Saturday, June 16, 2012

Worms Part Four

It has been a while since I messed around with my worms- other than feeding and watering them. I decided to harvest some castings for my palette garden of strawberries. The top "shelf" was drying out pretty frequently-- adding more organic matter would help the soil retain water longer. I also ran out of fertilizer, so I needed something that would feed my plants some nutrients while they are in this critical fruit production phase.

I brought the bin outside because I know composting worms don't like light. When I opened the lid and started messing around, they idea was they would migrate to the bottom of the box and I could harvest the castings on top. I have also been keeping their food on one side of the bin so they would be less likely to hang out on the other side, thus facilitating harvest of castings. Or so I thought.

castings on one side, food on the other
The first layer of castings I harvested was relatively worm free.

I just scooped it out and placed it around the strawberries- pretty haphazardly. The water soluble nutrients will be released and made part of the soil solution when I water, the rest will require a little more work on the part of the plant. But that is a story for another day...

strawberry with worm castings placed around base

After the top shelf of the palette garden was done, I decided to dig deeper in the bin and harvest more castings for the next two shelves. Then I discovered I had a lot of worms hanging out on the side I wasn't feeding them on.

adult worms mingling on the "wrong" side of the bin
Exposure to light encouraged them to move on pretty fast. While I was waiting I saw a clump of my dogs hair rolling down the patio like a tumbleweed, so I added it to the bin.

worm wrangling at it's finest
I harvested the rest of the castings, then added some fresh bedding by tearing up a brown paper bag into small strips. I also piled some of the food and castings on top to encourage them to migrate again.

new bedding, and the world is back to normal
That's it! I'm happy, the worms are happy, and the strawberries are happy.

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