Monthly Archives: July 2011

Spritzer Bottle and Plastic Gloves for Worm Composting

Spritzer Bottle & Plastic Gloves–2 tools that really help in worm composting

If you are new to worm composting you will learn how helpful it is to have a spritzer bottle and plastic gloves.  It is important to go into your worm bin at least once a week to see how things are going.  When you dig around in the worm bin,  you are aerating the worm compost and you can see how the worms are faring.  You can also notice if there is any odor in the bin.  If there is any odor then it means that the bin is starting to go anaerobic and you need to take action!

Plastic Gloves Keep Your Hands Clean

I don’t mind getting my hands dirty but some people might not want to touch the worm compost or the worms!  What I don’t like is when the compost gets under my fingernails and it is hard to get out.  That is the main reason I use the plastic gloves.  They are invaluable and they usually last a while.  You can use it over and over again.

A Spritzer Bottle Keeps the Vermi-compost Moist

When you are just starting out with your worm bin, occasionally it needs to be moistened.  Worms breathe through their skin so they need a moist environment.  As the bin ages you will need less and less moisture because the worms produce their own moisture.  In the beginning, though, you don’t want it to get too dry.  A spritzer bottle is the perfect solution for this.  You can spritz a fine spray over any newspaper that is getting dry.  I got mine at Home Depot and I think a larger one is better so you don’t have to refill it all the time.

Keep Your Successes In Mind After Problems in the Garden

Keep Your Successes In Mind After Problems in the GardenEvery year some vegetables in the garden do better than others.  Some have major problems like the the Early Blight that is hitting my tomatoes this year.  But other vegetables like the beets, cucumbers, zucchini and green beans are doing great!  I even planted some onions for the first time and they were successful-small but delicious.

More Successes–Beautiful Brandywines and Hot Compost

And even though the tomatoes are infected I have some beauties growing Great Brandywine Tomatoesand hopefully they will ripen OK.  So far, the blight has just infected the leaves.  Lastly when I opened the ComposTumbler this morning to check my new batch of compost, there was steam coming up from the compost.  And I could feel the heat coming from the compost.  So this is working really well to see steam from the compost on a 80 degree morning.  Lately I have been getting free coffee grounds from Starbucks and throwing them in.  Not all stores do this but some specially package coffee grounds for gardens so check it out!

Alternaria Solani: Early Blight on my Tomatoes

Early Blight Has Attacked My Tomatoes

Alas, my tomatoes have been infected with early blight caused by the fungus Alternaria solani (or tomatophila).  I had it last year but had it controlled.  It is quickly moving up my Sungold tomatoes.  I am spending a lot of time in the garden cutting off infected leaves and stems. In this picture taken a week ago,  you can’t really see it but it has gotten worse.

So Far The Brandywines Are Not So Affected

The Sungolds, which are a Alternaria Solani: Early Blight on my Tomatoeshybrid have the blight quite badly.  It is amazing how many leaves you can cut off and still have nice tomato plants.  The picture to the left is only one batch of dead leaves that I have removed.  It has only just started to affect the Brandywine tomatoes which are heirloom tomatoes.  I have been using lots of compost as mulch, seaweed and milk foliar spray, Ocean Solution foliar spray and worm tea.  Though I have just discovered that my worm tea might be too old and the microorganisms might have died.  I let it sit too long.

Today I Carefully Brewed Some Worm Tea

So today I made up some new worm tea from my worm compost.  I filled a bucket with water and let it sit overnight so the chlorine would dissipate.  Then I added some sugar for food for the micro-organisms and stirred it throughout the day to incorporate more oxygen.  I am really winging it because you need a bubbler for the oxygen which I don’t have.  I will spray and water my plants with this and hope it helps.  I am one very frustrated organic gardener right now!  Any suggestions or magic organic cures would be much appreciated!

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