I know a worm guy. Not at the top of your list of people-to-meet? This one happens to be my husband, journalist par excellence by day and compost king on weekends.

CRR was a composter before composting was cool. More than a decade ago he decided it was important to recycle all the veggie and fruit waste that wended through our household, with two growing boys. He slapped a bucket onto the kitchen counter, which I surreptitiously replaced with a sleek stainless quart-size container that to this day is our first step toward the compost bins. Plural. Four of them, in various stages of breakdown, which he religiously turns and enriches.

Then there are the worms. He read about worm composting and really wanted to set up a worm bin. On the premises. I objected. He prevailed. After the requisite research, he ordered some premium worms from a worm guy in Alabama. Or Arkansas. Not sure it matters where; it’s the story that counts. He proudly talks about his worm “connection” and the production from the worm bins: Worm tea, which is the euphemistic description of the worm, er, waste. Remember “The Beverly Hillbillies,” a 1960s TV show where oil was referred to as Texas tea? Well, worm tea is the compost equivalent – compost gold, in liquid form. So worm tea fertilizes our vegetable garden, along with the worm solids, as well as the rich result of the multiple compost bins.

And he generously shares bottles of worm tea with our friends who garden. Frankly, it may count among the oddest gifts they’ve ever received, but…hey…a conversation starter, without a doubt.

The result of his composting mania is a garden plot so enriched by compost that our community garden neighbor, Brad, routinely comes by to admire how black our soil is, in an environment where yellow clay is the baseline. Proving that man, or CRR anyway, can rule an unruly environment.

CRR with a monster squash


Happy Father’s Day, to the father of my two sons.


Sandy Johnson is a journalist and a gardener, equally passionate about both. She lives in Alexandria, VA.  Visit her on her blog, Grassroots & Gardening