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Vermicomposting: worms in the garden ....finally

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mraider3
Helena, MT

August 10, 2012
1:18 PM

Post #9236957

"Build it and they will come." After years of never seeing a single worm in my garden, I am finally discovering several differ kinds of night crawlers and the occasional red wiggler. The transplanted European night crawler seems to like the area around the over grown strawberry rows and the red wigglers just hang around the irrigated areas where they were transplanted with the plantings of tomatoes, peppers, squash and cucumbers. Over time the red wigglers revert back to their original color and smaller size, but it's interesting that they have survived our harsh winters and still are able to exist in an unfavorable environment for them.

The most interesting worm is a very pale, almost pinkish worm the size of a night crawler. It's ring is a pinkish-red color..Other than size these worms do not resemble the Canadian or European night crawlers I have released in or near my strawberry rows. They have show up near the ends of soaker hose rows, on the other end of the garden which has not been the case with the transplanted night crawlers.

I fish two or three times a week and place the remains in holes hear the ends of the soaker hoses. The ends of the hoses which typically deliver more water at the ends, are used for growing my pumpkin plants. The extra nutrients as well as water makes for a nice area for worms to congregate, and that is where I am seeing these pale, pinkish, almost opaque crawlers.
tropicalnut777
Provo, UT
(Zone 5a)

August 10, 2012
4:46 PM

Post #9237146

my good friend !!!! :) long time.. lol
wow..worms in your garden !!! it is the end of the world..LOL :) i guess the comet is on its
way..:) kidding..
again..major jealous on your fishing fun... :)
hows your summer been up there??? its been freakin HOT..and so dry..
the lawn is hanging on.. the garden..im very pleased with my tomatoes..all heirlooms..
also summer squash..
ive been using my castings in my tropical plant soil mix..and of course they love it !!!!
good to see ya.. hope summer hasnt been to extreme..
im originally from black hills ,SD.. they are having a horrible summer.. super hot..and dry..
:( bummer...
mraider3
Helena, MT

August 11, 2012
1:53 AM

Post #9237417

Weather has not been much better here either Dave. I have been irrigating the garden from noon to dusk. Got a slow start and had to replant peas, beans, and corn. Peas completely failed, and I just yesterday planted beans again hoping for a fall crop. After three plantings of corn I can only hope for a late fall frost.

I did catch five really nice trout Wednesday morning. I fish early to avoid Yahoo’s and get back around 7:00. It’s only about a 20 minute drive each way so I don’t spend much more than an hour actually fishing. I’m currently working on a fishing book for my oldest granddaughter. I will be heading down to see the kids the weekend after Labor Day.

You should drive up some time and go fishing with me. Fall is a great time of the year. Although we are busy with the harvest, the fishing is fantastic and I can usually afford to go out two or three days during the week. I never fish weekends or holidays…too much fishing pressure, and I can’t fish the way I like to with other people around. My style of fishing is so unusual it draws attention and whenever I see someone approaching I pack up and leave.
tropicalnut777
Provo, UT
(Zone 5a)

August 11, 2012
8:05 PM

Post #9238495

bummer on your corn,beans,and peas.. i think many of us are in same boat..
:(
lol on your "style of fishing" :)
ya..here its fly fishing on upper provo river only.. and all the wanna bee fishermen
show up.. almost shoulder to shoulder.. its no fun at all..
i love small stream fishing.. just plow your way thru the trees,shrubs..hopefully avoid the poison
ivy/oak.. but not always..
im hoping for a late frost too. id like to get alot of tomatoes into mid oct..
guess we'll take what mother nature throws our way..
mraider3
Helena, MT

August 14, 2012
2:27 AM

Post #9240849

Tomatoes were all spralled this year and I am just now getting some green ones. Lots and lots of buds which may never make it if we hit the typical September hard frost. I planted some Indigo Black tomatoes which are half black and half green. These are the blackest tomatoes I have ever seen. The tops which are exposed to the sun are pitch black.

Got word today the choke cherries were ripe and went out and picked a couple of gallons yesterday evening. We didn't get any strawberries this year so decided to try making jelly out of the choke cherries. First attempt, so guess we will see. We did goose berries and got about six jars and lots of worm food. Grapes are coming on too. The raspberries were awsome this year, and still picking. I'm the only one who likes raspberry jelly so I'm in great shape.

Boy I don't get this shoulder to shoulder fishing. I went yesterday and caught my first eighteen inch trout in a while. The rest were around 16 inches give or take an inch, but these trout are pretty good size. Fished for an hour and a half and not a single fisherman had shown by 7:30 AM when I left. It's pretty mossy now below the dam so the spin casters and bait fishermen haven't been doing that well. I went last Wednesday as well and had no trouble catching my limit of four and didn't see a sole then either. Although we can keep five fish and only one 18" and over, I prefer to catch what we can eat in two days. I don't freeze trout unless I make chowder. I usually do this when we make a trip to see the kids and grandkids. I bought one of those Coleman coolers you can plug into the 12V cigaret lighter in your vehicle as well as an electrical outlet. We take frozen hash browns, chowder, and various other garden goodies to the kids and bring back Kansas white tail. I don't care for steak, so we have Hank make up one pound packages of the ground deer meat mixed with some ground brisket. Since the wife and I don't care much about eating out in restaurants we are pretty well self sustained. Milk and cheese from Costco along with some other staples is about it.

I get a lot of peelings and pulp this time of year for the compost worms, more than they can keep up with. I have been giving some thought to establishing a bed of common garden variety type worms in the bin under my deck. Unfortunately we don't have any for sale locally. I will check some different bait stores on our trip to Colorado next month.

