Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"Keeper of the Garden"

This is Coco, an Australian Shepard/Rottweiler. She is very intelligent, loyal and a great watchdog for the garden or at least we thought.

Here she is being the watchdog that she is.

Well apparently we haven't been feeding her enough. You see... this is our worm bin... cement blocks housing a mound of soil with worms followed by decomposing kitchen waste, moist shredded newspaper and finally a thick layer of straw. The worms are thriving so beautifully with this living arrangement that Coco has been able to sense this air of contentment; and has decided to partake in their jovial feasting. I found some holes in the hay with chunks of decomposing strawberries on top and I though, it has to be that raccoon that we saw coming out of the storm drain the other night. Then I saw Coco approach with that guilty look and face covered with hay. Ha! the culprit! So I made sure the worms still had plenty to eat, filled the holes with more straws and proceeded to scold her with "NO" getting in the worm bin and then she did it again the following day.

So I decided to cover the bin with plastic, for now, since it's still chilly and it would serve as frost protection. Actually I don't think it really needs it for frost protection, but it does keep Coco out. If you look closely, you'll be able to see that the left side is actually taller than the rest of the bin. We ran out of blocks and are in need of four more. We'll have to take care of that on the next trip to the hardware store. So I'm hoping that Coco won't be able to reach the inside of the bin once the rest of the blocks are up.

I purchased my red wiggler worms from Dick Devine(that is his name) nice man that lives in Washoe Valley and advertises on Craigslist. He keeps his worms in the same type of home environment as mine, in fact, I learned how to build my bin from him. His bins are about three feet wide, 12 feet long and about 2 feet high. His worms survive the Washoe Valley winds, hot summers and cold winter and they do just fine. The man is very knowledgeable, and resourceful. He even gave us a sample of worm castings and taught us how to make worm tea. Our visit felt like a field trip to the farm, educational and enjoyable. He charges $35 a pound for the worms , but he also includes the housing that they are in.

I just wanted to show you what I cover my garden with on a cold windy night -worn sheets...I use clothespins to fasten them and pin them down with rocks around the edges. It's been working well so far. I know, it's esthetically pitiful but I make sure it's off early in the morning. Oh, I also want to mention that in addition to the sheets I cover the crops with plastic containers (milk jugs, sport drink bottles and so on.)


  1. Daisy,

    Great start to your blog. I'm curious to know how your potatoes are doing in the "shade" bed. You can also plant herbs in that bed. They can tolerate less sun.


  2. There's no sign of surface growth from the potatoes yet, but I am planning on moving them to a sunnier spot when I get a chance.