Thursday, January 29, 2009


Justin and Will helped fertilize the garden today with some fresh worm castings. Why worm castings?

According to
1. The humus in the worm castings extracts toxins and harmful fungi and bacteria from the soil. Worm Castings therefore have the ability to fight off plant diseases.

2. The worm castings have the ability to fix heavy metals in organic waste. This prevents plants from absorbing more of these chemical compounds than they need. These compounds can then be released later when the plants need them.

3. Worm Castings act as a barrier to help plants grow in soil where the pH levels are too high or too low. They prevent extreme pH levels from making it impossible for plants to absorb nutrients from the soil.

4. The humic acid in Worm Castings stimulate plant growth, even in very low concentrations. The humic acid is in an ionically distributed state in which it can easily be absorbed by the plant, over and above any normal mineral nutrients. Humic acid also stimulates the development of micro flora populations in the soil.

5. Worm Castings increase the ability of soil to retain water. The worm castings form aggregates, which are mineral clusters that combine in such a way that they can withstand water erosion and compaction, and also increase water retention.

6. Worm Castings reduce the acid-forming carbon in the soil, and increase the nitrogen levels in a state that the plant can easily use. Organic plant wastes usually have a carbon-nitrogen ratio of more than 20 to 1. Because of this ratio, the nitrogen is unavailable to plants, and the soil around the organic waste becomes acidic.



Will Feeding The Plants

Will also picked some greenbeans off the trellis. We have been getting enough for a side dish about every 3 days. Our crop slowed down for about a week because of the freeze, but it seems to be picking back up again. A bunch of the leaves got burned by the freeze, but the plants are still alive with the exception of the cucumbers which are rotting now.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009


We had our first real cold snap last night and the temperature got down to 35, and lower with the wind chill. Unfortunately we did not have the garden protected, and we may have gotten some frost bite. Tonight is supposed to be even colder.
In order to protect the plants we borrowed some "cold cover" from Mike Cartrett (
Wesley, Shoma, Haley, and Alan helped me (Bekah) cover all of the plants and anchor it down.

Now our garden should be safe from the freeze tonight.

Thanks everyone for your help!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Bean Pole

The green bean plants are tall enough now for the kids to reach from their equipment or while standing! This is Ari helping to harvest the beans today.

We got a great harvest today with some really tasty green beans!

These bottles have beet plants and turnip plants. The red plants are beets and the green ones are turnips. We planted the root veggies in the clear bottles so we can see them growing underground when they get bigger.

Friday, January 9, 2009

A Winner is Named

The worms made it through the Winter break without incident! They are doing very well, and have really reduced the amount of waste in the green buckets. The buckets were almost full before break, and now they are down to about half. Some more good news is that there is no smell with the indoor setup, and no unwanted guests.

Now the outdoor experimental bins are a different story! The bin with just paper has a couple of worms still left alive, but the worms are not able to make anything useful with the paper. Basically they made piles of casting-shaped newspaper beads.

The combination bin (food and paper) was pretty nasty after the two weeks away. The worms had created a sludge out of the food and paper, and most of the matter is now unrecognizable. This would be great for the garden except that there were also hundreds of fruitfly families including cocoons, maggots, eggs, and the flies. YUK! The worms are really doing well though, and reproducing rapidly. There are too many baby worms to count.
Click to enlarge (but not right after lunch)

So here is my plan (unless anyone has any better ideas). I am ready to call the combination bin the winner. The question is what to do with the worms and babies. I can't bring them back to the main bin because I don't want to risk getting fruit flies inside. Ewe. I picked out as many adult worms as I could find with a plastic fork and put them in the 'newspaper only' bin. Then tried to get a few of the babies out too, but they are so tiny. I plan to leave the babies in the sludge until they are big enough to pick out. In a few weeks I guess I'll just dump the rest of the sludge into the garden for the plants.

Happy Worms Breaking Down Our Leftovers