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tropicalnut777
Provo, UT
(Zone 5a)

August 16, 2012
7:28 PM

Post #9244149

u just have to rub it in..dont ya morgan..on the fishing...
LOL :)
wow..chokecherries.. there a memory...when i lived in SD wed go get berries and mom
would make jelly..and syrup .. i dont know if it was just really good..or that mom
had made it.. :)
its really smoky here..fires all over the place.. the valley here is real hazy..has been
great part of the summer.. :(
ive been saving my HUGE summer squash that got away from me.. chopping up..letting semi rot
and giving the worms.. they seem to love it..
keep on fishin morgan!!!!!
mraider3
Helena, MT

August 17, 2012
8:15 PM

Post #9245232

Dave, didn't remember Provo as a valley, but our valley has been smoky most of the summer. I find it interesting how fires from hundreds of miles away can layer smoke in the valley for weeks at a time. Even with our Chanook winds don't seem to drive them out for very long if at all. This haze tends to keep the heat in as well as making it difficult to breath.

Squash here have gone nuts too. I grew some Golden Nugget alone side or Potamorin and I think I like these better. Skins not as tough even though the size is larger and I blend the insides of the bigger ones up for the worms. I have been digging holes in the garden at the locations where the soaker hoses end on the east side of the garden or to my left in the pictures. I add fish remains to these holes and next spring this is where I will plant my winter squash and pumpkins regardless of what I plant in that particular row. I've found if you also toss in a couple of hands full of compost worms in the spring the worms will help decompose the fish remains. And, as long as they are getting plenty of moisture they will last through the growing season in that spot. If I can come up with some sod worms on my upcoming trip I will toss those into the holes immediately and see if they survive the winter. Possibly laying a sheet of scrap plywood over the spot and some old straw underneath would work to keep them there. Fish remains are the ticket to growing huge pumpkins and squash and the ends of my soaker hoses seem to get way too much water for most of my plantings except these water hungry squash and pumpkin plants.

Although I shouldn't, I have been divulging in squash cake this season. It's much better tasting than zucchini bread in my opinion. Bev adds nuts and raisins to the recipe, sort of like those little fruit cakes you get around Christmas time, and it is absolutely the greatest. It is much more moist than the zucchini bread and although we plan to freeze some, none of it lasts long enough to make it to the freezer. Ain't gardening great!!!!

Our first attempt at making choke cherry jelly was outstanding. Bev made two types; One batch with lemon and the other with almonds. The almond batch tasted like regular cherries to me. The color and taste of this jelly is by far out favorite now. Next year we plan to hit the crop before they turn black. The reddish purple color is perfect. Although the black ones taste very bitter, like alum, I guess you can still process them, but we chose to go with the less ripe ones. They seem to mature at different times depending on locations, so I will make some scouting trips starting in July next season. I was going to feed the pulp and seeds to the worms, but I understands seeds are poisonous to humans and wasn't sure if I want them in my vermicompost. Probably wouldn't hurt the worms, but what if.the accumulated toxicity got back into our food supply.

As for fishing, I'm serious Dave about having you come up some weekend this fall. We can sit on the deck and grill some Kansas whitetail burgers and go fishing at dawn. My last three trips have landed two 18-inchers and a 20-incher. We can only keep one fish 18" and over which I mentioned. The attached pic was first cast and 20 minutes later I landed the fish. As you can see from the girth of these things, you don't land them quickly in swift water. The distance to the site where I fish is another 20 minute drive.so the color is still pretty vivid. Some people go clear to Alaska for this kind of fishing. My cousin from Mich. and his son are still in awe of the fish they caught while here in June. Personally I like this time of year best. It's usually around 50 degrees in the morning when I go out and I have the place to myself. Yahoo's usually don't show up until after I have left. Plus you could lean a unique style of fishing which can be modified a dozen different ways for all kinds of situations and fishing. I am teaching it to my 7 year old granddaughter now and soon she will be like her aunt and daddy when they were that age. They were catching white bass from a reservoir dam at the rate of four fish to everyone else's one. Our three boys and daughter had a business making lures we called Morgan's Raiders which we sold at the rate of 10,000 per year under private label. We had dozens of customers which purchased two lures per small zip lock bag and their label on the bags. Minimum order was 500 bags, but since they were used mainly as handouts at conventions, customers like Coleman, etc. bought 1,000 at a time. We didn't charge that much for them even though we could have. I priced the various steps in making them so the kids could make five bucks and hour. When we got and order we had a pizza party and I rented a couple of movies and we all went to work packaging them. One of my best clients, Ramco Aerators out of Cushing, Oklahoma even took lures overseas to Europe and China. The best part was, these lures were made with the finest materials and craftsmanship possible, and with our method of rigging even a child could catch fish using the simplest equipment. So that's my story Dave and I'm stickin to it. I will even toss in a box of Morgan's Raiders~~~~



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mraider3
Helena, MT

September 1, 2012
7:56 PM

Post #9261959

Dug a row of russet potatoes today and found a dozen of the large pinkish-grey night crawlers near the end of where the soaker hose was. Although the ends of these sixty foot hoses deliver more water, I think the attraction is the fish parts which I bury on that end of the garden. For next season I have decided to plant pumpkins at the end of each hose. Pumpkins do amazingly well with the added fertilizer and moisture.

The other thing I noticed was most of these night crawlers were wrapped around or in the direct vicinity of a large potato, but no evidence of damage to the potato. I'm not sure if these worms are actually feeding on the potato skins, but since there is no indication of damage or penetration of the potato skins it really doesn't matter.

After fall harvest, removal of all plant parts, and tilling, I've decided to find some scrap plywood to cover the holes dug for fish parts and add some straw for mulch under the plywood. Occasional watering with a watering can as I add fish parts will help maintain a winter habitat for these worms. Yes, I fish year around and this would aid the burial of the fish parts as well.



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