Farm Day Re-cap and Worm-Sorting Images

First Crocus 2009 (Home Gardens)

First Crocus 2009 (Home Gardens)

It doesn’t seem like I accomplished a ton today out at the farm, but I got some big projects out of the way with some help from my garden helper, Libby.

The first task I swung myself into when I got out there at about 10:30 was to start trimming the trees back on the west side of the northeast garden.  I ended up cutting down three whole trees (black walnut and mulberry) as well as trimming back some big branches from another, larger mulberry (those branches were bigger than the other whole trees). Basically, it was a judicious trimming to allow more light and air circulation in that part of the garden.

This was a case of, if I knew what I was getting into when I started, I probably wouldn’t have started.  But with all those limbs down and dragged into the middle of the garden, there was nothing to do but cut them down to size with loppers and pruning saw, pull my truck down, and start hauling the brush out.

I ended up with a nice pile of small logs for firewood, which H told me I could cut up with the electric chainsaw (this after I had cut all of them down with my pruning saw–in his defense, he wasn’t there until I’d almost finished).  Libby came just after lunch, when I was standing there thinking about hauling the first load of brush away, so she jumped in the truck and helped me on that and the second load.

After the brush-clearing, we set about constructing the peas trellis on the northeast garden.  The panels were already there (thanks to my other garden helper, Kelly), so we had to pull posts to use.  But first, we worked up the bed and amended it with a good amount of Kathy’s composted horse manure.  Then post-driving, trellis-affixing, and finally planting.

The bed was wide enough that after we’d planted the peas, we also planted spinach in front of the peas. It might’ve made more sense to put the trellis to the south of the bed and plant spinach behind it.  But that’s not what we did.  Oops. Nate Brady stopped by while we were scooping soil out to seed the spinach bed, so we talked livestock and cheese-making for a bit before finishing up the spinach project.

Everything’s watered again–Libby did the new pea and spinach bed, and then I re-watered everything else before re-attaching the fence and making the wire hot.  I don’t water in the evening when the veggies are up if I can help it (slugs like that moisture trail to slide out and munch on the greens), but it was pretty darn hot out in the gardens today, so a little more water was in order before heading out for the evening.

Here’s a series of images from my worm-compost sorting yesterday.  Messy bit of work–next time (if I’m not desperate for amendment for another batch of seed-starting mix) I’ll let the worms migrate up into their new box instead of cleaning out the old one and adding them by hand to the new one.

worm-sorting-1This first image shows the screen (to get the biggest chunks out) over a tub. The square box is the new worm home with new bedding (moistened peat moss and newspaper strips). The red tub is simply a back-up in case I needed some other moisture-proof container to put something in.

worm-sorting-2This second image shows the old worm bedding dumped on the screen.  The reason you can’t see the worms (they’re in there) is because they burrow away from the light.  You can also see the undigested chunks of stuff still in there–some paper, leaves, and a few veggie scraps.  The dark material is the coir and peat bedding that is presumably full of worm castings.

worm-sorting-3This is an image of the new worm bin, filled with the worms I extracted from the old bedding, plus all the undigested stuff that was left in there.  The tub is full of the old bedding and worm castings.  I then piled what is in the tub into a corner of the tub, scraped a little bedding away from the pile at a time, and took out the remaining worms I could find.

In another day or so, I’ll take the bedding and castings that are in the tub and re-screen it through a finer (window-type) screen to remove any more large chunks.  It needs to dry out a little more before I can do that–worms like things pretty moist.

Once the big chunks are all screened out, I can use the remaining fine-textured stuff in a new batch of seed-starting mix.  And THEN I can finally get my tomatoes started!


2 responses to this post.

  1. This was good article. Maybe you can answer a question. Do use the worm tea?

  2. Posted by flyingtomato on March 22, 2009 at 7:42 am

    Haven’t really had any to speak of yet in the bottom container–just a little and it was kind of moldy. Couple of worms got down there and their bodies were decomposing.

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