signs of fall

September 3, 2009 § 2 Comments

small signs of fall

A view of my feet at the park on a walk. There are just a few, but the signs of fall are starting to show. Maybe some of the leaves are changing color because it was so dang hot for so long and they are dying but I would prefer to think that fall is almost here. I think that we have had enough summer now. I didn’t do as much container gardening this year so I haven’t had much to say about that. I did successfully grow a handful of strawberries from the plants I got at the end of last summer. I moved my lavender plant this year too thinking I was giving it a better pot and good sun light. But apparently there wasn’t nearly enough sun. It never got very big and isn’t even flirting with sprouting buds so not really any lavender to speak of. I grew more flowers this summer, and managed to keep them alive with my meager watering schedule, but I can’t say they are picture worthy. However, the worms seem to be doing really well in their wood box. I’m sharing a lot of the compost with friends that have gardens and have received many nice donations of prolific herbs, cucumbers, and lettuce. Happy end of the summer!

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worms are a movin’ in

November 18, 2008 § 3 Comments

1-2-3 worm bin

Ta da! Here is the completed 1-2-3 worm bin. (Sorry about all of the worm talk Em.) I’m very pleased with the new box, it doesn’t even compare to the old one. I even collected leaves from around the neighborhood (it was leave pick-up day after all) and gave my little wormmies real natural bedding. They haven’t complained about the shredded newspaper, but it does get clumpy and matted. The leaves give it a nice organic feel too.

worm bin

This is the bin before the worms moved in. You can see the size compared to my Slogger foot.  The one inch holes are alternated on the bottom and top of the two sides for ventilation. The outside of the box is sealed with polyurithane varnish and the inside is sealed with gobs of mineral oil. I hope that the bin will last me years. My book said about 3 without finish and significatly longer with a finish. I harvested about 10 pounds (give or take, I’m not the best estimater) of fine worm poop- it filled the gigantic mixing bowl that a baby could sit in. I could see myself someday with two worm bins, then I could stager the composting in each bin and let the worms work it into nice vermicompost while the next one was just getting started.

I used the dump and hand pick method to seperate the worms and still rotting food from the finished compost. It was tedious and I didn’t want to leave any of the worms behind. Now that my new bin is so nice and big I think next time I will put new food on one side to attracts the worms over and harvest the finished compost from the other side.

The “Worms Eat My Garbage” 1-2-3 plan doesn’t include a lid but I like having a lid. So I used the extra plywood to make a lid with a lip on the inside so it will sit securely (inside is facing out in top photo). It’s also super heavy to keep out neighborhood goblins or other devious creatures. The squrriels dig in my pots but they probably aren’t strong enough to get into the worms. It also serves as a low bench next to the door. This will be the worms first winter and I hope they sunggle down into the middle and keep eating our food waste. I have a feeling we are going to get some white days this winter, that means paid days off for me if the schools are closed. Keep your fingers crossed.

1-2-3-worm bin

November 16, 2008 § Leave a comment

the begining of the worm bin

I started a new worm bin last weekend and I hope to finish it this weekend. I’m using the 1-2-3 box plan from renowned “Worms Eat My Garbage” by Mary Applehof. Note the sunshine last weekend. There is sun this weekend too, but there hasn’t been much inbetween.

Hand sawing was interesting from a huge piece of plywood, but worms do not demand precision. I think that they will like their new home even if it is a bit rustic. Almost anything looks better than a plastic bin with holes drilled in it. The worms have been thriving, in fact some nights when I put food in it looks almost solid with wigglers. The wood should alow them and their rotting envrironment to breath better. And, the dimensions of this box is better so it should be easier to keep the contents balanced. Check back soon to see the finished box.

worms on a plane

July 18, 2008 § 2 Comments

radishGarden fresh radishes from my containers. The ‘patio’ tomatoes are also flourishing.

Not as dangerous as snakes, but worms aren’t typical carry on baggage. The screener did a double take when they scanned my bag at the airport, but I didn’t have any problems with bringing my knitting needles on the plane and they didn’t comment on the bag of dirt and worms either.

I harvested worms from a compost pile (at 11pm in the dark with a windup flashlight) and brought them back to join my small worm community. I think that the 100 degree temps that we had earlier in the month killed off some of my original worms so the new addition was welcome. The new worms post-flight weren’t wiggling very fast when I sprinkled them on top of the bin contents but they seem to have adjusted since.

After the hot weather (which was two days after getting my worms) my bin was smelling like rotting garbage- and a bit like a local beer that tastes good but smells like a bad worm bin. The plagued of flies was also bothersome outside the front door. I read-up more about vermiculture in the classic book “Worms eat my Garbage” by Mary Appelhof and made some changes- drilled more holes in the bin to aerate, added more bedding over any exposed food, and but the worms on a diet.

Mostly I think there was too much food for the number of worms. Allelhof suggests weighing your food waste (and worms) to keep the balance of food to worms 1:2. I don’t have a scale yet but I think that I have a better start on the bin to reintroduce new food.

wigglers

June 24, 2008 § 7 Comments

wigglers

I am so happy my hands were shaking when I took these photos, or it was the honey I OD on this morning. Some of you might know that I have been day dreaming about set up my own worm compost for a long time now. I really wanted a nice wooden bin for them to live in but settled for the (free) plastic bin for now. There’s a lots to read online about vermiculture or vermicompost. Martha Stewart had a good article about how to set if up in the March ’07 issue. Treehugger also has a lot of good things to say about the process and how to get it going.

bin

1. Drill ventilation hole for the wormmies to breath.

bedding

2. fill 3/4 full with damp shredded newspaper for bedding (I watered the paper with a watering can)

my new pets

3. get worms: Red Wigglers (Eisenia foetida) or Red Earthworms (Lumbricus rubellus). They are available at many nurseries and online, I found some locally on Craigslist.

worms

4. that really is a little tiny worm in there, I saw it wiggle.

their first supper

5. Food for the worms. They eat produce and grains, everything but animal products and fats.

buring my food scraps

6. bury the food scraps around the bin so that the worms crawl around throughout the bedding.

worms nesting

7. The worms nesting in. I gently spread the worms and their castings around the bin after this photo. In theory they will eat the food and beading and then turn it into lovely poop. Obviously the process works because there were traces of newspaper and some uneaten food (avocado skin) in with my new worms. I hope I can keep a balanced environment for my new pets so I don’t having rotting trash outside my front door.

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