Saturday, June 27, 2009

Wormy Palace

I hate just tossing out our vegetable parings, but I don’t want to make just a compost pile that would further attract the attention of noxious deer, who are getting hungrier and less afraid. Besides, I can't toss around large piles, nor can I afford an enclosed store-boughten one so I had to think of something else.

For the first time this year, those deer ate the daylilies. Well, actually, they eat them every year, but this season they came back over and over again. Out of a hundred or so usual blooms, we have one. Their appetites may prove beneficial if it thins out a bed that I’ve wanted to dig up and separate for years. On the other hand, if all the plants die back for lack of growth, I’ll have move in bulbs from other stands. It's an herb bed, so strictly speaking daylilies don't belong there. But since the shoots, bulbs, and flowers are edible, they pass.

Obviously it’s way past time for pepper spray and blood meal. Should have done those in February, but in February I was running on one and a half cylinders. You do what you can and let the devil sort the rest.

By the way, our county is now offering a bounty on coyotes. Wish they’d do the same for deer. The latter are mighty skinny, some of them, and suicidal. They like to run into the path of oncoming cars. Yeah, I know: they’re so “cute”. I never thought much of Bambi myself and I sure can't afford the car repair bills. One unfortunate social worker in an adjoining county had a mortal encounter with a deer while driving to work. Were I a close member of her family, or if any of my family met such a fate, I'd be known as "Dymphna the Deer Slayer" for sure. Princeton New Jersey hired their own official deer slayer some time back. None of the progressives with gardens or landscaping or cars objected to this added expense.

Here is my solution for recycling house garbage… no, there wasn’t any meat involved in the process. I want to build up the soil, not attract rats.

I eat a lot of yogurt, organic when I can get it. I’m not much of a believer in the organic thing, but when it comes to animal fats, I’d rather do without all the extra added ingredients that cows are fed. Unfortunately, I can’t get away from their soy feed unless I find 100% grass-fed cows. Women who’ve survived breast cancer aren’t supposed to have soy, but it’s in everything. So the extent possible, I avoid those everythings and make my own stuff. But that's a subject for another post.

Wormy PalaceMeanwhile, I was throwing out the yogurt containers, all the while thinking “there must be a use for these”. Hey, anyone who collects dryer lint for other uses tends to think like that. It just means that if I weren't disabled, I'd be working somewhere.

Well, I found a use for them…at least some of them. I am making mini-compost bins. This low tech project requires a screwdriver or an awl and some scissors. A paper punch works for the parts that can be reached with that, and the pattern provided by the paper punch holes gives you a guide on how large to make the other holes on parts of the carton that can't be reached by the punch.

When you punch holes in the plastic yogurt carton, make sure to do the lid and the bottom, too. The holes have to be big enough and smooth enough to let earthworms get in, but not so big as to encourage voles. I use the scissors to trim the excess plastic from around the holes so as not to damage the worms as they move in and out.

To this “bucketette” you add ground up vegetable and fruit peelings and egg shells (they go through the blender effortlessly and you have a much smaller mass than you started with). This compost mass is layered between newspapers, as though you were building a strata…which you are, only for worms. Start with newspaper and alternate that with ground garbage. End with a covering of newspaper.

Now dig a hole in a part of your garden which has poor soil. In our clay soil, it’s not hard to find such spots. Make sure the hole is deep enough and wide enough to hold your yogurt carton easily. Make the hole a bit deeper than the carton so you can cover the whole thing with soil.

Wait, though. You haven’t invited your guests. Go to the part of your garden that has good soil and dig up some earthworms, along with some of the soil they’re crawling through. Pack this earthworm-laden soil around the yogurt carton, which will be shortly leaking its goodies out into the dirt. Cover up with some of the poor soil. Put a rock on top, one too heavy for a raccoon to lift. The rock also marks your spot so you can return on occasion to check its progress.

Meanwhile, you can be making new yogurt-compost containers and stacking them inside one another so they don’t take up much room. Put them in a convenient place, perhaps where you keep your plastic storage containers?

A caveat: I can’t lift a rock/boulder that would prevent a bear from getting to the goodies. If evidence of their presence appears, I’ll have to figure out what discourages those critters. I don’t need more animal company, thankyouverymuch.

Since it hurts my hands to do more than one container at a time, I make them as I need them. Meanwhile, I can store the accumulating veggie garbage in one of the un-holey containers, waiting till I have enough for another buckette of worm strata.

I like this idea of mine. Now I no longer look longingly at compost containers that cost a small fortune. This solution is much better for just two people’s accumulations, and I’ll bet the worms are happy.

For some reason, it popped into my head that what I’m making are little veggie coffins…

the worms crawl in, the worms crawl out,
The worms play pinochle on your snout…

Only in this case, they catch up on the local news while they eat. We will have well-informed invertebrates, rather like the current manifestation of the Republican Party.

Next I’ll figure out how to use coffee cans to make vole-proof tulip bulb containers. Those suckas ate 25 Cambridge yellow tulips and I haven’t planted tulips anywhere but in porch containers since.


At 3:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You write beautifully. I keep reading your blog. Keep it up!!

This is Nancy from Israeli Uncensored News


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