Okay. I admit it. I have a worm bin.

That’s the first time I’ve said it out loud.  I HAVE A WORM BIN!! 

You might be wondering where that came from?  Well, yesterday, I picked my first tomatoes.

These came from the bush Early Girl I caught on sale at Home Depot for a buck.  Since I didn’t grow it from seed, I don’t have a big emotional attachment to the fruit.  Plus…I know you’re not supposed to prune determinate varieties and this plant just plain confuses me.  It upsets my equilibrium.  I’m a train-to-one-stem kind of girl as far as tomatoes go, and this little plant is bushing all over the place.  But since it is putting on lots of fruit I’m going to try to understand her.

The three tomatoes turning red were growing almost on the ground, so I went ahead and plucked them.  Then after I cut the grass I saw the little green one on the ground.  That’s how I get to the “I’ve got a worm bin” declaration.

I harvested the worm casts from the worm bin yesterday morning (three gallon bags…hey).   Yesterday afternoon I was sprinkling some of the casts throughout the garden when my neighbor pulled up.  She is the anti-gardener, even though she’s got a double lot and a huuuggge back yard.   I’ve been trying to “inspire” her to plant something since I moved here, but she truly has no desire to be bothered with dirt.  None.   Zip, zero, nada.  The best I can take credit for is inspiring her to plant a few perennials in a little bed near her garage. 

I know she likes to fry green tomatoes, so I was thinking I’d give her the tomatoes I harvested today…after they’d been properly weighed and photographed, of course.   While we were talking she asked me what I had in my hand.  Me, in the spirit of full disclosure, which I just can’t stop myself from doing sometimes, I told her I call it extreme composting, that the bag had worm casts in it.  I went on to explain that you have the worms, you feed the worms your table scraps, the worms eat your table scraps, and then they poop and the poop is fertilizer.  Boy do I now wish I had said something like, “Oh, it’s just fertilizer.”    Full disclosure…it’s a curse.  The moment I said “worm poop,”  it was over. 

Hindsight being 20/20, I should have gone on to explain how plants are in the soil, worms are in the soil, lots of worms in your soil is a good indicator of the fertility of your soil because worms (and their poop) are helpful companions of gardens.  With a worm bin, you’re controlling the eventual output of worm casts instead of hoping the in-ground worms will deposit their powerful poopie fertilizer near the plants you want to grow.  There’s even a fancy name for the process.  It’s called vermicomposting.  You’ll find some interesting information on vermicomposting here.  

I think the only thing my neighbor heard was worm sh*t…on food…that you eat…and you want to give me some.  I gave her the tomatoes like I said I would, but I’m not sure they’ll get eaten.

Here’s a video that was on the Redwormcomposting.com web site that was made by Allison Jack showing some of the science behind why vermicompost is good for the soil.

Happy Gardening Extreme Composting!!




The life of a composting worm is sounding pretty darn good to me right now.  No worries about getting up every day and working to provide yourself the basic necessities of life:

  • Food-You’re given a daily feast, a smorgasbord that you can partake of as often as you like and a much as you like.  So what if you gain a few pounds.  Nobody’s going to say anything. 
  • Shelter-Some nice person brought you into their home and provides you with your own private wing on their estate complete with furniture and bedding.  And best of all, it’s rent free.
  • Companionship-You’ve got hundreds of potential mates to choose from…all day…every day…any time of the day. 
  • Preservation of the species-With all that “companionship” going on, the population doubles every few months, and that’s considered a good thing.

And it’s even okay to leave your sh_t all over the place…somebody’s going to come along and gladly clean it up for you.  They’ll appreciate your contribution to their organic garden.

Sounds like a perfect world…unless, of course, you end up in the home of a fisherman/woman.

Garden Girl Gives Guidance on Getting Green with Gourmands of our Garbage

Okay, Folks.  My vermicomposting wannabe-itis has just been validated by the Guru of Gardening herself, Ms. Patti Moreno of Garden Girl TV.  Remember the wiggly worm woes I had and how recently I felt I had the woes whipped and how I started preparing for the arrival of the little additions to the household?  Guess what the subject of her latest video is?� “How to Make Your Own Worm Bin.”

More proof that GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE!!!

Happy Gardening!!!

Wiggly Worm Woes Whipped!!!

It’s been quite on the gardening front around here because what can you do when there’s snow on the ground and it’s too early to start planting your seedlings?  You visit other peoples’ blogs, you think about getting back out into the yard, you start looking at new things to try that will make next season’s garden better…which leads me to the fact that I do believe I’m ready to start worm composting.

compost worms

I’m ready for my next little endeavor in the world of organic gardening. Vermicomposting. That’s the process by which you use worms, specifically ensenia fetida, to recycle your organic waste into “the world’s best fertilizer.” I feel a little like a mom preparing for the arrival of her adopted child…or her adopted decuplets to the 100th power.

Like all good parents to be, I’ve selected a bedroom for my new arrivals, a/k/a a plastic bin.  For the new worm adoptees, you need to put a few holes in the bottom of the bin so excess moisture can drain out, and around the top edge to allow oxygen to come in.  You need to select a dark colored bin because the worms don’t like light.  They don’t like light for a good reason…the ultraviolet rays can kill them.

I’m also getting new furniture for the newcomers, a/k/a bedding for the bin.  I started with the idea of using leaves because you find worms hiding out under leaves in the warm weather, but after researching, the most common bedding materials consist of shredded black and white print newspaper, shredded computer paper, shredded cardboard, saw dust, peat, coconut coir fibers.  Bedding consisting of all leaves is not suggested because they may mat down, so I’ll use a portion of leaves in the mix.

I want them to be happy in their new home, so I’ll keep their bedding wrung-out sponge moist.  I’ll keep them in their ideal temperature in the 50 to 70 degree range. 

As far as the menu plans for the new additions to the family, that part is easy.  I don’t even have to spend extra money to buy their food.  They’ll get fed vegetable waste, coffee grounds, used tea bags.   Not too much citrus and never, ever any meat or greasy products.   When I feed them their meals, I’ll cover their food with a couple inches of bedding to help keep uninvited guests from munching down on their dinner.  And since they don’t have teeth, I’ll crush some egg shells that they can use as grit to help them digest their food.

In exchange for all the accommodations I’m providing for the little wormies, they’ll do their fair share by providing castings for the vegetable garden, an 100 percent organic fertilizer free of pathogens because the pathogens are killed as the organic materials filter through the worms’ bodies.

They might even provide me with a cup of tea now and then with the drainage from the bottom of the bin, although there’s controversy as to whether this drainage is compost tea or undesirable leachate.  But your nose will tell you if you should use it or not.  If it smells bad, don’t use it.  If it smells okay, dilute it and use it to water your plants or vegetable garden.

And if they’re really happy in their new home, they’ll be making a lot of wormie love and producing eggs as often as once a week which will hatch from one to four baby worms (eggs hatch at temperatures of 65 to 85 degrees).  Those new babies will reach sexual maturity in three to five months and start the process all over. 

So, we have a win/win situation here.  They’ll get a nice new home with all the accoutrements of the well cared for worm, free from fear of being breakfast for the birds or bait for a fishing hook….well, I’m not sure about that one.  I do like to fish.  And I get to use their castings to boost the production in the veggie garden.

I’m looking forward to this next endeavor, and I’ve heard there may be a family up for adoption.  We’ll see how it goes.

Happy Gardening

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