Happy go lucky and worms

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Vera, Apr 27, 2005.

  1. Vera

    Vera Well-Known Member

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    Ok, I'm not your average skilled gardener. Soil testing and ph numbers and scientifically portioned fertilizer and mulches just fry my brain, so I pretty much do what comes to mind and then wait and see what happens. Let me tell you what happens :D

    I just dug up a 50'x4' strip of ground to mix in a bunch of grass clippings which happened my way (one of the ding-dong ways to improve soil). This is the area I dumped a lot of rabbit manure and straw on last year, along with kitchen compostables and chicken coop cleanings and leaves and such. Well, the ground is nice and loose as deep as I dug, and there's about 4 worms in every shovelful of dirt! Just the same as my small flower bed, except I took more care with that one, mixing things in nicely and whatnot.

    Seems like mixing things in nicely isn't necessary to turn compacted high desert dirt into rich soil, at least not when a wet, cold winter helps the process. This morning, I am a HAPPY camper, LOL!
    The previous owner of the property killed just about every living thing in the ground just before I bought it. Now, after a decade of trying to improve this dirt without having any money to spend on it, it's finally happening. And do you know that I wouldn't ever have thought of getting into rabbits if it hadn't been for my hungry snakes? Windfall pet snakes = rabbits = manure = good dirt for planting. Don't let anybody tell you that there isn't a gracious God who looks out for his ding-dong creations, LOL!
     
  2. sullen

    sullen Question Answerer

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    Sounds like what I am doing. BTW, my Mom used to raise Rabbits, one of the reasons was to feed the various snakes that her friends had.
     

  3. birdie_poo

    birdie_poo Well-Known Member

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    Congrats!

    I remember ow excited I got when we were digging trenches for the rain and every scoop had worms, lots and lots of worms from regular to night crawlers to red worms...so many, I didn't feel bad, at all, feeding some to my ducks!
     
  4. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Congrats!

    When I lived in Texas my "garden" was a small plot in the backyard of our suburban Dallas/Ft. Worth home. The soil was hard, had quite a bit of concrete in it and didn't grow anything but sand burrs. I dumped a whole lot of cow manure on it the first spring and it did okay. That fall and winter I composted the lazy way...I dug holes in the garden and when they were full of kitchen compostable scraps I would cover it and dig another hole. WOW...what a terrific garden I had the next Spring. I had pumpkins come up volunteer...I grew squash plants six feet tall! It was great...and then I moved to Mississippi.

    Now I'm starting over. This is the first year I've had a garden here and the ground isn't hard, but it is full of grass (my garden used to be part of a hay field) and there aren't any worms. I'm looking to next year though...I have lots of horse and chicken manure to put on it and I will be doing my "hole composting" again. Next year I expect to see big fat worms and six foot tall squash!
     
  5. bbbuddy

    bbbuddy Well-Known Member

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    Hi Vera! I am a recently arrived "White Mountainer" too!
    About 10 miles north and west of Concho...where are you?
    I have yet to see a single worm anywhere...did you import some? Or did they just show up on their own?

    Last summer I bought 2 pounds of compost worms, one pound went into the compost bin, one pound into a big pile of horse manure. I don't think there are any left in the horse manure, the chickens seem to have discovered them, they scratch around there all the time.

    I wonder if I should buy some earthworms for my new garden and for around the fruit trees we just planted, or wait for them to find us?
    Somehow I doubt there are any/many out here as it is pretty dry in the summer....but we are going to do alot of irrigating.
    maddy
     
  6. Vera

    Vera Well-Known Member

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    Hi Maddy, and welcome to the neighborhood! :)

    I'm about 50 miles south of you, near Springerville. We probably have about the same kind of soil, but I think it's a bit wetter and definitely colder here than up where you are. My worms just came out of the woodwork, so to speak - I'd seen some before in the wet dirt under wood piles or wherever I'd set something or other down, but never out in the open ground until now. The chickens WILL find them in loose soil (or manure), but your garden is probably fenced, right? If you take some worms from wherever you find them and put them in the garden, they should multiply nicely. Apparently, a good way to grow your own in dry conditions is to lay down a board or something on freshly watered ground and wait, LOL!

