George the Snake

As I was working in my vegetable garden the other day, I found a new “friend.”

George the Snake (2)

His name is George, and he is a juvenile black rat snake.

George the Snake (4)

He was hiding under our gutter downspout, and after a quick meet and greet with the girls, he was returned to back to where we found him.

George the Snake (1)

Black rat snakes are native to Maryland. They are harmless snakes and actually help to control the rodent population. If you find a snake skin around the yard or in your house, the chances are it is from a black rat snake. While George may not look like a typical solid black black rat snake, it is because he is still young. As he gets older his color will darken and the pattern will become less distinct.

Spreading the Word

I often link my post to my personal Facebook page and since a lot of my co-workers are my “friends” on Facebook, we end up with some interesting lunch time conversations about going green or my newest post on natural living. IĀ  also frequently bring a container to bring compost home to my worms and admittedly I have asked others for their banana peels and fruit scraps, which sparks some friendly teasing of my dedication to my worms.

I was surprised the other morning when a co-worker handed me a bag marked “Worm Food” to me. She had some over-ripe bananas at her houseĀ  so she bagged them up for my worms, who love bananas!

I was so touched I took a picture for your enjoyment:

Worm-Food

Name removed to protect the innocent helper

Thank you to all of my friends and family who support me in my green endeavors!

UPDATE: Feeding the Worms

I was asked how much the worms could actually eat in a week, so yesterday I took a few pictures when I fed the worms again. Before we start, worms eat food more quickly if it is chopped in small pieces. I used to blend up all of the food each week into “worm soup” and pour it into the bin. That worked very well, but cleaning the blender each time was not so fun, and making the soup used energy unnecessarily. I may start making worm soup again, but only on the weeks I have a lot of food with large pieces (like these last two weeks).

On to the update. You will remember the food we added last week:

Worm-bin-8_29_09-(7)

This week, the bin looked like this: Continue reading “UPDATE: Feeding the Worms”

Feeding the Worms (in pictures)

A friend asked me the other day what I fed my worms. When I explained that they got most of our kitchen produce scraps she wanted specifics, so I decided I would let all my readers know through pictures.

Vermicomposting is a green way of getting rid of your kitchen scraps. It is quicker than composting and can be done on a smaller scale indoors.

First, I checked the worms. They looked healthy and happy.

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Next I added some romaine lettuce that had gone smushy.

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Then, four ears of corn that had been pushed to the back of the fridge, forgotten about, and gone soft.

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Finally, I added the contents of my counter compost bin. This included some moldy raspberries, old bean sprouts, a tomato from the garden with a soft spot, a tea bag, and some vegetable peelings that were almost a week old and unrecognizable.

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Before I closed the bin, I added bedding. Our trees drop leaves all year round,

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so naturally this is never a problem for us.

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Black Gold

No, I’m not talking about oil. I’m referring to the worm castings I harvested yesterday! After picking up some plants from Freecycle I decided to give them a jumpstart in their new home by cleaning out a layer in my worm bin. The bottom layer had a abundance of the dark, rich organic matter.

Worm-bin-harvest

The bottom worm bin

To separate the worms, I put the tray in the sun. The worms dislike light and they dug down into the layer. After about 20 minutes I removed the top inch which had few worms in it. Another twenty minutes later almost all had crawled through the bottom of the try and into the container I had waiting for them.

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Close-up of the “Black Gold”

I took the worm castings and put a tablespoon in with the roots of the new plants. Some of my larger holes got more and the tiny single plants got less. After being planted, the plants got a good soaking and the lucky ones got mulch (the mulch ran out halfway though the project). The castings will fertalize the plants and help acclimate them to their new homes.