Sunday, July 31st, 2016
About 6 months ago, I got into a discussion with a Master Gardener that had come over to purchase some worms. I showed her the pineapple plants that I had successfully overwintered (The tops came off of store bought pineapples). She said, “You can grow the plants here (Northern California), but you cannot get them to fruit”.
I thought differently. Most plants, as long as they are thriving, will eventually produce fruit. Look at how cute my little pineapple fruit is!
How do I keep my plants thriving? Worm Castings!
Now, worm castings alone will not keep a pineapple plant alive through the winter. What I did was put the container next to my house all winter. The heat from the house radiated just enough to help this pineapple plant survive the cold. We have moderate temps in San Jose, but they are nothing like Hawaii, the home of the pineapple.
Everyone that sees the stuff that I grow says, “You have a green thumb”. They should say, “You have a black thumb”….the color of my Worm Castings!
Thursday, January 9th, 2014
Love rich earthy Humus? No, this isn’t the stuff you spread on Pita, but it is the stuff that is WONDERFUL for worms and plants. Typically, Humus takes months to produce from traditional compost. Here’s a quick and easy shortcut: Fill a garbage can half full with dried leaves. Use your weed eater to shred thoroughly. Spread this mixture over the top of your soil and it will turn into humus very quickly!
You cannot buy this stuff from the garden center at any price!
I hope you find these Tips enjoyable and educational. Feel free to share with your friends and neighbors. I ask only that any reproduced information be properly linked to this website.
Sunday, December 5th, 2010
This has absolutely nothing to do with worms, but it has everything to do with saving the earth! Check it out and let me know what you think. I believe you will agree this is VERY cool!
Friday, November 26th, 2010
What’s my latest passion? Learning everything I can about gardening. Not just any type of gardening, but also cool and interesting exotic fruits and vegetables that can be grown in our California Mediterranean climate.
Using Worm castings has defenitely accelerated the gardening experience…once you use some Worm Dudee on you plants and see the results…you’re hooked.
Here are some interesting pH facts. Just a reminder, the pH scale is logarithmic (And counterintuitive), so a substance with a pH of 5 is ten times more acidic than one with a pH of 6.
Check out the pH level of some of these items.
8.5 Baking Soda
7.5 Human Blood
4.5 Tomato Juice
1 Battery Acid
If you’re wondering how these pH numbers have anything to do with raising worms, remember my recent Worm Inn post where I’m currently composting 36 apples! Updates coming!
*From the book, Organic Gardening for Dummies
Thursday, August 26th, 2010
Funny story. A couple of weekends ago we had some friends over. They brought their little girl with them. As they walked around the backyard and saw my huge pumpkin plant, the girl told her mom, “I wish we had a pumpkin patch like this”!
We literally do have a pumpkin patch this year. Will likely produce two dozen large pumpkins out of an area about 15′ x 6′. This is the same area that my Alabama Jumpers have been raised in. Think there is a correlation between healthy soil and impressive plant production? I’ve got no doubts.
Sunday, February 28th, 2010
Anyone that has ever raised worms and used gorgeous, rich castings knows that Mother Nature does things best!
So, now that you’ve started your worm bin….what else can you do to help out your garden? How about attracting some FRIENDLY BEES to help pollinate your healthy plants that have been fed your worm castings.
Everyone knows that Bee’s are ESSENTIAL for plant pollination.
Most people have no idea that there are MANY different types of Bees.
Let me introduce you to a Bee that you will be EXCITED to have around!
Non Swarming: The Mason Bee, Osmia Lignaria, also known as the Blue Orchard Bee is a soitary bee. This non swarming, efficient pollinating bee will work magic on your plants. The Mason Bee is nicknamed “The Friendly Bee”, and is known for it’s gentle nature. Research says Mason Bees will not sting unless completely provoked (Squeeze one in your hand and you may get stung), but even when provoked, their sting feels more like a mosquito bite, then what one normally associates with a honeybee sting.
Efficiency: You will not get honey from these bees, instead, 500 Mason Bees can pollinate an acre of fruit trees! It would take up to 120,000 honey bees to pollinate this same acre!
How to attract: Mason Bees look for a certain sized hole to inhabit in order to lay cocoons (More Bees year after year)! They will not damage your house as they DO NOT drill holes themselves. After laying their cocoons in these holes, they pack the outside with mud, making it easy for you to tell that you have a large amount of cocoons (Which sell for over $1 each).
My 32 hole Mason Bee Condos can house over 150 Cocoons in each Condo!!!
This one time investment is on SALE NOW, just in time for Mason Bee Season: ONLY $24.95
Tuesday, January 5th, 2010
The weather East of the Rockies has been amazingly cold. Even the southern states are getting blasted by Artic temps. I’ve been in constant contact with my grower in Alabama because with temperatures at a high of 20 degrees we’ve actually had to delay shipments on Alabama Jumpers this week.
The wives tales say that Alabama Jumpers are temperate worms, and live only in temperate regions. The scientific literature says that these worms cannot survive in cold climates. REALITY says these hearty worms just dig a little deeper when the temps get excessively cold. Science is often unreliable, especially in the field of vermiculture. I doubt if anyone has ever tested just how much cold weather these worms can take.
We sell hundreds of thousands of jumpers every year, and every year we go through periods with cold temps…the worms are always around for picking the next week!
Monday, October 26th, 2009
I went through the coir fiber and retrieved a few hundred cocoons to put in my single tray with all of my Euros. If you remember I had some pretty mucky compost ( not all of it but some). I shredded up newspaper for the bottom of the tray under the compost, and shredded newspaper for above the compost in the tray so the worms and compost are surrounded by bedding. There is no manure, just composted leaves and garden plants plus 1 apple, a green pepper , a few rotting pole beans and a banana peel. Anyway, when I added the cocoons I noticed the material was warm! Do the worms generate their own heat? I have composted for 20 years now and I have never seen material like that heat up, it was already pretty well broken down. Maybe the castings from the worms are high in bacterial activity? Is the ink from the newspaper ( Washington Post ) harmful? Someone told me the newspaper ink is made from soybeans, is that true? I see online a lot of people use newspaper for bedding since it is so convenient. Thanks Jerry.
The answer is much simpler than what you were thinking. Worms do not generate their own heat (Cold blooded), the castings did not create a problem here, and the ink not a problem as it is soy based.
What you are experiencing is the nitrogen release in your scraps. You may not have noticed it before depending on the amount of food you put in, or the amount of nitrogen in the scraps you put in. It’s one of the reasons I always recommend pocket feeding only. If you have food throughout the bin, two catastrophic things can happen:
1. The bedding may heat up…creating excessive bedding temps for the worms (This is what you experienced when you put your hand over a hot spot and felt the bedding heating up.
2. The bedding can sour. You can create an environment too acidic for your worms.
Garden plants=High Nitrogen (Probably best composted in an outdoor compost pile).
By themselves, rotting green beans are usually not a problem, but when aded to high nitrogen garden plants, they have the potential to contribute to the heat your are experiencing in your bin.
Basically, even though you may not have a lot of food in your bin (I’m just guessing here), the food you put in your bin is the equivalent of a couple of matches. Depending on the size of your bin, and whether or not the worms can get far enough away from the hot spots, you may want to remove some of the warm scraps for now.
Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009
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