Six on Saturday

Not a particularly glamorous start but gardeners are not the squeamish type, so a picture of composting worms hard at work should not offend the sensibilities of my blog readers.

I bring the wormery into the greenhouse for the winter to keep it dry and slightly warmer and the worms reward me by carrying on with their vital work, munching all our kitchen waste. They produce approx 100 litres of rich compost (worm poo) each year which I mix into peat free potting compost at the rate of 10:1. The ‘worm liquid’ (worm wee) is diluted in the same ratio and used as a nutritious liquid feed for tomatoes and potted plants. I swear my agapanthus, in particular, thrive on it and flower better as a result.

Incredible but true, this early daffodil flowers before Xmas every year. Most of my other daffs are barely out of the ground but this one likes to be seen first, Obviously a bit narcissistic!

Right next to it is Narcissus canaliculatus, a miniature daff with the tiniest white petals and chucky egg yellow cup. My chrysanthemum border is planted with lots of narcissus where they provide early colour and the ugly dying foliage is hidden by the chrysanths as they grow.

Many of the cuttings produced in the Hydropod in late September were just too small to stay outside over winter so they are tucked up in the greenhouse where they continue to form strong root systems. I have just taken the final Erysimum and Penstemon cuttings which may or may not make roots in the Hydropod. I am not sure how much temperature plays a part in vegetative propagation compared to hormones, so we will see!

Centranthus ruber (Red Valerian) continues to flower periodically throughout the winter and is a lot hardier than its glaucus foliage would suggest. It is a real survivor in my garden and I am constantly digging out seedlings in the gravel paths and between paving. Lovely plant though and great for pollinators.

The last of the leaves are now in the composter. Have you noticed, you can’t buy leaf mould, you have to make your own. Probably because this lot will only produce 50 litres at best, but as a top dressing for woodland plants like hellebores and cyclamen it can’t be beaten!

Have a great weekend.

David

14 thoughts on “Six on Saturday

  1. Leafmould is the very best for mulching snowdrop beds and for mixing into the soil when planting them. It helps protect them from the worst of the fungal attacks to which they occasionally fall victim.

    That daffodil, Narcissus canaliculatus, increases at a wild rate in the garden and I have found it good to flower though it is often described as being a reluctant flowerer.

  2. Love both the wormery and the leaf mould, I am a great fan of composting of any persuasion! Is there anything better than seeing the bulbs coming through, all that hope. Nice to see the forerunner too. Have a wonderful Christmas. 🙂

  3. I’ve never heard anyone else call compost worm poo, David, although of course it doesn’t take much to work out that’s what it is. But how wonderful that it doesn’t smell of poo. In fact it shouldn’t smell at all if you get it right. Just my thought for the day!

  4. Hi Jane. To be honest, it does smell a bit but it’s in the greenhouse! I think all decomposition is bound to smell a bit, after all it’s dead and dying material being consumed by microbes, bacteria and worms! However, when the process is complete it smells of sweet roses rather than my socks!

    • Hi
      I have also such a compostery. It is full at the moment but I will ask you how do you separate the worms from the soil.
      My all pieces are full of them and you must pick every worm separately. ..
      Nice greetings from Austria. ..
      Jolanta

      • Hi Jolanta, good to hear from you. Thanks for following my blog.
        It is impossible to separate all the worms from the compost. Even when all the food has been consumed and it is just worm poo, there will still be some worms left. They go into the bag and end up in the potting compost. You have to be a little hard-hearted and because worms are invertebrates and part of the soil eco system, they will survive as long as there is some organic material for them to eat..
        My wormery has three trays and when the top one is full, I remove the compost (worm poo) from the bottom tray and place it in an old compost bag and allow the worms to finish their job in there. A lot of them will die naturally and be eaten by the younger worms but that’s life! It is a continuous cycle and the wormery has been working constantly for 11 years taking 90% of my kitchen waste. The only things I don’t put in are eggshells, citrus, onion and garlic and seeds of tomatoes, squash and melon (they always germinate and grow in the wormery!).
        Good luck.
        David

  5. I had no idea a wormery could be so productive. I thought about getting one for near the back door as the compost heap is so far away and this would be handy for kitchen scraps. I’m now seriously tempted to give it a go. 100 litres – wow!

  6. I’ve had a worm compost for years and it’s nothing short of astonishing how much they a. eat, and b. multiply.
    I was pleased to read your comment on how to separate the worms from the ‘poo’ as it’s been an issue for me. I usually put the tray in the sun and the worms burrow down to get away from the light. Then I scrape the poo off the top. That being said, there’s always collateral damage and a lot go into the big compost. They don’t mind that. After I spread the compost on the garden, it’s up to them what they do!

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