Thursday, March 21, 2019

Worms


Today we celebrate worms. The red wiggler in particular. 
Red wigglers will eat your garbage, well your kitchen scraps, anyway. They are the worm of choice when it comes to worm composting.
Worm composting or vermiculture is an ideal way to dispose of kitchen vegetable matter. Matter that may otherwise end up in the garbage and headed to a landfill. Don’t throw it away give it to the worms. They will devour it and transform this ‘waste’ into garden gold.
There is no need to run outside to dump this material into the snow-covered compost bin where it will lie waiting for summer. Buy or build an indoor worm compost bin.
An indoor worm composting bin will turn your kitchen scraps into odour free nutrient-rich organic material that you can use in your garden or in small amounts added now and then to your houseplants.
You can buy a ready-made composter or build one. To build your own you will need, a worm box, redworms, bedding material and kitchen scraps.
Worm box:
You can use a wooden or plastic garbage can or storage box. Be sure to drill 3 holes (1/4”) in the bottom for drainage. As the worms eat your garbage, moisture is produced so you will need to place a container to catch this liquid, or one morning you will find an unpleasant puddle needing your attention.
This liquid is great for your houseplants so do not toss it away.
Cover the drainage holes with small rocks or gravel, about one inch of gravel at the bottom of the box will do the trick. Cover the gravel with a screen.
Moisten the bedding material. This can be shredded leaves, sawdust, newspapers or peat moss and fill the box about 2/3 full. You can add a ½ cup of finished compost to speed the process along at this point if you wish.
Now it is time to add the worms which you can order from a number of sources. Red worms are what you need not earthworms. There are a number of good online red worm suppliers out there, and if you do not want to build your own composter they can sell you worms and worm bins.
Cucumber peel, melon rinds, lettuce and coffee grounds are favourite foods.
IMPORTANT: Be sure to bury the scraps in the bedding in order to avoid attracting fruit flies.
Over time the bedding will disappear, and the box will become full of worm castings. The best way to harvest the castings is by placing fresh bedding and fresh scraps in just one spot. Then when the worms move in you can remove some of the castings. The castings may be used in small amounts on houseplants, or directly on the garden if the weather permits.
Be sure to keep the worm box 2/3 full and the worms and your plants will be very happy, until next week happy gardening.
The red wiggler is an earthworm and was last week’s featured garden friend.

Today, our focus will fall on three other types of earthworms. The earthworm simplifies the work, anyone who does not use synthetic substances, must do to maintain a thriving, highly-productive garden.

Earthworms inhabit can live in a wide variety of soil types but like, all beings, the healthier the soil, the healthier and more numerous the earthworms. Air and moisture are two elements all earthworms demand. Unlike people the earthworm does not lungs. They breathe through their skin. Like people earthworms take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide.

Moisture provides help with breathing but, if there is too much water and they will drown.

Besides, the red wiggler. There are three other common earthworms. They are:

Nightcrawlers: 8 to 10 inches long and the fisherman's favourite. 
Garden Worms: 5 to 7 inches long and found commonly in damp soils. 
Manure Worms: 4 to 5 inches long and found in manure rich soils. 

No earthworms in the garden? A garden without earthworms will not receive the wide number of benefits the worms bring. Earthworms move through the soil by tunnelling. This tunneling action allows air and moisture to pass easily through the soil, creating a healthy environment for plants. Tunnels retain water that the plants are able to ingest. The air passing through these tunnels enables the soil bacteria to break down organic matter within the soil. 

Like humans, sometime after consuming a meal, earthworms need to dispose of what they have consumed. The excrement the worm passes is small, say the size of a pinhead. Soil scientists and natural gardeners refer to the discarded product as castings. Castings make an excellent soil additive. Castings improve the soil’s ability to retain moisture. This aids plant growth. It also assists in the battle against pests and diseases that can ultimately harm the plant.
Allow fallen leaves to accumulate on the garden bed.
Add mulch to the garden bed Directly bury kitchens craps into the soil. I remember watching my father do this. The hole should be between 10 centimeters (3.9 in)-20 centimeter (7.9 in) in depth. Do this all over the garden, a different spot every time.

Follow these simple steps and the worms will come. A healthy garden is a worm-filled garden.
Mulch:
Mulch can also be applied on top of the garden’s surface. Mulching Tips:
1- Mulch is spread on top of the soil around the plants and along pathways. You can use, leaves from deciduous trees and shrubs, lawn clippings and sawdust as mulch around perennial plants.
2- For your vegetable garden use nitrogen-rich green materials, for example, lawn clippings and other green garden trimmings.
·        Do not put mulch too close to tree trunks Spread the mulch out to the drip line, which is the outer perimeter of the tree’s branches
·        Remove mulch or turn it under in the Spring as slugs and snails will see it as an ideal place to lay eggs.

The natural gardener knows a thriving garden requires garden friends, until next week, happy gardening.

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