Archive for the ‘Worm Compost’ Category
I already had some small-sized tomatoes in my Winter/Spring garden (as you see in this post). I also mused on which of the larger tomato variety would set fruit first. I speculated it would be between Big Boy and Early Girl.
Big Boy had blossoms open first — but Early Girl managed to set the first fruit! (She just kinda snuck right in there.)
I have some surprising (to me) updates. And yes, I do plan to have a video walk-through, but I thought I’d wait until I actually had a little more going on — it’s always nice to be able to show larger tomatoes, rather than have to get super-close for the itty-bitty ones.
My first update is that I have my Isis Candy cherry tomatoes in the garden — I finally got around to taking them off my windowsill and into larger (temporary) pots in the garden. I actually ended up with four plants, instead of the three I mentioned before. But — I still do plan on an experiment when they get into their final homes.
The experiment involves two new humic acid products — TeraVite and Extreme Blend. I keep hearing that humic acid will help your plants (of all kinds) grow bigger, stronger, etc. So — may as well put them to the test! I was only expecting three I. Candy plants to grow large enough, soon enough. But…with four plants, I may throw in another test — one plant may get Miracle-Gro (I have a ton of it leftover, so may as well use it up) and the final plant will be the control.
Should be interesting!
I mentioned previously that my Black Cherry tomato plant was just languishing — wasn’t dying, wasn’t growing — just looking like it did when I planted it. Of course, a couple days after I said that, what do I see? The plant has taken off! It was so sudden that I wondered if someone had come in the middle of the night and put a new plant in its place.
(The “secret sauce” is worm compost tea, which I’ll talk about in another post.)
Another surprise was Big Beef. It had been going gangbusters, until I had to transplant it to another pot (which had been invaded by fire ants). It seemed to be OK at first, then just stopped in its tracks.
I guess the worm compost tea did some magic on it as well, as I see a small ‘mater on it — woo hoo!
I am very much looking forward to having some homegrown tomatoes. I have some lettuce growing (which has been delicious), but I need some delicious tomatoes, too! It’s hard to wait, but with any luck, the first of the cherry tomatoes will start ripening within about 10 days.
Worm composting is a way to generate worm castings. Why do you want to add worm castings to your tomatoes? Because they organically feed both the plants and the soil.
What Exactly is Worm Composting?
Worm composting is also known as vermicomposting, it’s a somewhat unusual way to recycle your kitchen scraps.
Basically, the worms eat the scraps, and after they have digested it, excrete the “leftovers”. These leftovers are called castings and they are a superb soil conditioner and plant fertilizer. Worms are amazing; they can eat almost their own body weight a day. Naturally you won’t have just a few worms; 500 is a good number to start with. More if you generate a lot of kitchen scraps every day.
Where Can You Vermicompost?
Worm composting can be done anywhere where the temperature is moderate and the bin isn’t in direct sunlight (in warm climates). You don’t want to cook your worms!
The best termperature for your hard-working worms is between 55 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. You don’t want the bin temperature to go below 50 or over 88 degrees Fahrenheit. This may mean you need to put the bin inside your home in a spare corner. Not to worry, once your worms have settled in and started munching, there is no smell, providing you haven’t overloaded the tray with scraps.
Getting Started with Worm Composting
To get started with worm composting, you’ll need some trays, bedding and (naturally) worms. Red wrigglers are the best worms for vermicomposting. To get some of these hard-working worms, you can try a local bait shop. No bait shop nearby? You can order them online, to be shipped to you.
Check with a gardening center to see if they have worm composting trays. If they don’t, you can easily order them online. You’ll want at least a 3-tray system, with 4 or 5 trays even better.
The worm bedding can be anything organic, like coir, shredded newspaper (black and white only; no color printing), sawdust, hay, dried leaves — anything to mimic the worm’s natural environment. The bedding should be very slightly moist, but not soggy or wet.
Add the kitchen scraps (shredded or chopped a bit so they are easier for the worms to eat) and let the worms have at it!
Here’s a neat article on worm composting to explain all the ins and outs of this novel way to compost.
You might have an organic garden shop near to you that carries worm composting supplies; if you do — great! Get your trays, worms and bedding and you’re all set.
If you don’t have anywhere locally to get your worms or supplies, check out some ideas below.
Here’s to your composting success!
Earthworm Castings (for those of you who would rather buy ready-made)