Now this is a tongue in cheek reference making sure you have enough worms and other useful partners in your garden.
Good soil with plenty of organic material added to build it up and fortify it for current and long term production. Having a compost pile and adding the properly aged compost to the garden builds the soil and aids in growth and production. BUT WORMS …..
Worms that move into your garden perform 3 basic tasks :
1. Worm “tunnels” allow for beneficial wate and air to get into the soil
2. Worm ‘castings’ ( manure) enrich the soil
3. Worms participate in breaking down organic materials addd to the garden
A gardener can purchase worms but in many cases these will no survive the relocation . Worms can be purchased and used in a vermicomposting system. The best plans for filling a garden with helpful “employees” is to invite them in year round. One trick to invite worms during the growing season is to use worm tubes and veggie kitchen scraps .
Another method is to build up soil in the off season by adding leaves, leaf mold, coffee grounds, compost, kitchen scraps to the garden beds. If the general area soil is healthy Worms will come to materials to be broken down. The worms will stay in The area to aerate th soil and fertilize with castings.
With enough worms, ongoing composting and well planned gardens the soil will become and remain a powerhouse for years to come.
Now this blog is about gardening without a crazy amount of investment in supplies, tools and equipment. This post and a few that follow will focus on inexpensive fertilizers, insect controls and weed preventers.
Many of the mixes and suggestions use inexpensive household items and provide help in the garden for 50% -20% of the standard store bought mixes and products.
The homemade mixes will include[but not be limited to] :
Other plants, vinegar, ammonia, epsom salts, insects, birds, bats, other plants, cut grass , fallen leaves, beer, pantyhose , newspaper, grits, mouthwash, kitchen soap and some others.
I have planted and relocated a few Comfrey plants in my new garden this year. I hope to be able to use them for “fertile-i-tea” late in the season and then really use next year for mulch etc.
They can be used as mulch or a powerful tea( uses-below).
Comfrey – Symphytum officinale- grows to about 2 feet and is deep rooting and the leaves have a broad spectrum fertilizer in the blend of N-P-K and are useful in the following ways.
A) Spread the leaves as a mulch to control weeds and protect the soil.
B) Fill a bucket (w/lid) with water and 1/2 filled with comfrey leaves- allow the mix to “brew” for 3-5 weeks and can then be used full/half strength as a feed or water amendment
C) Compost “energizer” – add leaves to a slow “processing” compost pile to give it a kickstart
D) Add chopped leaves to soil while planting/transplanting as a safe/gentle food.
This is perfect for cheapskate gardeners as it provides a full spectrum fertilizer, a mulch and also a good looking plant in the garden.
In future posts we can look at herbalist uses of comfrey in repairing broken bones and healing injuries.