The Love Affair of the Red Tiger Worms and the Orchids
It’s all about the orchid leaves loving the worm jus (Balinese spelling, aka worm urine).
Growing (or enhancing) both orchids and worms can be a bit of a challenge. The orchids jump right into bloom-a-new-flower-mode, when the leaves are sprayed with the ‘worm jus’, aka, golden nectar for orchids. The dormant orchids almost perk up with the sound of the spray – I think they know a worm vitamin shower is imminent. As for the worms . . . easy, easy, easy to enhance procreation, (they’re hermaphrodites*), or endanger, to due exposure to heat, light, insects, or starvation – they eat a lot! I’ve been told the red tiger worms will thrive in a grease pit, so we’ve thrown some into the gray water tank at Bali Silent Retreat to see if they’ll dine on a little excess oil.
For years the staff has listened to beggings, pleadings, threats, and general western eccentricities all about the wee worms and the worm pee. A few staff directives from Ibu:
- Feeding the worms specially saved foods – “Must be raw; no prepared foods and nothing too acidic. MUST be fed every day.”
- The worm hotel: “Must be protected from the ants and keep it covered so the sun doesn’t get to them . . . OMG, they’re going to roast!”
- Special worm treats: “Collect a bit of poopook for them . . . they love that for desert!”
- Worm Gold: “Time to harvest the worm pee now. Just need a big plastic bottle.”
The ‘How To’ of making a little worm hotel, You’ll need:
- 2 plastic boxes with lids (min size 20cm x20cm x 40cm) and a drill
- Spigot (goes into the bottom box)
- A piece of net for the bottom of 1 of the boxes
- 30% soil, 30% cardboard, 30% rotting greens, 10% cow poop (or just throw a bunch of dirt and rotting greens and they’ll be happy)
- Red tiger worms – Bali Silent Retreat is happy to give you some.
Construction of a Worm Hotel:
- Drill tiny holes in the floor of top-box (which will house the worms). Find some net fabric to lay on the bottom to keep dirt and worms from going through the holes.
- Drill small holes in the lid of the bottom-box (which will hold the worm pee). Usually the lids have a recessed channel/groove so the liquid can flow in between the boxes even if the holes aren’t exactly lined up.
- Drill a hole for the spigot and screw the spigot pieces on both sides of the box.
- Put the soil mix and the worms in the top box and throw in lots of old veggies.
Voila, you’ve got a worm farm!
Wait a week and there’ll be worm juice (worm pee).
Mix worm juice with 50% water and spray on orchid’s leaves and into soil.
I usually give my orchids a month rest in between blooms – everything needs a rest.
We invite you to take a rest at Bali Silent Retreat – in Silence.
Want to make your own worm farm? This video shows an easy tutorial to do so.