Stories and green tips related to nature, adventure, placemaking, and food systems, written by a beginning farmer/gardener and seasoned sustainability educator who loves to grow, cook, ferment, and eat local and ecologically happy food.
Sunday, October 4, 2015
The worms live! & a garden update
I posted recently about the unfortunate death of many of the compost worms in my worm bin. In that post, I described finding a graveyard of dead worms and my attempts to rid the bin of an ant infestation. My attempt was successful, and there are no longer any ants in the bin! I am also excited to announce that the worms appear to be reproducing again, and I continue to find more of them in the bin each day. I was afraid that too many of them had died and that I'd need to buy more in perhaps a smaller amount than the first order, but after letting the worms be for about a week and feeding very small amounts of food, it appears they are doing just fine! I recently added a squash rind, some moldy peach chunks, and a pear core to the bin, and they seem to be enjoying the buffet.
This is what the bin looked like this morning once I took the lid and cardboard covers off. Every couple weeks, I have to add more newspaper, which I did after checking in on the worms.
They really love avocado skins, so I tend to put other small bits of food into the skins to provide them easy access to two food options to munch on.
The pear core that I added to the bin has gotten moldy, but from what I've read online this is normal and okay. To avoid mold, though, I read that I should cover food scraps with more newspaper.
This is what it looks like underneath that moldy pear core--worms enjoying a feast! That's a good sign since for quite a few days, I didn't see many worms eating the food I'd put in there.
These are some worms inside the squash rind. I scooped some of them out of their castings and put them into the rind so they would have quicker access to it. They seems to be enjoying it, and I imagine that once it begins decomposing more, there will be more of them munching on it.
After checking on them, I decided to add more newspaper covering. When I add newspaper to the bin, I first put a handful of shredded paper into a bucket.
Then I pour some water into the bucket--maybe a cup or so depending upon how much newspaper there is. Then I mix it all up in the water and squeeze it dry. It can be challenging to pull apart the wet newspaper to add to the mix, but it's important that it still be separated into strips so that it can act as a cover and not just a soggy ball of newspaper.
This is what the bin looked like after adding a couple more avocado skins and damp newspaper to the top.
I also added some dried leaves from the garden bed into the bin, and then put the cardboard on top. The cardboard, which is slightly damp, helps keep everything well covered and dark for the worms. Then I put the lid to the bin back on and let the worms be. I probably won't check on them again until tomorrow morning, and I probably won't add any more food for a few days unless they get through the small bits I've added in the past day or so.
Some plants in the garden have grown up a lot lately, such as these seedlings that I believe are arugula plants.
One of my nasturtium plants is really growing well.
The sunflowers continue to grow quickly and are creating their own shady corner of the garden. I hope the angelonia is okay with getting a bit less sun with these sunflowers towering over it.
The mystery bulbs continue to be a mystery. In a previous post, I said that perhaps I had planted bulbs there, but now I'm pretty sure I didn't. The container below is where I planted bulbs from a gift flower I had received in April. There were two bulbs from that original plant, and I'm seeing two sprouts in the container, so I must have planted them both in the container. In the garden where the mystery bulbs are growing, I'm seeing 4-5 shoots, making me think that someone must have planted bulbs there in the past. They are somewhat crowded next to the sunflower plants, so we'll see how well they grow. It's been fun watching one of them sprout up and unfurl in the interestingly veined leaf above.
The bulbs I planted in this container are sprouting.
Above are some of the mystery bulb sprouts coming up next to the sunflowers.
Cilantro growing in the tomato and basil container.
They chrysanthemums in the garden are doing great and add a nice touch of color to the scene.