    I envy you for your fruit trees!! Can't get them through the frost dates down here, although I've heard rumors over the years of a bearing apple tree in Alpine. What with the warmer weather up north plus irrigation, your garden and trees should do just fine and the worms will come ;)
     
  7. bbbuddy

    bbbuddy Well-Known Member

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    Hi Vera! We have been to Springerville several times, I especially like your Western Drugstore! I bought my lightweight broad-brimmed sunhat and a bunch of ammo and several reloaders there.
    We have mostly sandy soil, but alot of clay down toward the bottom of our 40 acres, which is long and narrow. The soil has just about no organics in it, being so dry out here. I am adding lots of peat moss and compost everywhere I plant, so that and water would make worms happier...

    We don't have a single fence yet, but 3 big dogs have kept the trees and 8 grapevines safe so far from rabbits and antelope.
    I think the big problem with fruit trees around here are the late frosts, I have been told that some years are great, some a bust because of that.

    No one has lived around here before, (newly opened area, closest neighbors miles away) and your worms may be our closest worm neighbors! We have not seen a single one anywhere, I think I will have to order some just to get a starting "herd" of them...

    good talkin to you!
    maddy
     
  8. Vera

    Vera Well-Known Member

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    Oh, Western Drug is great! Just about anything you might need, you'll find there, LOL! I got my deer rifle there, used, and they called the old gentleman who was selling it to come in to show me how to work it (it's an Enfield and had a few quirks that he knew best about). A lot of things you can't find anywhere else in the area, Western Drug will have or they'll order it for you.

    Sounds like you're well on your way to "make good dirt"... you could always get one of those small cups of fishing worms and keep them in a tub full of compost so they can propagate without being disturbed by the chickens. Or other birds - I have a ton of robins this spring who follow me around when I water to catch worms :) I think until the worms get established, birds can decimate your "stock" easily.

    Virgin ground is a true blessing, if you ask me. You won't dig up broken glass or rusty nails or spark plugs or any of the other "treasures" that's in the soil after 150 years of civilization.

    If you want some rabbit manure (for worms) and some worms (for the manure), come on down! I spread the manure around here every time I clean out the pen, but if you want some, I can save you a tubful in about a week. 'Course, your horse manure would work just as well, I'm sure.

    Being on assistance, I usually don't go anywhere except to Springerville maybe twice or three times a month, but let me know if you come down this way and I can meet you, ok? It's so nifty neat to find fellow homesteaders in the area!
     
  9. 3girls

    3girls Well-Known Member

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    Usually, if you pile up organic material, ie manure, leaves, grass clippings, chopped hay, etc., the big nightcrawlers will come. They live way underground in tunnels, and will bring up minerals from down below, and carry the organic matter down, thereby "tilling" your soil.

    The redworms work in manure piles and compost, and not so well in garden plots. In that big horse pucky pile, you will probably find jillions if you dig down a little. The chickens only get the ones near the surface. Use that pile to build new beds and mulch the old. Use fresh in compost piles. Don't let it just weather away in a pile for very long. The smell is nitrogen escaping into the air. Better to put it to work first.
     
  10. bbbuddy

    bbbuddy Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Sandi...
    but I am pretty certain that out here with about 12 inches of rain a year and very little growing due to drought and overgrazing that there aren't resident worms around...I have dug plenty of holes for tree planting and have seen no visible soil life.
    Just not the same as SE PA, haha.

    We have a compost heap, when I turn it, there is nothing underneath it either...

    Vera, we have rabbits, chickens, ducks, and horses, so I have plenty of manure, but I may take you up on your kind worm offer...at least they would be "acclimated" to our soils!

    maddy
     
  11. Vera

    Vera Well-Known Member

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    Maddy, I sent you a PM :)