Tuesday, July 01, 2008
We always have the garden back up to snuff by the fourth of July. I am amazed at the things that survived with zero care, little water (it never rains in California, that's why it's on fire), and no light from being covered with weeds and vines in my absence.
A lot of plants did kick the bucket. We took the red geraniums and cracked them off and planted them all over the place. Free garden in an instant!
Good Afternoon, Sister. I find your blog both educational and entertaining! Might I convince you to tell us a bit more about your experiences with worm composting, please? I find that there is often a big difference between the theory behind something and the actuality of day to day life with, say, a bin of worms and trash.
Boy, you can say that again! I don't know how much I explained about the worm farm in the past. In a nutshell, I read somewhere that worm castings get rid of white fly. We are plagued with white fly. Buying worm castings in a bag is astronomically expensive. A one pound bag is over $40.
Hence the worm farm. Unfortunately as it happens, it takes 20,000 worms working day and night at least six months to produce a one pound bag of white fly killer. My dreams of ridding the neighborhood of the plague are long dashed.
I believe I have never mentioned actually harvesting the worm castings. To begin with, I hope we are all on the same page when I say 'castings'. We're not talking about worm skin, say, or bits of food of which the worms took a pass. Do we understand each other?
It has a funny smell. Just...funny.
One has to wait for the worms to eat everything they have been given, which takes forever. Then the worm farmer is supposed to open the top of the can and leave it open for awhile. The worms will abandon the top layer and mosey into the next layer, leaving the black funny smelling gold for the worm farmer to scoop out and use as fertilizer. It is THE best fertilizer AND it kills white flies.
I did that. Perhaps I was not patient enough in waiting for the worms to migrate. They certainly took their sweet summertime. At the end of the day, I gave up and start scooping out the stuff, still very full of worms. I got a worm bucket and and castings bucket going. Each and every scoop was full of worms. I meticulously them picked out. I figured I couldn't lose a single one, since it takes them so long to do their work. I can't afford to lose one pair of worm choppers. When I put them back in the can I felt as though I was putting escaped prisoners back into a labor camp. Eventually I left some in the casting bucket, justifying my new choice by telling myself that worms are also good in the garden. (They aerate the soil...and they still have to...cast.) No worms actually escaped. Poor things.
It took hours. I had a child's pail of castings. The size pail that makes a little sand castle.
For the rest of the evening, even when I was dozing off to sleep, every time I closed my eyes I saw worms wiggling in black goo. That was very disconcerting. Very, very disconcerting.
It did get rid of the white fly on the hibiscus.
The hibiscus was one of the plants that kicked the bucket this year.
What is the lesson here, besides sounding like the plot of a sixties movie? Remember that? There was a time when all movies had an ironic ending. Just when everything seemed okay for the hero, he would be randomly killed. Murdered, in fact.
Easy Hibiscus Rider. Electrahibiscus in Blue.
And the compost bin. Well...the bees abandoned it as suddenly as they came. I wish I would have known. I would have had some honey in the bargain.