Sunday, May 6, 2007

WORMS AND WORK

Well, this is the time of year that I get to spend the least amount of time in my garden. Most of my time is spent in other people's gardens, trying to make them beautiful. You would think that I would get enough of it during the week, that I wouldn't want to do it on the weekends. But at least through Spring, I am in my garden every weekend. In the evenings when I get home from work, I do take a stroll around to see what is blooming.
Yesterday it was the tree peony (Paeonia 'Shimanishiki'). I planted this one in 2003, and it has done very well. It blooms earlier than the common peony, is very exotic, and comes in many different colors. They also don't die to the ground like common peonies, they are like a regular shrub. They can be expensive, but are well worth it.
My two goals that I set for myself this season was Vermiculture, (a fancy name for raising worms), and chickens. I have raised chickens before for eating, but I want to try raising them for eggs.
Well, I have got the worms going. They are now consuming most of my kitchen waste. I tend to research everything to death before I get into it, and that is very easy to do with the internet, so after much searching I decided on the Can-O-Worms. It is a very neat setup, consisting of trays that can be stacked up as the worms eat their way through your garbage. It is made from recycled plastic, and looks like it should hold up for a very long time. The literature states that you can keep these in your home, but I placed mine just outside the back door. It will be moved to the basement in the winter, because the worms can not take the cold weather. You use red worms because they are the best composter's, so I ordered them also. The Can-O-Worms came weeks ago, but the worms just showed up this week. I guess that it was to cold to ship them any earlier. The little guys got right down to business, but they are shy and don't like sunlight, so when you lift the lid for a peek, they disappear into the bedding. The booklet says that they can eat about a half pound of food waste per day, so it may be difficult to keep up with them.
The beauty of the system is that there is a spigot on the bottom, so you can drain off compost tea. And after each layer is full of worm casting, you just add the next tray, and the worms move up, allowing you to take the first tray and use the castings in your garden.
The main reason that I wanted to try this, was that you can use the casting to make compost tea. I have been buying my 'starter' for my tea, so I think that the worms will pay for themselves over time, and I won't feel guilty throwing out all of those egg shells, vegetable waste, and coffee grounds. They love all of those things. You can even run paper through your shredder, they love that too.
So one goal has been accomplished. The chicken's are going to take a little more time. The shed is not ready for them, so I may have to put them off until Fall.

3 comments:

Robin said...

I have a tree peony that has never bloomed. I wonder why. It's larger this year and appears to be a healthy plant, but no buds in sight. Yours is so pretty. I wish mine would bloom.

Marc said...

I think you will really like your worms. I used to teach vermiculture to kids groups and I got to try many different worm bins. You have the Cadillac of them all! I would love to have a Can-O-Worms!

Good luck and keep us posted on their progress!

Carol said...

I love the tree peony and might try to grow one sometime, but I'll pass on the worms! (I did buy some bottled "worm poop" the other day, we'll see how it does.)