Showing posts with label worms. Show all posts
Showing posts with label worms. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

In Two Short Weeks Gardening Will Become Everyone's Favorite Pastime!

For many Gardeners, waiting till the 21st of May is a ritual!

Garden centers all across the United States and Canada will be open for longer periods of time during that First Long Weekend and business will be brisk I'm sure!  Everyone knows that the chances of frost after this date is rare, so the plants you buy now will prosper without worry about weather conditions.



Everyone and their friends will be lined up to buy their bedding plants and vegetables that they plan on planting in whatever space they are gardening in.  

Did you know though, that you could be planning many ways in which to help your seedlings and bedding plants get off to a great start, right now?

How? 

Well let me take this opportunity to help you all become better gardeners and also become more ecofriendly too!

I'm sure that in your household there are many times through the week that you will be preparing eggs, either for breakfast or lunch or maybe in some wonderful baking.  Well, what do you do with the egg shells that are left behind from all this acitivty?

Don't throw them away!  

Egg shells are great in the garden!  


If you throw them away, you have lost a great opportunity to feed your plants naturally with what you have at hand.  I keep a metal bowl in my kitchen to catch all those egg shells.  It doesn't matter if I have shells from hard boiled eggs or from fresh eggs that I use in baking or frying.  They all go into the same bowl.  

You can keep some of the egg shells as they are and use them for potting up seeds, The shells will hold soil and you can water them easily, When you plant them in your garden the whole little shell pot goes into the soil.   I personally don't do this but you can without any problems!

When the bowl is full or I'm ready to deal with them, I take the shells and bake them for 30 minutes in an oven set to 350 degrees.  I do this to kill any bacteria (salmonella) that could be present, especially in the raw egg shells.  Once they have been baked, the shells become much easier to pulverize or to break into smaller bits.

You can use either white eggs or brown it makes no difference in the garden, just remember to bake them before adding them to your plants.



Now, here's the part that I really like.  Egg shells broken up in small bits like the ones in the picture above can be used around the base of your plants to keep slugs and snails at bay.  They really don't like the sharp edges of the shells on their tender foot!  

Eggs are a great source of calcium and your plants will thrive with that added natural fertilizer and it doesn't cost you anything more than the time to save, break, and bake them.  (Who knows, you might even use breaking up the shells as a therapy for anxiety during these times!)  

But that's not the only use that egg shells have.  If you love birds and have bird feeders in your backyards, add some broken shells into the feeders.  The birds will enjoy an extra treat and again you don't have to spend any money to give them this added bonus.  The calcium in the eggs is great for all outdoor birds.  

Is your soil a little too compacted?  Adding egg shells will act as a natural way to add some aeration to your soil mix too!  If you are like me and add worms to your garden beds, egg shells will feed your worms and the worms will feed your plants.  It's a win-win situation!  

Egg shells are totally organic and there is no need to waste them by throwing them out with the trash.  Do yourself a favor and start using them for the birds and the flowers and veggies that your are growing this year.

Add a worm farm to your garden this year if you really want to up the WOW in natural fertilizing!  I was amazed last year when I added worms to my balcony containers.  My tomatoes and cucumbers just went wild for the added benefits that the addition of the worms made.  

There are many different styles of worm farms available, or you can make your own by following the instructions on YouTube.

If you are looking for a finished worm farm set up, you can get one on Amazon right here!

This one is inexpensive and will do the trick quite nicely!


 


 If you need worms (the red wiggler ones), let me know I have thousands of them!

We need to become aware of ways in which to garden efficiently and with an eye to being as eco-friendly as possible.   Mother Nature is counting on us to do our part.

If you want to read more about worms and my garden efforts you can do that right here! Then you will understand why you need the red wigglers too!
 
Happy Spring to everyone and Happy Gardening too!
 





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Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Totally Natural Healthy Ways to Increase Your Garden's Growth - A Garden Review


It's mid-summer and everyone who has a garden is starting to reap the rewards of their spring labor.  Now I must confess, I did not do a whole lot of back breaking labor.  I live on the 18th floor of an apartment building and digging in the ground is not an option for me.  So I have three Rubbermaid Tubs on my balcony.  These are my "garden" and that is my space to grow my tomatoes and cucumbers.  




Don't go feeling sorry for me, I like it this way.  I gave up my "home garden" a few years ago, but missed my fresh tomatoes so much, I had to find a way to grow some higher up.  

When we first moved into the apartment, I tried to grow tomatoes in smaller pots (10 inch diameter), I would water, feed (with fertilizer) and talk to them daily.  I was somewhat successful that first year.  My husband would eat his balcony fresh tomato and say, "that was a lot of work for this tomato, you can buy them cheaper at the farmer's markets now that they are in season!"  

He was right, the first year, even though I did my best at caring for these plants, they did not produce anything that would have made a gardener's heart go pitter-patter!  Our garden produced a few tomatoes that we did enjoy, but overall we were disappointed.

