September 26, 2008

Flower MASTER Thanks to the Worms

I have been raising some mean cana lilies this past growing season. Their bulbs looked like purple radishes with thin tan tentacles and a thick stem piece in the center.

When I planted them in May, I mixed the dirt with worm castings because the soil was kind of a clay/gravelly combo. (I didn't have all that many castings then, so I wasn't overly generous.)

Even though the weather is getting cold, my canas think it's the middle of July:
That worm poo made them look like a MASTER gardener was shacking up at my house (for those of you approaching my house from the correct side, of course) instead of a MASTER worm farmer.

I have been advised that because of the climate in my part of the world, I'll need to cut them down after the first frost and pull out the bulbs. They'll need stored in a cool dry place, but not too cold and not too dry. If they get too moist, they'll sprout or grow a nasty mold, and if they get too cold I guess they just die.

These canas require quite the balancing act.

Wait til next growing season! Not only will I have ample worm castings to nurture fantastic flowers, but I have dreams of a berry garden of epic proportions in my head.

 If you have any berry growing advice, let me know.

September 12, 2008

As the Bin Turns

The concept of the worm wigwam bin is to feed in layers, and then cover each layer of food with a few inches of peat moss and shredded newspaper or cardboard.

By the time all of the layers reach the top of the bin, you can give the handle on the side of the bin a few turns and all the good, soil conditioning poo will get sifted out to the bottom.

You lift off the "door" and collect the poo. The pile consequently goes down in the bin, and you continue the feeding/covering/sifting cycle.

The time needed to get to that first handle crank is kind of a mystery since I didn't begin with the prescribed pounds of worms. They suggested 30, I started with around 10 and probably have a little more now- we'll say 15 to 20.

With their suggested amount, they estimated the first crank should occur at 90 days. I estimated mine would take about 120 days- I started in mid-May, so that puts me around.....right about soon.

You can see the crank on the side and the trap door where you can get the goods out:worm wigwam
Here's the height inside when I started:inside of worm wigwam
Currently, my herd is about a foot from the top:worm wigwam
I estimate the first crank in about a month, which puts me a few weeks behind- but, whatever! I guess worms aren't an exact science!

In other news, a friend forwarded me a really cool blog written by her friend's little brother, Jake. He is also environmentally friendly, and sells some nifty handmade stuff, too. Enjoy!

September 6, 2008

The Last Splash of Summer!

Please excuse this mostly non-worm entry today about one of my dogs favorite days of the year!

Animal Friends held their Last Splash of Summer today at Sandcastle. I don't like to brag, but I mooched the idea for this event a few years ago from The Beach Waterpark in Cincinnati and pitched it to an event person for Animal Friends while attending their Mutt Strut. They totally went for it, and now it is in its fourth year, hooray!

I love love love seeing the waterpark being taken over by dogs- especially mine. Benj adores swimming in the pools, but even more, he loves tearing around the deck and checking out the whole scene.

Here's another of him getting in some serious lap time.

If you didn't make it to the Last Splash of Summer, be sure to check out their other animal events, gatherings, classes, etc., or drop them a donation so they can continue their compassionate no-kill mission.

In creepier news, the worms are less than a foot from the top of the Wigwam, I am so geeked! As soon as the feeding/casting pile gets to the top, I can give that special handle a crank and the good stuff will fall to the bottom for collection. Then I can I finally begin production on what will be the most wonderful organic soil conditioner items in the WORLD.

Until then, patience is key and it's more feeding and watering.

Here's to hoping you got your LAST SPLASH of the summer, too!