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Vermicompost

Discussion in 'Fruits & Vegetables' started by Mauldintiger, Mar 3, 2016.

  1. Mar 3, 2016
    Mauldintiger

    Mauldintiger Deeply Rooted

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    image.jpeg Last week I was showing some friends the worms in the garden, stuck my trowel in 4-5 different places, and there was a worm in every place I dug. The garden is no till with heavy mulch like this and there was a worm in every place I dug, sometimes 4-5. I don't use any fertilizer except grass clippings and my latest kick, free coffee grounds from the coffee shops.
    I did not add any worms, but I'm sure some eggs were in the castings I used last year since I put the castings in with every transplant so they were pretty much distributed over the whole garden.
    I decided that the sheet mulch was composting in place so well that I gave away my compost bin earlier this year. Now I just pull back mulch and put down my veggie scraps and cover them back up. No sense putting them in the composter, turning them, and then emptying the composter and moving the compost to the garden.
    I'm basically lazy and this method suits me just fine. Just now starting my third year with this method.
     
    Beekissed, Nyboy and Sam BigDeer like this.
  2. Mar 3, 2016
    Smiles Jr.

    Smiles Jr. Garden Addicted

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    For some reason I cannot get worms to stay in the gardens. We do not use chemicals other than typical garden fertilizer. Every time I have worked in these gardens I search for worms but find almost none.

    What do you think causes the worms to run and hide. I and other members of the family have dumped many redworms and night crawlers out there.
     
  3. Mar 3, 2016
    Nyboy

    Nyboy Garden Master

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    Hungry robins :hide
     
  4. Mar 3, 2016
    digitS'

    digitS' Garden Master

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    Adequate "worm food," @Smiles Jr. ?

    You have to wonder what worms like (love) in coffee grounds. Did you buy a bag of worm castings to use with your transplanting, Mauldintiger?

    I have the compost pile still going but it's very much like my "composting in place." Lots of gardeners till plants under in the fall. I do that but by digging out a bed and gathering all the frost-killed plants from 3 beds, an burying it in that 1 bed under about 8" to 10" of soil. This gives me nice soil for a couple of years and works okay with my rocky soil. There is lots of work food concentrated there.

    The "compost pile" is mostly below grade and I try to keep it capped with soil. It really looks like a garden bed but I don't grow anything there, except microbes ... It must be too warm and too often disturbed for worms.

    When I had more conventional compost bins and left material in them for 18 months, they were teaming with manure worms about 9 months into that cycle. The "compost in place" will have lots of earthworms just about anytime I dig into it - if I dig into it. Oh! And, all the winter kitchen scraps go into a garden bed as frozen ground allows.

    Steve
    worms are his friends
     
  5. Mar 3, 2016
    Smart Red

    Smart Red Garden Master

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    My garden has always had a lot of worms. No till is better for the worm population than digging everything up, and I tend to have soil soft enough that a light scraping with the hoe will remove most weeds and loosen the soil crust before planting.
     
  6. Mar 3, 2016
    Mauldintiger

    Mauldintiger Deeply Rooted

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    image.jpeg Steve, I bought them from a local online worm farmer called "worms etc." $10 bucks for I think 20 qts., picked up. I bought 10 bags last year, and don't think I'm buying any this year.

    Smiles Jr, as Steve said I am sheet mulching, which means I am constantly adding new organic matter. The trick is to balance the "browns" (straw and leaves) with the greens (grass clipping and coffe grounds) which add nitrogen. The worms are attracted to free food (mulch) and as long as I feed them they hang around and make babies really quickly, I believe they lay eggs every month or so in good conditions. Not only does the mulch feed them, it keeps the soil warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. They aerate the soil and their poop or castings fertilize the plants.
    The heavy mulch, combined with the worms aeration, keeps the soil from becoming compacted as well. This allows the roots to go deeper and wider as they feed the plant.
    Cover crops can also provide mulch, but since I keep mine in some sort of production most of the year I can't cover crop. I would definitely do it if I had more space.
    I don't fertilize (except mulch and coffe grounds) and I only watered about 3 times last year in July and August.
    There is some work involved in collecting and spreading the mulch, but I look at as free fertilizer and weed killer. This pic shows how lush it was last September
     
    catjac1975, digitS' and Nyboy like this.
  7. Mar 4, 2016
    Smart Red

    Smart Red Garden Master

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    That does look green and lush. By September things are usually stressed from little rain. That's why I LOVE mulch so much. It keeps the ground rich and moist underneath.
     
  8. Mar 4, 2016
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Garden Master

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    Could be your use of fertilizer...

    I'd try not using the fertilizer and instead use more organic sources of fertilizer~manure, green manures, etc. It will be healthier for your soil and for you...the heavy metals in the fertilizers are not anything you will want accumulating in your soils and in your root crops and certain brassicas, as these transfer right into your body when you consume of the produce grown there.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2016

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