Garden Update 8.6.13–Worm Soup

I had a lovely weekend in sunny Puerto Vallarta with with my brother, his wife and daughter, the MR and the girls. Five days away from home in the midst of harvest season would be difficult, but since nothing’s really ready this year, I figured the automatic sprinklers would do the trick and we needed a little down time.

I was experimenting with floating row covers and was excited to check the results when we got home. Last week, I was using covers to outsmart the bunnies, squirrels, and birds and was hoping a few days away would have wrought some kind of miracle. I’m going to have to say, the covered lettuce (on the right) is a lot bigger than the lettuce on the left.

Lettuce Collage

They are far from the harvesting stage, but I covered them back up and am hoping for next week. The beans are a different story. They looked about the same as when I left them, and the ground around the plants appeared to be a little dry, so I decided to forgo the covers for now. They’ll soon be taken over by the pumpkins and squash, so I’m giving up on them for this year.

Garden Collage

I’m excited that the cucumbers are beginning to climb their trellis and the Knucklehead pumpkin is in blossom. The tomatoes on the deck are also continuing to produce.

More Tomatoes

It’s sad but true that the blackberries we do nothing at all to encourage–the MR is constantly at war with them–are totally thriving. I do love them enough to enjoy the wall of brambles below the tennis court and the thickets that line the meadow. I breakfasted on tomatoes and berries this morning, and we’ll be picking berries through September, but why can’t anything else thrive?

Blackberrie have begun

The flowers we added around the deck haven’t turned out quite the way I planned.  Cocoa likes to scramble under the wire and has flattened one of the lilies and squashed a delphinium.


I have to remember to pick the flowers she knocks down to add to my bouquets. I’m surprised the vine we bought the MR for father’s day hasn’t begun twining.  Although covered in blooms, it’s really quite compact. That’s one of the dangers of going with an unknown beauty.


Late morning, after I’d surveyed the garden, the flowerbeds, and the orchard, I ran into Baby Girl in the garage, and we decided something was seriously wrong out there. Our housesitter had put the dogs in the garage while he was at work–Cocoa really likes to chew up random things when left to her own devices, but I didn’t think it was them.  I decided to do a little investigating.

Baby Girl was taking a few buckets of castings down to the garden for me, and I decided to transfer a few extra worms to the smaller worm bin. I received the first shock when I took off the lid and found masses of worms. At first I was pleased with their abundance, and then it hit me they were trying to escape what was below.

Nothing had been coming out of the drainage spigot for a while, and I’d just put off doing anything about it–trouble. Stinky, genocide, worm soup trouble.  Maybe if I’d been home, I’d have noticed, but I wasn’t, so I didn’t. At least the worms were smart enough to head for the top to escape. If you don’t like worm photos, go ahead and scroll down a ways.

I wound up with three trays of soupy sludge and dead worms.

Dead Worms

Since this stuff smells truly foul, I decided to get rid of it close to hand and dumped it on our lawn that could use some organic material.

Spreading it around

I just emptied the trays, raked the contents around, and then added any large food scraps back to the top tray to start the process all over again. The great thing about using the worm sludge on this spot is that I had easy access to a hose and could just spray down the grungy trays. The area is flat, so all those good worm minerals aren’t going to just run all over the driveway.

I took extra care to clean out all the goop in the bottom tray.

Standing Juice

While the dogs didn’t feel bad for their lost worm brothers, they were quite interested in the sludge and bits of decayed food. Now the worms I have left will live like kings. You should see the pile of carrot greens I gave them from the farmers market. And the next time that drain stops working, I’ll be quick to investigate.

It was a lot simpler last year when I had a few tomato plants on the deck and hills covered in blackberry vines. I just have to hold the course and trust that someday we’ll harvest more than a few cherry tomatoes.

Killed any worms lately? Put off a chore that caused big trouble?


5 thoughts on “Garden Update 8.6.13–Worm Soup

  1. Sorry to hear about the worms! :0) Otis would have been in dog heaven if he could have rolled in all that yuck! From the looks of the pictures, Mexico was a beautiful place to get away to for good times & lots of memories.

  2. Thank goodness for “next year”. It always returns and gives the diligent hopeful even more hope. Glad the worms were contained, and not out eating your puppies. Ick.

  3. Pingback: August Is Over Already? | bigwhitehouseonthehill

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