I Bet You WANT Compost Worms, But Just Didn’t Know It. Here’s Why.

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We find it maddening the inconvenience and shameful waste of time we must soldier through while we *patiently* wait 20 seconds for a website page to refresh, or mind-baffling that our new technology device – made in Taiwan, across the ocean, thousands of miles away – took 3 WHOLE days to arrive on our front porch.

Yet, we yearn for a more authentic slow paced lifestyle. Irony. No one is immune to it.

While we enjoy some of the modern day technologies, we want to take the extra time to make healthy, from-scratch meals like those in this From Scratch recipes book. Better yet, we want those ingredients to come from our backyard.

For many, the idea of having their own garden seems out of reach … too lofty … almost surreal. Or, it’s simply a task that will always get started next summer.

Is this you? What has kept you from starting your first garden, or from getting back into gardening? Does the task seem daunting? Do you imagine hours on-end keeping up with the weeds? What has kept YOU from living that dream?

If you answer “yes” to any of these questions this post is for YOU.

  1. Have you wanted to start a garden, but even a small garden seems difficult to start?
  2. Do you currently garden, but want to find new ways to fertilize without chemicals or store-bought manure?
  3. Have you for years dreamed and prayed about having your own homestead critters? Have you wanted to live off your land beyond a garden, but because of your current finances, property constraints, schedules, or differences of family member ideas it just hasn’t come to fruition?

Vermicomposting provides something for both the gardener and homesteader. It allows you to have a little of both worlds. It’s where the two worlds overlap.

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End of Summer Celebration Giveaway!!! {Compost Worms}

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The best way to end this fabulous summer is with another compost worm giveaway.

A compost worm giveaway is also the perfect way to usher in and conclude each season, and to celebrate everything in between: the turning of leaves, the first snowfall, the last frost, the emerging of tulips, the birth of a goat, the creation of new garden recipes … {if this were a narrative, then this is where I would continue down my list as my voice slowly fades out}. ;)

I love that so many of our readers are excited about compost worms. {Sigh.} It’s comforting to me. No one minds being a little crazy as long as they’re in the presence of like-minded people.

I’ve decided to keep this giveaway very simple. No tweeting, no commenting (for entries, but I love your comments), and no survey questions.

There are four (4) simple ways to enter, but a lot of points/entries to be earned. You can choose any one, two, three, or all four ways to enter.

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How to Use Worm Castings

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This is, by far, one of the easiest posts I’ve written because using worm castings is so easy to do. It’s also not a real “exciting” post, though, either. I’ll try to make up for that in some future posts. :)

In the last Compost Worms 101 installment, I walked you through how to harvest worm castings. Today, we’ll talk about how to use the castings.

Just as there are a number of ways worm castings can be harvested, there are also a number of ways they can be used:

  1. Mix the castings into the soil.
  2. Use the castings as a top dressing.
  3. Make a vermicompost “tea.”

It’s pretty much how you’d use any other compost.

This is technically called vermicompost since you’re not using ONLY worm castings (pooh). You’re using the worm castings, composted kitchen scraps, and anything else in the worm bin.

Mix the castings into the soil.

When you’re transplanting your plants, dig the hole and toss in a handful (or two, or three) of the castings. Mix in a little of the garden soil, and plop the plant in the hole with the rest of the needed soil. You’re done.

Use the castings as a top dressing.

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Our Numerous Encounters With a Rather Peculiar Male Cardinal

I must preface this post by saying, I’m not sure if I was attracting a number of male cardinals, but never more than one at any given time, or the same crazy cardinal every time. If the former is true and you’d like to attract male cardinals, then you might try my suggestion mentioned in this post. If the latter is true, then hopefully crazy male cardinals are a common sighting. :)

From our front porch, or as we looked out our kitchen window, we saw a male cardinal perched on our car door ledge, facing the car door window. Both of our vehicles have tinted windows which makes it easy to see your reflection. The bird walked back and forth on the door ledge while staring at his reflection in the window. He intermittently fluttered up a couple inches and then back down onto the ledge.

Then, he became fixated on the door mirror. He would flutter back and forth between the door ledge and the top of the mirror, but mostly he was content to position himself directly in front of the mirror. He would then watch his reflection and “attack” it. This went on for months.

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We finally figured out what he was probably doing. He was a male cardinal, which meant our driveway was his turf. It was his lookout station for all the lady cardinals searching for a handsome mate. Then, some idiot (his reflection) thought he could share the turf with him (the real cardinal). His constant pecking attacks at the mirror were his way of trying to fend off his competition. He just didn’t expect his opponent to stick around so long. No matter how many times he attacked the intruder, the resilient bird just wouldn’t leave!

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How to Harvest Worm Castings

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Today’s post is part 1 of 2 in learning what to do with this “black gold.” In this post I’ll share how to harvest worm castings. In the next installment I’ll share how to use worm castings.

It seems like forever ago since I last talked about compost worms without giving them away. ;) I‘ve been long overdue to curl up on the couch (well, actually my desk chair), a latte within reach, and tap away on my keyboard about these amazing little creatures.

If you’re a worm farm newbie maybe you’ve entertained a thought something like this:

“I have a large container in my kitchen FULL of worms and worm pooh. I’ve been TOLD this is a good thing. Of course it is. Why would a container full of manure next to my small children and food prepping area NOT be good?! What have I gotten myself into?”

WHAT is worm castings harvesting?

The whole point of keeping a compost worm bin is to end up with worm castings (or manure) and composted organic matter to use in your garden. While it does, indeed, take longer to get a lot of manure from worms as opposed to large homestead critters, I can think of at least 14 reasons to have compost worms instead of homestead critters.

Harvesting worm castings is the act of separating the worms from the composted bedding and worm castings.

WHEN is the worm bin ready to harvest?

When your worm bin bedding – try saying that 10 times – turns from wet, fluffy, shredded newspaper and cardboard to a slightly slimy and muddy consistency to a nice crumbly dirt-like product you’re ready to harvest the goodies.

As far as how long it takes to get to this point, it depends. I’ve heard people give estimations, but it really depends on the number of worms, the amount of scraps, and how much bedding they have to break down. But, a rule of thumb is always nice to have. I’ve read it takes around three months. (My bin took longer.) Again, it depends on a number of factors.

HOW do you harvest worm castings?

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