Worms, and Deer, and Dogs, Oh My!

We’ve had a string of beautiful, sunny days around here; something you just don’t see in our part of the world in the spring time.

And we have been making the most of it. The MR spent endless hours last week putting together two stone (OK, fake stone/concrete but nonetheless beautiful) garden beds. This weekend, he went to town moving more dirt and power washing all the windows. Before he got too busy, I asked him to help me by moving the giant worm bin outside onto a tarp.

I was quite surprised when he asked for help in moving it, but that thing is heavy. So out went the big blue bin to the tarp, and I began dealing with my worms. After almost a year, I figured it was time to harvest castings and sprinkle them around where they could do some good. The dogs were oh so intrigued.

Worm Bin Undone

I emptied the bin onto a large tarp and decided to clean out all the sludge that had accumulated at the bottom. Even with regular removal of warm juice, the bin was quite soggy.

Worm Sludge

The first place I went was to the garden beds down below; they could use some nutrients. Since it’s a steep hike, I didn’t add any water to dilute the sludge.

Sludge in Garden

Then I brought the bin back up to the driveway and had Baby Girl rinse down the sides with the hose. Next, the flower beds around the front got a little fertilizing. I even held the wood supports in the planters, and BG hosed them down washing nutrients into the soil.

Now, it was time to reload the bin with worms and the scraps that still needed a little more time. I started by removing the large obvious bits and found an interesting pattern. The worms have a hard time eating a stack of egg shells. I started putting them in a bucket to throw out, but realized tons of worms were in each of them. My plan is to start crushing shells and pulling them apart before putting them in the bin. I also found quite a few avocado skins. I tend to stack those, too. Separating them, and cutting them up seems like an easy change. The last thing I found that totally surprised me was tiny strips of cellophane. I’ve been covering the food waste with shredded paper, some of which may have included envelopes with plastic windows. You’d be amazed how many hundreds of little clear strips I found. There will be no more envelopes in the shredder for me.

After I’d put the egg shells, avocado skins, and a few soggy clumps of shredded paper back in the bin, I needed to deal with the worms. I’m surprised at the metamorphosis I’ve gone through. Last year when I ordered my shipment of worms and made their new home, I was OK with them as long as I didn’t have to see them. But I’ve been feeding and caring for them for a year now, and it makes me quite happy to see them eating my food scraps.

So Saturday, I made the final leap. As I separated worms from castings, I’m amazed to say, I spent most of the afternoon scooping up piles of worms with my hands. You see worms don’t like light. If you put a pile of castings out in the sun on a tarp, the worms are supposed to find their way to a damp spot on the bottom and you can simply scoop the castings off the top and put the worms back in your bin.

Sometimes they were closer to the top than I wanted…. It’s all good. I’ve got a pile of worm castings to add to my garden, flower beds, and tomato pots, and a few rogue worms to send home.

Castings

Sunday after church, I decided it was time to actually plant something in those garden beds and make use of my lovely worm castings. So I made some seed tape with toilet paper and white glue. I read Martha Stewart’s directions ages ago, and totally forgot how to do it. Google found me The Evolution of Home’s directions. It was so easy. Usually, the soil is damp, my hands are cold, and my tiny carrot seeds wind up way too close together. It definitely solved all those problems, and Cocoa has a habit of chewing up toilet paper, so we had plenty to work with.

Seed Tape Supplies

It’s just a matter of putting a tiny seed on a dab of glue. I made three strips of seeds–two carrots and one lettuce–as long as my table, and called it good.

The Process

Then I cut them apart, and it was time for planting. First I made a few furrows in my gardens beds with my trusty hoe (the MR bought a “Winged Wonder” for me for Valentine’s Day ages ago and it’s amazing).

Prepping for seeds

Wait, wait, wait, let’s back up a moment. Remember how I dumped worm sludge on the beds? Well, they turned into crusty hardened gunk.

Dried Sludge

Next time add water, sprinkle and work in rather than just dump it on. Once the furrows were in place, I added my fancy seed tape.

TP in the garden

I sprinkled on a little dirt, and then added some castings. You could just barely see the toilet paper, but the MR did ask what in the world I’d done this time. He is a patient man. While I tried to keep my worms at home, some just wanted to be free. There’s debate as to whether they can live in the wild, so I do my best to keep them in their bin, but I can’t save them all.

Worms in the Wild Collage

Since no rain is in the forecast for the next week, I think I’ll water these in and the TP will totally disappear.

So that covers the worm part of the title, but you may be wondering about deer and dogs. Well, we’ve been seeing a lot more deer lately. Last week, BG was doing the dinner dishes when she spotted them at the fruit trees, and we called out the dogs.

Since I was passing close to those trees on my endless journeys back and forth to my garden, I decided to check them out. They look pretty good. I did spot some chewed leaves, but I’m actually more worried about the diseased leaves on the pear tree.

Chewed leaves

After checking out worms, chasing deer, and playing ball with the MR, the dogs are dead tired each evening. They love this time of year.

Dog Tired 2

And we love it, too.

Spending time outside lately? Animals going wild around you?

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2 thoughts on “Worms, and Deer, and Dogs, Oh My!

  1. Wonderful blog……………….you got a lot done last weekend!!! What a fun time. I loved planting…….oh, and it seems like my wind blown tomatoes are surviving. Very exciting.

  2. Pingback: May Recap | bigwhitehouseonthehill

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