Monthly Archives: July 2015

Worm Bin Too Wet?

Worm bin too wet? My worm bin is getting quite wet in the bottom-not dripping but wetter than it should be.  There are too many worms in the bin so I need to transfer some to a new bin. This is a reminder post that you should look at your worm bin once a week and move all the bedding around to aerate it.  This also enables you to make sure the environment is still healthy:

  • not too wet
  • not smelling bad

Worm Bin Too Wet?  Make Sure There is no Nasty Odor

Worm Bin Too Wet-Mixing It UpIt should have a neutral smell not a rotten smell.  Stirring it up refreshes the oxygen which is very important because composting worms need oxygen.  It is easy to stir it up.  Use plastic gloves if you don’t want to touch the compost.  If the bin starts to smell bad it means that an anaerobic process is starting and you need to do something about it:

  1. transfer some worms to a new bin
  2. stir up the bedding with the worms in it
  3. add some shredded or folded newspaper
  4. hold off on the food scraps

until you re-stabilize the environment.  Stirring up all the bedding aerates the bin.  It is hard to imagine that just a little mixing up refreshes the oxygen for the worms but it does a great job of it!

Folded newspaper works well placed under all the bedding.  It will absorb the extra moisture and then you can use it to cover the worm bedding in the bin.  Another great addition is cardboard egg cartons.  This is a win-win situation. ( You are recycling the egg cartons.  In my opinion all egg cartons should be cardboard.)  And the egg cartons supply great little oxygen tents for the worms.

Read this thread on worm bin smells bad for more information.

 

Growing Lavender

Growing lavender is very beneficial.  It is beautiful, you can use the flowers in bouquets or make just a lavender bouquet.  And you can harvest the flowers for potpourri or to fill lace sachets.  I have had two problems growing lavender.

  1. When I first started about 15 years ago I didn’t know how to properly prune it so the branches got very woody and gangly.
  2. The last two years the extreme cold has killed some of it.

Lavender Woody GrowthSo I am left with some lavender growing from very woody branches that are quite ugly when no other flowers are covering them up.  A lot of these branches now have dead spots.  They always used to continue to grow lavender and I didn’t worry about the ugly, woody stems.  They were always eventually covered by other flowers, usually zinnias.  This year I have to do something about it because a lot of the woody branches are showing.

I was thinking of pulling all the lavender out because it is not native to Maryland.  It is native to the mountainous zones of the Mediterranean but is now found in many parts of the world.  If we continue to have winters where the temperature drops to zero degrees and stays for a while then the lavender is not going to make it.  About one third of it died last year in the cold.  Of course, maybe I could put straw around it to insulate it.

Growing Lavender for the Pollinators

I decided not to pull it out because when it blooms it is covered with all kinds of bees and wasps.  The pollinators in my garden really appreciate the lavender!

Taking Cuttings for Lavender

Growing Lavender RootsSo I am going to take cuttings from the lavender and try to start new plants.  I got the courage to do this after reading Deep Rooted Wisdom where the author just takes lots of cuttings and roots them.  Some work out and some die but if you take a lot of cuttings then you will be left with some that grow! Here you can see my cuttings in bud vases while I am waiting for them  to grow roots!  The best time to take cuttings is in the spring and the fall.  Here is more Info on Lavender from the University of Maryland Medical Center.