Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Do You Dig Dirt?

I've been playing in the dirt a lot in the last 10 days. In keeping with the tradition of the former owner of our house, I planted impatiens on the corner of the property. These are pretty but useless. Marigolds, on the other hand, deter all manner of munching bugs, especially Japanese beetles. I planted several of these in pots so I could move them around the yard when a particular plant is under attack.

Last week, during an attack of guilt over my lack of edible garden, I hastily prepared a bed and planted 2 year old kale and swiss chard seeds. I figured I'd wait a few days and see if anything came up. Today, there are quite a few seedlings emerging, more in the spot where I accidently upended the envelope of seeds. My little patio is surrounded by edible landscape! (Herb garden on one side, kale/chard on another, strawberries on another and Jerusalem artichoke/tomato on the last.) It's not Path to Freedom but it's a start...and I want to do more!! Just today I snipped some fresh dill and chives to add to the biscuits I was making. It was really thrilling.

My soil ammendment of choice is worm castings from my worm bins. I've got three going right now. One is strictly guinea pig cage leftovers which include uneaten greens, newspaper and guinea pig poop and pee. It's the wierdest thing in the world to open up the lid of the garbage can that serves as this worm bin and just be greated with an earthy, dirt smell rather than an ammonia, wow my eyes are burning, smell. BTW, the bottom of this garbage can is riddles with cracks to allow excess moisture to run out.

Another is an old cooler, this is the one that the worms like the best. They multiply like mad in there. I suspect it has to do with the consistently higher moisture content but I'm not sure. I toss in whatever yard scraps, veggie scraps and coffee grinds.

The third is the box Jim built from scrap wood. This is the one that the worms seem to like the least (sorry Jim!) although they do a fine job in there. It just takes a little longer, I suspect because things dry out quicker which seems to keep the worm population lower. This one gets the same diet as the old cooler.

Are you thinking that three worm bins are excessive? Not for us, we keep them filled consistently.

I forgot my camera cord so until Jim brings it to me there will be no pictures. Now I'm off to work on the quilt edges and later while watching a movie with the girls, I'll work on the log cabin blanket - just three and a half more sections to go!


Ruthie said...

sweet, you rock. :-)

AnnMarie said...

Impatiens aren't useless: You can eat them! I love edible flowers in my salads. This year, however, I'd spent so much on regular fruits and veggies, I didn't let myself buy any flowers so I just have the violas that always reseed and a few marigolds. Oh, wait, my nasturiums, too! (Also reseeded from last year.)

Chile said...

I want a worm bin. Yes, Katie, three is excessive...so you should send one to me. ;-)

I worry about the heat here killing the worms. I'm also not a big fan of clouds of gnats which a lot of bloggers seem to grow along with their worms. Are your bins inside or out? (I think you've said before but I don't recall.)

Katie said...

I didn't know you could eat impatiens!

I have one worm bin in my laundry room, one in the garage and the other outside. I've had the gnat clouds but only if I overfill the bins.