The Early Jailbird Get The Worm

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Friday, August 5, 2011 - 2:25pm

Florida inmates raise worms as part of horticulture program.

Florida's Hillsborough County Jail held its quarterly plant sale Friday morning.

Customers bought plants raised and nurtured by inmates for pennies on the dollar.

The inmates are part of the jail's horticulture program.

The money raised by the sales are funneled back into the program, but Friday's sale will pay for something different: worms.

The worms are used to create a fertilizer that, experts say, works more effectively than most chemical fertilizers.

"They do smell kind of bad," said Colin Frahley, an inmate participating in the program. "And I do like to wear gloves when I mess with them, but it's really not that bad. … It's dirt and worms eat dirt and dirt comes out the other end."

Allen Boatman instructs the horticulture program.

He said they've had worms to produce the fertilizer in the past, but there was a bit of an incident.

"I told the guys, while I was gone -- because I was absent that Friday -- to put the worms back in the shade," Boatman said. "Well, they put them on the side of the shade house that gets afternoon sun. In black buckets, by the time I got back, they were soup."
 

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