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!!

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Wiggly Worm Woes

With summer slowly fading away and fall fast approaching I’m looking into something to help keep away the winter blues that are likely to come when you’re looking outside at bare trees and snow-covered ground. I’m toying with the idea of trying vermicomposting. Vermicomposting is the practice of using worms as living garbage disposals. You give them your food scraps (vegetable peelings, egg shells, spent coffee grounds, used tea bags, but no meats or fats), you can even give them paper products, and they give you super rich compost, a/k/a worm poop.

The concept is great: Another way to reduce your carbon footprint; keep garbage out of the landfills; make one of the best natural soil amendments for your garden. The only problem is I HATE the sight of worms. I look at them and they just creep me out.

So, what I’ve been doing is trying to desensitize myself to the sight of the lovely (yuck, yuck, yuck) worm.composting%20worms

I’ve been reading about vermicomposting and making myself look at the pictures on-line. There’s a ton of information out there. I found a very good instructional video on UTube explaining how to construct your bin, how to set it up, and how to maintain the bin once the worms are added. I also found an informative PowerPoint presentation with animations about the wonderful world of vermicomposting.

Everybody tries to build a better mousetrap, and everybody tries to build a better vermicomposter. Here are a couple of interesting versions I’ve found. They range from functional to chic to downright creepy.

If I decide to actually start vermicomposting, I’ll make my bin out of two storage containers. The one with the worms will sit completely inside the other one with absolutely no holes in it and a screen on top. That way if my new pets (yuck, yuck) escape, they’ll only be able to escape into the second bin. I’d hate to have escaping worms on my hands like the young lady featured in another UTube video.

I stopped by one of my old fishing places yesterday (yes, I love to fish). I met a guy who was fishing with red wigglers that he had stored in a potato chip bag. He told me that he dug them up right there at the park. Of course, economically savvy (uh, cheap) person that I am, a light bulb came on. Guess where I’ll be getting my compost worms?

You may be asking if I love to fish, how do I bait my hook? Do I bug everybody around me asking them to bait my hook? I used to…until I realized you weren’t too popular when you were making a fisherman put down his fishing pole to bait your hook and his fish got away during the process. So, what I do now is wear gloves, two pairs of gloves, one latex so no worm juice will get on me and one really thick pair so I can’t feel them when they start wiggling, understandably so, when I start stabbing through their flesh so I can try to satisfy my desire to catch the fishy, fishy in the brook. “Real” fishermen laugh at me, but I don’t care. After catching a few fish with large, slimmy, wiggly night crawlers, worms are just yuck now.

See…I’ve desensitized myself down to one yuck.

For those of you with pets, you might consider composting as a way to get rid of your pet poop. You wouldn’t be doing it to make compost as a soil fertilizer, you’d be doing it to keep the poop out of the land fills. Pet poop should never go into compost that will be used for growing plants for human consumption as it may contain undesirable pathogens.

That’s it for now.

Happy Gardening!!!!

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