Worm deficiency

Pea Trellis
Pea Trellis

Sure would like to go back to the beach and tie into those Blues again but my hands are so cut up from the last encounter that I doubt I could really grip the rod properly let alone fling the spoon out past the waves. But you can bet as soon as I’m healed, you’ll have to contact me on the beach.

The pic is a new pea trellis. It started life as a landing platform for George’s pigeons but looked to me to be a natural pea or bean trellis. I planted half of one side today with a variety of shell peas called Mr. Big. The game plan is to plant each section of the trellis when the previous planting germinates; that should be every week or so and will extend the harvest for a month. After the last planting of Mr. Big, I’ll switch to a new trellis and start Chinese peas.

Got something unusual/bizarre going on in the garden. Sometimes when I put in small plants, I plant seeds for the same variety in the vicinity. That gives me some time spread and also potential spares if a transplant crashes. Earlier this week I put in a few collards and did the seed thing as well. The next morning when I did the first garden inspection, the seeded areas had been disturbed, most likely by birds. Ok, I’ll just put in a few more seeds. Went out this morning and the same spot was disturbed again. Collard seeds are micro seeds so no way the birds have any idea they’re there or could be digging specifically to get at the them but they sure are persistent. I’m going to replant one more time but also going to put a couple of fake places to see if I can trick them into digging in the wrong place. I guess to be totally safe about it, I shouldn’t be writing my plans for the general public.

Something seriously missing in the garden are worms. Anybody that’s anybody in the world of gardening says you have to have a good population of worms to make thing really happen in the garden. Every now and then I see one when digging in the garden or turning the compost pile but in a good garden environment, you measure them in worms per square inch. I have been hoping that in the process of improving the soil via loads and loads of compost, the worms would somehow find the garden and live happily ever after. Alas, it seems that I’m going to have to add worms to prime the pump. With worms, it’s kind of a chicken/egg thing – worms really improve the soil but the soil has to be pretty good to start with or they can’t survive. At this point I’m fairly confident there’s enough organic material in the soil to feed a good worm population and the amount of compost I add continuously should have them fat and sassy and eating their little hearts out. So I’ve been researching to determine the right worm for here and have homed in on a variety called the Alabama Jumper. These critters have a tough skin so they can handle heavy clay soil or sandy soil. Many available varieties are designated “compost worms” and they are not suitable for an actual garden environment but Alabama Jumpers are tough, eat their little hearts out, reproduce easily and do all it is you could want from a worm. I can buy 1000 Jumpers for $70 which seems a bit high to me so I’m still in the cogitation mode. I did find them for $60 from a guy called wormdude.com but for ten dollars more, I’m dealing with Organicworms.com who sounds a bit more credible. The other side item in reading up on the Jumpers, is that they are apparently excellent fishing worms. Again, the tough skin works for you. The question is will I be able to dig one up and put him on a hook to entice a big bream knowing that I have a major investment in the stock and that the one I pick may be directly responsible for my giant tomatoes? And how will I react when I see a bird in the garden yanking a Jumper out of the ground? If I decide to move on it, I need to do it before spring when those damn robins invade. One piece of trivia I picked up in my research, worms feed near or at the surface at night. So that’s why there’s some validity to the statement that the early bird gets the worm. They dig down during the daylight.

Even without worms, the few tomato plants that survived are reaching incredible sizes. Only paste tomatoes survived and I ended up with two Viva and one San Marzano. The San Marzano is a highly praised variety that I haven’t had much luck with in past seasons but so far this year, the plant is thriving. It’s already 6′ tall with large, extending branches and loaded with really large fruit. Assuming things stay on the positive side – no frosts, no critter attacks – we should be swimming in pasta sauce by December.

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