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Wild Costa Rica

- Photo via Growingagreenerworld.com -

Go natural

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Published on Friday, August 25, 2023


By Victoria Torley

Sometimes, I used a large plastic bin as a container for a worm bin.  But, if you have a choice between plastic and a natural, grown-in-the-soil material, of course, you should ďgo natural.Ē

We have plenty of wood on the property, I even have a portable sawmill to use to turn recently deceased trees into planks and yes, some of the planks are probably insect-resistant.

The trouble is, no one seems to know which kind of wood is which. Plus, wood is heavy and I, as you know, am (mumble mumble) years old. Heavy lifting is no longer my thing. According to the doctor, light lifting is no longer my thing either.

Naturally, I went off to the web to look into worm farming, which is essentially what I wanted to do,  on a very small scale,  and it turns out that wood is the best material for a Ďworm pení because it absorbs excess moisture. Too much moisture is not good for the worms. Score a point for my reader.

So, if you really want to use worms,  especially red wigglers,  to compost your vegetable matter, letís do it right!

First, get that wooded bin set up in the right place. What is the right place? It needs to be in the shade, and, if possible, up on no-rot supports like rocks (all natural) or concrete blocks so that insects you donít want are at least discouraged.

The shade? Worms canít tolerate high temperatures, so 80 degrees Fahrenheit or 27 degrees Celsius is the max.

Next, worms want moist bedding and food, not wet bedding and food so those worms are going to need a tent.

A tent? Do you want me to build them a tent? Okay, a nice piece of canvas (not plastic) or other weather-proof material over the bin, at least a foot above the bin, not touching it as you want the air to flow over the surface of the bin.

Now, keep the bedding and food moist, aerate it occasionally, and get ready for worms. Again, red wigglers are best so see if you can get some to go out and search leaf litter for your own.

A final word about red wigglers. These little guys make compost but they are not garden worms. If you add them to the soil, they will die.

Earthworms are soil dwellers, red wigglers are surface dwellers, so be careful! Use the worm castings with your plants, not the wigglers.

See? No plastic!

Plant for the week.  Every now and then I like to throw in a picture of something you donít want in your garden. This is one of those times. This is a weed and a noxious one. Why? See all those little hairs? When the seeds form, they are going to be clingy. Dog fur and the cloth in your jeans and socks are going to be covered with the little monsters. Pull this weed all the way out and you will save yourself trouble later.

Find more amazing stories about gardening in Costa Rica on 
the AM Costa Rica Garden website. Regarding questions on this article, Ms. Victoria Torley, gardener columnist, can be reached at victoriatorley1@gmail.com.

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