Fast Forward to today:  My balcony garden has been expanded (no more little pots) and I have found the secret (I think it's the difference between the first year and now) to keeping my garden happy, healthy and producing more fruits than ever before.  


So do you want to Know What Made the Difference?

As a gardener (we share what works and what doesn't work) I will tell you!  I have NOT used one ounce, tablespoon, teaspoon or any other measuring device, of fertilizer this year!  Yet, I have already picked, eaten and enjoyed at least 10 cucumbers since the beginning of July, and countless cherry tomatoes!

As you can see in the picture above and the ones below, there is no lack of little tomatoes for us to enjoy in the next little while.



Our balcony garden has been prolific in producing these cherry tomatoes for our enjoyment.  I attribute it all to the help I have procured for my containers.  The "help" is totally organic, pesticide free, natural and abundant.

What is this help that I keep mentioning? 

Red Wigglers (they get all the credit)  have made all the difference in my containers this year.  

As I mentioned earlier, I have used NO chemical fertilizers in my containers this year.  A dear friend of mine (Cheri Kochir Salt (owner and operator of  Mobius8Organics.) and I have been trying our best to minimize our carbon footprint on the earth.  Many people are interested in doing this and have no idea where to start.  If you are a gardener, you could start right here.
 
In many discussions with her, I found that red wigglers can make all the difference in the world to your gardens (whether in the ground proper or in a container). Helping the earth to renew, means (for me anyways) not adding any extra chemicals and getting rid of organic wastes, without adding to landfills.  

When you have red wigglers in your containers you can do both of these things.  Red Wigglers love to eat all your organic waste (peels, cores, egg shells, coffee grounds, tea bags and even your paper products).  Yes you should read that list again (and it's just a small list, there is much more they could eat if you have an outdoor garden and compost heap.)
These are just a few of my "Red Wiggler" family, who are enjoying their home on my balcony!  I have uncovered them for you to see how these guys and gals (actually worms are both male and female scientifically known as hermaphrodites) work.  Their home usually looks more like this picture below:

Red Wigglers and earthworms in general do not like the light!  They work best in a dark, damp environment.  So, I make sure that they are happy by covering the soil surface with damp cardboard or my weekly newsprint flyers!  You can also see coffee filters with the coffee grounds still in them on the surface of the soil.  My worms, like myself,  seem to love coffee.......

Now the only absolute must that you have to maintain is a certain level of moisture in your containers.  You cannot let them dry out, or your earthworms will dehydrate and die as well.  So far in my experimentation this year, that has not been a problem.  I water regularly and sometimes the rain helps too.  My worms seem to be happy and multiplying without any further help from me.  

What do these worms do that makes the garden grow so well?

Earthworms and red wigglers in particular are prolific at eating  organic waste.  When they eat this waste, the worms then expel the waste(worm poop) and if your garden is in a container, this waste becomes part of the soil composition. Vermicomposting is the "proper name" for working with worms in the garden.  For you homesteaders who are looking for a cottage industry growing  worms and selling Red Wigglers for both fishermen and farmers is a growing industry (no pun intended).  Once you have your vermiculture set up, there is nothing more for you to do!  

The worms will provide you with deep rich soil, full of nutrients and depending on how you set yourself up, you may even have worm compost tea to feed your plants.  This worm tea (my version) is the best fertilizer you could ever want.  It's rich in nutrients, has no odor and your plants will thrive. This worm compost tea won't burn the roots of your plants either.  I have a set up on my balcony that allows me to enjoy collecting this worm tea and if you are interested you can do this too. 

Behind the picture of my worm tea, you can see my garden tower.  It has 50 different pockets to plant and a nice tower in the center to add organic waste without disturbing your plants.  There is a drawer at the bottom which collects all the extra water and worm tea (again my version).  The castings remain in the tower for your plants to thrive on.  You can watch a video here and see the difference between this and other vertical gardening options: Garden Tower 2 Project

There will be no need for Chemical fertilizers!  Chemical fertilizers, if they are incorrectly mixed  can sometimes do more harm than good.  Save yourself the time and trouble by using an Earth Friendly Natural Way to fertilize your plants. I know that this has made the difference between my first attempts at gardening 18 stories up and this year's attempt!  We've had a great year so far and I'm sure it will continue to prosper and grow well into the fall.

If you want to know more about Vermiculture or Worm Farming there are several really good websites and YouTube Videos that you can watch. 
Basic Vermicomposting or 
How to Compost are just two of the really good sites to learn from. 

If you want to get started you will need a good bin.  I use these ones for both growing my garden and I will use these for my worm farm too! 

My own experiment will continue in the fall as I try to bring my worms indoors so they won't freeze over the winter months.  I will let you know how it goes come spring of 2021.
 
Stay tuned there is more good sound ecological information coming up!



***All of the pictures in this Post are from my balcony garden, taken August 4, 2020.  




 




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