollars buying worms off the internet, but that the consequent money saved in fertilizer would more than adequately…
“You spent 65 dollars buying worms off the internet!!” Getting warmer!
“Yes dear, but I’ll have THREE TIMES the number of worms that I ordered by September. And the lawn will be the envy of the neighborhood!”
“Don’t worms come to the surface when it rains?” Getting colder!
“Yes, that’s a plus you see, because their burrows allow water to penetrate deeper into the ground, which promotes a much stronger root system than one would normally..”
“So, after it rains, our lawn will be covered in literally thousands of worms.” Monotone. “That WILL be the envy of the neighborhood.”