Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Gettin' Wormy

At the April meeting of the Twin Cities Rose Club,  we had a presentation by a local vermiculture farmer offering worm castings (worm poop) as rose fertilizer.  It was five bucks for a cute little five pound bag, which wouldn't seem to go too far in a garden with 100 plus roses.  So, it's pretty expensive fertilizer, especially given the fact you can make all the worm poop you'd ever need for free, if you work at it a little bit.  Nevertheless, folks walked out with multiple bags of worm castings in their arms.  It reminded me of the old saw: "Selling Ice to Eskimos".  Lots of Eskimo rosarians here in Minnesota!

If you have an active mulch pile, you have worms pooping for you every day.  All you have to do is put it on your roses (that's what the mulch is for).  And, if you follow the advice in my last blog, "Coffee Grounds and Roses" you'll have more worm poop than you'll know what to do with. In fact, at a buck a pound I may put some up in a cute little bag of my own for the next TCRC Eskimo meeting.

Here's a quote from that blog:

“What makes coffee grounds so wonderful in the garden anyway?  Earthworms love them.  They make a decent fertilizer.  You can use them as mulch or as a green ingredient in the compost pile….  Organic gardeners know that earthworms are essential to a healthy garden.  When it comes to improving soil structure and water-holding capacity, earthworms can’t be beat….  While earthworms will eat most any organic matter, coffee grounds are like earthworm candy.”
(From The American Rose “A Cuppa Joe”, by Paulette Mouchet)

And here's the address of that blog, in case you missed it:

I compost with coffee grounds and shredded oak leaves, all of which goes on my roses over the summer and especially in the fall, when I mound my roses for the winter.  All of that works its way down in the ground in the spring, complete with worms to poop at will around every rose.  In economics and finance, we would call that the "multiplier effect".  Here's a recent picture of my mulch pile this spring with about 500 pounds of Starbucks' finest sitting right in the middle. (Can you just imagine the market value of all those lattes?)  After I took this picture, I took my rake and covered the grounds with shredded oak leaves that have been composting under the snow all winter, just before it started raining today.  That ought to get the worms pooping in style!  Little bag of worm poop anyone?