Monthly Archives: June 2013

Poppies Emerging

Poppies EmergingPoppies emerging step-by-step!  My poppies were particularly beautiful this year. I got some really nice shots of my poppies emerging that I would like to share with you! I captured a poppy just as it was emerging from its flower bud casing. You can still see the folds in the delicate petals as they are unfolding from being enclosed in the bud.

Poppies Emerging Step by StepThese are oriental poppies so they are quite large. California poppies which are very popular have a smaller flower and are more orange. These poppies are perennials so I can look forward to them coming up every year. They usually come up in May. They don’t do very well in heat so with our crazy weather lately sometimes the flower is gone within one day. This year it was cooler so they lasted for a longer time. Also if it rains a lot, the delicate flower petals get damaged.

Oriental PoppyYou can buy plants at a nursery or plant oriental poppy seeds. I started with plants which is easier. You might say “Is it worth it? For such a delicate flower?” I say that they are so beautiful and stunning that they are well worth the risk of the weather. Also, because they are perennials they are no work. They just come up by themselves every year for us to enjoy!

One of my favorite paintings Poppy Field in Argenteuil, was painted by Claude Monet. A woman and child are walking through a field of poppies. My grandmother and I would admire the fields of poppies as we drove through the English countryside. The love of poppies has stayed with me ever since!  They don’t last very long in the spring-time but they are wonderful treat after a long winter!

Worm Composting in a Raised Bed

This series of “worm composting in a raised bed” started with the post Too Many Worms.  The worm compost along with the worms had been outside since last summer.  The compost that they were in, which started out as not fully composted, was beautiful!  I had been removing the worms gradually giving some to a local boy who wanted to raise composting worms and sharing some with a kindergarten teacher for demonstration in her classroom.  The rest of the worms went back into my indoor worm bin.  The worms did fine in the summer and  winter outside with a layer of insulating leaves on top.

Worm Composting in a Raised Bed Created This Wonderful Soil

Worm Composting In a Raised Bed created this wonderful soilI finally decided to remove the actual plastic raised bed and use the area as part of my garden. I had read that the compost can protect plants from fungal disease in the soil.  So I wanted to try planting a tomato plant in the area where the worm compost raised bed had been to see if it is protected from early blight. 

It was easy to lift off the plastic raised bed .  I just picked it up and put it into another part of the garden.  I am starting over with another outdoor worm composting bed.  See update on tree roots growing into raised bed.

Here is a picture of my Brandywine tomato growing with a few green beans around the edge.  I will keep you posted as to the success of this tomato and whether it escapes early blight.

Update: This tomato plant did get Early Blight but it kept on growing and producing. The Early Blight didn’t actually kill this plant. And I got some very nice heirloom tomatoes from this plant. The green beans which were bush beans did really great!

Outdoor Worm Composting-All Year Round

Last summer I started outdoor worm composting. I had just too many worms in the house. In my last post I talk about how and why I moved the worms outside.

Now I would like to tell you how it went having them outside.

Outdoor Worm Composting-All Year RoundI put them in a plastic raised bed with “almost finished” compost which should have provided enough food for them to eat. Even so, I also put some melon rinds and pumpkin/squash skin into the compost pile once in a while to give them some extra food.  They were not in plain soil.  They were always in compost that was almost fully composted. The picture is the actual raised bed this spring with some dill planted in it.  The leaves have already been pushed to one side.

Outdoor Worm Composting-Insulated with a Layer of Leaves

Throughout the winter, the raised bed housing the worms was covered with a 2-3 inch layer of leaves to keep them insulated.  This winter we had several nights where the temperatures went into the teens.  When I checked the worms the next day, they were doing fine.  They must burrow a little deeper if it is really cold.

Throughout last summer I would check on them and they were always doing great even if it was really hot.  I also kept leaves on the top to keep it cooler underneath.  If is really hot you could put a layer of newspaper on top and keep it moist.  That has a cooling effect on the compost.

I would say that this outdoor worm composting was a successful project. The worms were thriving this spring after living through a hot summer and a cold winter. The compost was rich, dark and crumbly.  My son was very impressed with how it looked and wanted some for his garden!  This is my solution to “Too Many Worms“.  Please see the latest update on tree roots growing into raised bed.

Disclaimer:  I live in the Washington Metropolitan Area so the winters are not so cold, but the summers are very hot.  I don’t know how red wigglers would do further north where it is colder for a longer period of time.