a new worm farm

some friends in a local small town nearby keep me in mind when they have extra stuff from making wood for their wood burner... the other day i finish my chores for the morning and am just sitting down after getting cleaned up and they give me a ring saying they have some bags of stuff. after a few moments to establish that i'm not getting back up for anything short of the house being on fire or an acute digestive attack or Mom needing immediate attention or someone knocking on the door... ah, where was i? oh yea, so after a few moments i'm glad to know they aren't coming out right away and i can continue my contemplation of the flowers and clouds or perhaps the insides of my eye-lids (was i snoring? i'm pretty sure i was last night.) for at least a few hours...
what magic gifts were they bringing? bark off trees about 7 bags worth, but then he said he could bring more if i wanted. wanted!? i was drooling. some of the bark he's brought me before makes excellent edges around raised beds (protects them from the rains washing them down, gives bugs, worms, snakes, froggies, etc. places to hide, covers up weeds, ... eventually turns into wonderful black topsoil.
we don't have garage space for the bags. when he drops them off (i love people who deliver!) i get the wheelbarrow and move them off to where they are ending up.
it just so happened that at the bottom of the north garden there's a low spot that collects both weeds and the overflow from the rains and i had already put down a layer of cardboard and that was being held in place with some rocks (we likes rocks we do). i'd just put it down two days ago. like i knew... smothering is a great way to weed an area. :) then along the north edge of the north garden was some topsoil that i'd added wood chips on top of for a few years so it was coming along nicely and was calling out for being moved "uphill" into the north garden proper, so i excavated that and moved a few crocuses and daffodils (too wet there can't believe they survived as long as they did) and so after moving the bags of bark many of the paper bags don't hold up well to being used to move such chunks. after the excavating is done along the edge then the bags go down in a few layers and then the bark gets dumped on top. or as some would say here "strategically placed to cover up the bags and giving a neat and orderly appearance." so the raccoons can come and tear it up looking for goodies some night...
even more fun, some leaves are mixed in with the bark and small pieces of wood too. as i'm dumping this stuff out i'm thinking "WORM FOOD!" and so now it is all in place, looks like i planned it this way. and best of all in a few years i can move the chunks of bark aside in a few moments and find some fresh made topsoil from cardboard, leaves, smothered weeds, worms and perhaps some interesting fungi. there's usually some moss or lichens.
i have to write those friends a note of thanks.
perfect timing on the rain last night too. :)
songbird
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On 4/05/2015 9:56 PM, songbird wrote:

Such an enjoyable post. I love it when I read posts such as yours and see that you are someone who knows how to put good products to a good use. Lately I've come upon a few blogs where the bloggers have discovered the need for frugality, not wasting anything, being good eco friendly sorts and how they would LOVE to have a veggie garden. Fine and dandy and I'm with them up to that point but then they go and spoil it by saying that they need to wait to have a veg garden till they can buy edging and bring in soil and doing that is currently beyond their means.
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Fran Farmer wrote:

...

thanks Fran. you're a sweetheart! :)
while i'm no big fan of raised beds i do understand that some folks can use them and do well with them.
i wrote a note of thanks and got a reply back that they'll have more. we have plenty of room...
songbird
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On 5/05/2015 2:22 PM, songbird wrote:

Snort. I'm certainly not that 'bird but nice of you to say so :-))

I wouldn't be so gobbsmacked if they had been writing about raised beds. These people seem to consider that the sort of bed you and I would start to dig for a normal old ground level bed and which we'd start from scratch by digging out the sod and removing it or smothering the sod and then digging once the grass had died must have some sort of 'proper' edging and imported soil.
I'm sure that like me you've used anything that is handy and or free with which to edge such beds or, failing anything handy, just had a neatly spaded edge.

'Onya 'bird! If it wasn't blowing a mild gale here I'd be out right now collecting wheelbarrow loads of cow plops. The cows have been in a paddock close to the house and I can see lots of nice plops there just waiting for me to collect them and shove onto one of my newer beds.
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Fran Farmer wrote:

everyone knows that curmudgeon is the crunchy outer exterior of a true softie. :)

people in cities tend to think in boxes? i dunno... smothered sod is excellent stuff for gardens, but it takes some years to get all the seeds out of there. good thick mulch over it helps keep a lot of seeds from sprouting.

oh yes, rocks, chunks of wood, pieces of bark, but my favorites are the piles of dirt with the sides compacted down a little so they won't collapse in the rain and then i mulch them to keep them in place. often i can plant something right on the edge too.

the dung beetles don't get them? we have deer nuggets and bunny drops, but i rarely "collect" them unless they've been dropped on the crushed limestone pathway or decorative area. every little bit of organic material left on the crushed limestone eventually acts as a seed starting booster so what i can get off there helps to keep those weeds from sprouting. can't believe that it's already almost been 20 years since they built the place.
good luck with the high winds! today is more rain which we can use. i have to run out and vote then will be puttering about inside. have some worm food to get in the bins from peeling and prepping garlic and veggie scraps. made 14 pints of sweet and sour garlic relish and stunk up the house real good yesterday. :) all those roots and garlic peels and pieces seem to really be appreciated by the worms.
songbird
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On 6/05/2015 12:27 AM, songbird wrote:

Neither do I. :-))

Yep. Edges are good (as any Permculturist will tell anyone who will listen :-))

In summer they are pretty active but not now as it's cooling down. Even in summer I otften pick up plops that have beetles int ehm and I just think they are even better to put on top of the beds where I spread the plops.
we have deer

Thanks. It just makes it unpleasant being outside. We have no big trees anywhere that they could do a great deal of damage.
today is more rain

I think I'd like that smell in my house :-))
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Fran Farmer wrote:

plant edges where things transition from one thing to another are great, but my peeve is hardscape edges, especially if i've almost tripped over them recently.

i think they are such wonderful creatures to have around it's too bad they don't stay active in cooler temperatures. perhaps you can knit them little jackets? :) that would be a sight! heehee...

yeah, we're getting more protected from the winds as the borderline cedar trees get taller, but it can still be a challenge to do much when the winds whip across the surrounding farm fields.

it was very strong, it doesn't bother me, but Ma was making comments, when i was peeling it and prepping it i was also eating cloves fresh, it's pretty hot garlic so it can numb the tongue or gums if it sits on them for more than a second or two. after grinding that many lbs of garlic i was surprised my eyes weren't watering. though when i was cooking it up i had to stand back a bit. i can't wait until the relish gets aged for a few weeks to start using it up. the house is all aired out now. peace is restored to our little corner of the world...
i have a few older experiments that aren't very good which will make good worm food when i put most of the worms out into the veggie gardens. i'm sure the bacteria and other soil critters will really like the sugar and molasses, i don't think they'll notice the spices... if i get worms tapping at my window looking for a capsicum fix i'll know i'm in trouble. :)
songbird
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