Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Worm Whisperer......

If you have been following me for some time now, you know that I have a desire to beautify my surroundings; particularly my garden areas.  In the complex that we currently live, we are subject to Strata Laws which are the equivalent of a "Home Owner's Association" in the states.   If you have ever lived in that type of a situation, you know that it can be very restrictive at times leaving one to wonder who REALLY owns your home.  With that in mind and having been informed of a change of Strata companies in our long absence, we decided to seek permission to continue our flower garden outside.   It was granted......YaY!


We have been having terrible problems with our Rhododendron that has just about killed them off while we were away.  So, I have decided to do some composting to help remediate the soil for Spring and hopefully we will not have to pull them out of the ground.  First line of defense,  The Worm Factory 360. I ordered this earlier in the year and had intended to take it to the states with me, but the car was too full.


I was excited to open the box and get started on the setup.  Since I had one in the states, it was going to be easy to get this one up and going....


It is a fairly complete kit with all of the things that a person would need to get a healthy compost bin up and running.  Mine is going to be kept indoors, so doing it properly is important.  The kit comes with some shredded paper, pumice, and I threw in some crushed egg shells to help keep the ph levels in the safe zone.


They also include some coconut coir which is the brown square at the top of the screen, a scraper, aerator, container, four perforated trays and a DVD that explains how to set things up and what the composting worms will need to be productive.


They also included a thermometer to keep the little creatures happy......


The coconut coir has to be soaked in water for it to expand.  It becomes almost 4 times its original size. I  I soaked mine for 24 hours.



After the soaking is completed, it has to be wrung out to the wetness of a wrung out sponge, mixed with a handful of pumice rock, shredded newspaper and the eggshell.  Sheets of paper are placed in the bottom to keep the contents from falling through and the mixture is placed in the tray.


Next thing to do was to get the Red Wigglers or Eisenia Fetida to start munching away on some food that had been sitting and naturally composting in a container for them.  Here is a picture with everything mixed into the tray.


Below is a picture of some finished compost from my system in Oklahoma.  This is the material that I hope to have by next January.


If all goes well, I hope to be able to save what is left of my garden that was left unattended during our stay in the states.  My next request from the strata will be for the use of some space that may have been abandoned to start a square foot garden.  I would like to plant some vegetables for myself and also to give away to a local food bank or a shelter for the homeless if possible....:-). Hopefully, I won't have to have a license to do this.

13 comments:

Scootard said...

My Little Farmer. Who would have ever guessed it, an Apostolic Scooterchick, Farmer and Chef. I among all men am truly blessed. As long as you have me to touch the worms that is.....

Loving life with you and looking forward to putting some of that top quality "worm poo" on the garden come spring...

Helen Marie said...

Yes you are THE worm whisperer :)...Hats off to you AP for your part in beautifying our earth. Hopefully the strata will see the potential of having that square foot garden too.

Patricia Carpenter said...

hahaha....THanks, Christo....:-)

Patricia Carpenter said...

Thanks, Helen. and Thank you for taking care of my little worms while I am here in Canada. I hope to have as good a "herd" here as we have there in Oklahoma!

Patricia Carpenter said...

Thanks, Helen. and Thank you for taking care of my little worms while I am here in Canada. I hope to have as good a "herd" here as we have there in Oklahoma!

Trobairitz said...

Mmmm worm casting are some of the best fertilizer too. I've thought about trying out worm composting too.

If you are having trouble with rhodies take your coffee grounds and spread around the base of the plants. They are acid loving and the grounds help. That really helped ours this year.

This works for azaleas, roses and blueberries too.

bob skoot said...

Christo:

I am not a fan of worms, so you had better stick around. I hope you don't trick me with "worm burgers", I mean, how would I know.

bob
Riding the Wet Coast

Patricia Carpenter said...

Hi Brandy,

I knew about coffee, grounds around the garden, but never knew or considered that it might help the Rhodies. I'm not sure of how much to use. They are not big bushes at all.Maybe two feet by two feet with one being smaller than that.

Patricia Carpenter said...

bob,

THat is too funny! I have only touched one or two over a 6 months period of time...ha. Chris does the touching part if we need to do that for some reason.

Deb said...

I find this interesting. I did not know you could buy a kit like this.

When I lived out on the farm a neighbor and I tried to set up a "worm farm" out in a ground box. We used coffee grounds, egg shells, and so forth but alas, our worms did not flourish!

Reading your post we probably did not have the pH correct for the poor critters! We labored in ignorance, really.

I would like to try your idea when I move back to the country!

May your worms be happy and fruitful!

Patricia Carpenter said...

Hey Deb!

I'm new at this. I started one about 7 months ago and it is thriving! I left it in Oklahoma and have been walking my assistant through taking care of things until I get back. It is really quite easy! If you are thinking of getting back into it, let me know and I will be glad to help out.

Deb said...

Just checking in to see if you have had any "worm action" in your "worm farm"!

Anybody stirring around?

Patricia Carpenter said...

Hey Deb,
This has been an interesting journey. I had never had any that came in manure. So, this was different, but it is working out ok. When I first got this second batch here in Canada. They came complete with some other little critters that had to be dealt with since my bin is indoors. But all is well now! Going just fine. Let me know if you want to start again. Maybe I can give you some pointers and help you get things going again!....:-)