Saturday, February 25, 2006

A Shout-Out to Yelm

I was so happy to see the folks from Yelm Earth at the Seattle garden show. This worm farm in Washington state has been through a lot of changes over the years. I went to visit it when I was doing research for The Earth Moved and I think it was for sale then. Anyway, there's a good group of people tending the worms, selling castings, and more. They've got a rich supply of manure for feedstock, good equipment, and plenty of knowledge. Check them out.

Yelm Earthworm & Castings Farm -

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Ice Worms!

Now, this is cool. The Seattle Times reports on an expedition to find ice worms, tiny segmented worms that live around glaciers. But here are some things you may not know about ice worms:

Their Latin name is Mesenchytraeus solifugus. They're in the same taxonomic class as regular segmented earthworms that live in your garden.

They eat snow algae.

There can be as many as 2600 ice worms in a square meter of glacier. One glacier can hold more ice worms than the entire human population.

They live in temperate climates in Alaska, Canada, Oregon, and Washington.

Check them out here:

The Seattle Times: Local News: Ice worms: They're real, and they're hot

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Now All I Need is a Title

We take a break from our regularly scheduled worm programming for a special announcement:

I need some help choosing a title for my next book. It's just four or five little words--you wouldn't think it would be so hard, but my editor and I have been taxing our poor little brains for weeks now and we still haven't settled on the perfect title.

So now I've set up an online survey and I'd really appreciate it if you'd go take the survey and encourage your friends to do the same. You won't have to log in or provide any personal information.

Amy's Next Book: The Survey

If you have more ideas than what the survey can handle, feel free to post a comment or send me an e-mail.

By the way, I'd like to thank the author Po Bronson for the inspiration for this survey. He went through a similar process with the cover design for his last book, Why Do I Love These People?

Friday, February 17, 2006

Palouse Worm Gets National Attention

Oh, this is a little one. Good news, I suppose--that means that some big mommy worms are out there having babies. It gives me hope, knowing that giant earthworms are still roaming the deep.

ABC News: Meter-Long Monsters That Smell Like Lilies

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Meet Me in Seattle

The worms and I are headed to Seattle in February. If you live in the Pacific Northwest and you've never been to the Northwest Flower & Garden Show...well, you don't know what you're missing. This is an over-the-top floral and garden extravaganza. I'm glad I'm scheduled for two days, because it will take me that long to get through it.

Come say hello at one of my three worm composting workshops:

Saturday, February 11, 12 noon
"The Secret Life of Worms"Sprouts Stage (Family Program)

Sunday, February 12, 11 a.m.
"Composting with Earthworms"Monrovia Stage

Sunday, February 12, 3 p.m.
"The Secret Life of Worms"Sprouts Stage (Family Program)

"Composting with Earthworms" description (the "Secret Life of Worms" is a shorter version for kids)

Join Amy Stewart, author of The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms, for an entertaining and in-depth exploration of that tireless ploughman, the earthworm. She’ll bring her worms and her worm bin with her for this hands-on workshop.

Find out all about the care and feeding of earthworms, and learn more about the extraordinary role that these creatures play in the soil. Thousands of earthworms can live in a small worm bin and consume all your kitchen scraps, creating earthworm castings that are rich in soil microbes and help produce healthy, disease-free plants. Worm composting is also a fun project for parents and kids to do together, allowing kids to learn firsthand about recycling and earth science.

For tickets and more information, visit the Northwest Flower & Garden Show's website.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Earthworms Eat Invasive Plants

Now here's a win-win situation. Feed water hyacinths to earthoworms. They don't call this plant "the blue devil" for nothing: it'll clog a river or a lake in no time flat. Turns out that worms love the stuff and 180 tons of yanked-out-and-piled-up water hyacinth will become 60 tons of rich worm castings. Go, worms! Then can you start on my dandelions?

The Hindu : Sci Tech / Agriculture : Water hyacinth: potential source for vermicompost

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Breaking news: Giant Palouse worm found in Idaho

This just in from the Seattle Times. These worms have not been seen in over 20 years and some people feared they were extinct. William Fender and his mother Dorothy did some of the early research about these earthworms, and she had a few specimens in her collection in Oregon when I spoke to her a few years ago as I was doing research for The Earth Moved.

"A University of Idaho graduate student recently found a rare giant Palouse earthworm. Yaniria Sanchez-de Leon is apparently the first person in nearly two decades to find a specimen of the worm, which can reportedly grow to 3 feet long.

She found the 6-inch white worm in May while digging at Washington State University's Smoot Hill Ecological Preserve near Palouse, Wash. The Palouse occupies an estimated 2 million acres of northcentral Idaho and southeastern Washington.

Earthworm experts who gathered for a workshop in Sanchez-de Leon's native Puerto Rico in November confirmed Sanchez-de Leon's identification, as did Northwest earthworm expert William M. Fender-Westwind of Portland, Ore.

"By earthworm standards, they're pretty cool," said James Johnson, the head of the university's Plant, Soil and Entomological Sciences Department."

The Seattle Times: Local News: Rare giant earthworm found in Idaho: