How to Trench Compost

How to Trench Compost

Here’s the short answer…dig a trench, throw plant scraps in it, then cover it up.

It’s a shortcut to composting. Normally you would create a pile either in the backyard in a corner or in a compost bin. You mix green and brown materials together, water, turn and wait several weeks for the material to decompose before using it as fertilizer.

Traditional composting takes more time and has extra steps in it. I like the directness of trench composting. You bury the plant material (future compost) directly under the soil you’re going to plant vegetables in. It’s straight forward with the same results.

Trench Composting

Here’s one of my trench composting sites in my backyard next to one of my vegetable gardens. I threw some pieces of carrots in this trench. I’ll mix it with more plant material before covering it up.

Trench Composting close up

The depth of the trench doesn’t matter too much but it should be at least 4 – 5 inches deep and 9-12 inches is even better. It needs to be deep enough to prevent it from drying out. You want it to be moist so that bacteria, microbes and worms will be attracted to it. Bacteria and insects help decompose plant matter. I water my trench composts daily. In about 3 months they will be totally decomposed. This makes fantastic fertilizer for plants.

You can start planting on top of a trench compost anytime but I usually wait about 30 – 60 days and then cover the top with 2-3 inches of mulch. Then I plants seeds. The mulch keeps the soil moist and cooler. Seeds will germinate in 7-10 days every time.

Trench composting not only enriches the soil but also keeps the soil from getting hard and rock-like. It allows water and air to get into the soil. Your plants will love it.

No Till Vegetable Gardening: The Easy Way

No Till Vegetable Gardening: The Easy Way to Organic Gardening

So what is no-till gardening?

That’s easy. You don’t dig up or turn the soil to incorporate organic material and/or to aerate/loosen the soil. You just spread mulch on top,¬† plant the seeds under the mulch and water regularly. Nice and simple.

…and it really does work. I dug up some soil in my no till garden one day and to my surprise, the soil was soft and easy to dig up. Amazing!

…it was full of worms too.

I always thought you had to plow or turn over the soil before planting to loosen and aerate the soil. Apparently this is not necessary at all. And it’s actually detrimental to the soil.

I used to spend hours and many sweaty days digging in my backyard in order to prepare it for gardening. I hated how tired I got from digging in the soil. I live in Arizona where the soil gets rock hard because of the clay content. This makes it even harder to dig up.I had to use a claw hammer to break the soil up.

I wish I had of known about “No Till” gardening.

Why Digging/Turning Soil is Bad

Anytime you disturb the soil, you also disturb beneficial insects like worms. I remember every time I would dig in my garden I would see lots of worms. I didn’t think about what I just did.I not only disturbed the worms but may have cut a few in half with the shovel. Yikes!

When you attract worms to the soil, they will loosen the soil, break down plant material and leave behind the richest fertilizer known to man…worm castings. Worms will do everything needed to make the soil super rich and nourishing for plants.

You also disturb the microbial systems in the soil. These help break down plant materiel and fertilize the soil. They are best left alone to flourish.

So, no till gardening is simple….just add compost and/or mulch on top of the soil, water and then plant seeds. A 2-3 inch layer of compost or mulch works fantastic. Keep the soil moist so worms and other beneficial insects are attracted.

So what kind of compost or mulch for No Till gardening?

You can use something as basic as grass clippings or a compost product like Kellogg’s N’RICH soil enhancer. It all works really well. I have used grass clipping with great success. Let the grass dry out and then spread it over the soil. Now water regularly. You can make your own compost or buy it at a Nursery or Home Improvement store like Lowes or Home Depot.

What about weeds and grass?

If you are wanting to start a new garden but the ground is covered with grass or lots of weeds, you have some options.

The easiest option is to trim the weeds and/or grass as short as your can with a weed wacker or lawn mower. Water liberally. Then cover the area with thick paper or cardboard and add 3-4 inches of compost on top. The cardboard will stop weeds and grass from growing and will eventually kill and decompose them. Eventually the cardboard will decompose into the soil and enrichen it. I would recommend waiting 2-3 months before planting seeds to give it time to decompose and condition the soil.

Another option is to pull the weeds up and/or the grass. Then dump a 3-4 inch top layer of compost on top of the soil. Water regularly to stimulate decomposition and attract worms. Now you can plant your seeds.

It’s amazing how little mulch you actually need to condition the soil and reduce water evaporation. I had a small area in my backyard that I spread a thin layer of grass clipping over. I think it was less than 1/4 inch thick yet it prevented the soil from drying out 24 hours after watering… in the hot/dry Arizona climate. The daytime temperatures were in the 90’s.

Mulch is like insulation. It reflects the Sun’s heat and locks in moisture.

Organic Fertilizers for Vegetable Gardens

Organic Fertilizers for Vegetable Gardens

Fertilizing an organic vegetable garden can be the easiest thing in the world. Lots of people think it’s complicated and that you have to buy 5 or 6 different fertilizers to have a successful garden. This is not true. It can be very simple and you can grow the most beautiful and tastiest vegetables without spending a lot of money or time.

When considering fertilizing, think about how nature works. How does nature produce rich and fertile soils?

….fertile soils are created in nature from decomposing organic materiel such as tree leaves, dead grass, broken branches, fallen fruits, flowers, etc. These organic materials fall to the ground and slowly decompose with the help of moisture, bacteria and insects. Decomposing plants material releases nitrogen into the soil which is food for plants but it also does a hundred other beneficial things to the soil. It is very hard to provide the same benefits with artificial or synthetic fertilizers.

So, now let’s talk about Organic Fertilizers.

Homemade Organic Fertilizers

Compost

The most popular and easiest obtainable organic fertilizer is compost made from dead leaves and grass clippings. If you have trees and grass, you are set for free organic fertilizer. Tree leaves and grass clippings are great to create a rich compost fertilizer for vegetable gardens, flower beds, trees and grass. You can pile the leaves and grass in a corner of your yard or put it in a compost bin to help decomposition. The leaves and grass will slowly decompose with the help of moisture and aeration. Compost is ready to spread when it is a dark brown color. It doesn’t take long. Keep turning it and adding water every couple of days.

Here’s a little twist on composting that is easier and very effective. Save all plant scraps like potato skins, left over carrots, cucumber ends, old lettuce, etc. and put it in a plastic bucket in the kitchen. Instead of throwing these scraps in a compost pile, just dig a hole where you want to fertilize and bury the scraps. I usually dig a 6″ – 8″ deep hole and dump the scraps in it and then cover it over. It will decompose and turn into compost in the soil. It works great. It will also keep the soil loose and soft instead of hard and dry.

Hole for compost materialBury Compost Material

Mulch

You can also use the dead leaves and grass clippings as a mulch to cover the soil in a vegetable garden and around other plants too.

Secret Tip: My backyard used to be full of weeds and so I would spend a lot of time pulling them and then throwing them in the garbage….until recently.

Now I make mulch out of them by either mowing them down with my electric lawnmower or I pull them up and then mulch them with the lawnmower. It makes great mulch for my garden and it’s free. I let the weeds grow when there is a lot of rain and then mow them down. I sometimes get 3 lawnmower bags full of clippings. I then throw it in the garden and spread it around. I use my lawnmower as a wood chipper, sort of. It will mulch even bush limbs if they’re not too thick. Easy Mulch!

Homemade Mulch

So what does Mulch do and why use it?

Mulch is an organic “blanket” of organic material. In other words, it’s a 1″- 2″ layer of dead grass or leaves on top of the soil. This “blanket” of organic material does wonders for the soil. Let’s look at the benefits of Mulch.

  1. Slows down evaporation of water – plants will be able to get more water and you’ll need to water less often. The soil will also remain soft and easy to dig and aerate.
  2. Insulates soil from the Sun’s heat – soil will stay cooler on hot days which will aid in water conservation. Dry soils tend to get rock hard or turn to sand, neither of which is ideal for plant growth.
  3. Natural Fertilizer – mulch will slowly decompose and release nitrogen and nutrients into the soil.
  4. Attract beneficial insects – mulch will attract lots of beneficial insects like worms. Worms are “Gold” in the garden. They feed on the dead organic materiel and then leave behind nutrient rich worm casting or better known as “poop”. Worm casting is THE BEST fertilizer known to man. Worms also loosen and aerate the soil when they burrow through it. If you want a productive and beautiful garden, GET WORMS in the soil.
  5. Reduce Weeds – Mulch will reduce the number of weeds in any area where it is used. It smothers weeds, reduces seed germination and enriches the soil. Weeds do not like rich, organic soils. Weeds prefer dry, desolate areas where there is little competition for growth.
  6. Reduce Soil Erosion – mulch will slow down and even stop soil erosion caused by hard rain or water sprinklers.

Store Bought Organic Fertilizers

Worm Castings

Worm castings are by far the ideal fertilizer for just about any plant whether it’s a tomato plant, grass lawn, lemon tree or your favorite flower. Not only does it contain the most balanced nutrition but it’s also a “no brainer” to apply. You can apply as much worm castings as you like. It will never harm any plant. You can sprinkle a little around your plants or cover the soil with a 3″ layer. It’s doesn’t matter. It’s 100% SAFE.

Worm castings contain organic matter plus bacteria and digestive enzymes that are dynamite for plant growth and health. There is nothing else like it. It’s the most complete fertilizer and soil enhancer.

There are 3 ways you can get worm castings.

  1. Attract worms into your garden or yard naturally by composting, mulching and watering regularly.
  2. Worm Farm – you can start a worm farm easily with some plastic containers or buy a Worm Farm Kit
  3. Buy Worms Castings – you can buy 1- 5 lb bags of worm castings locally or online.

Composted Steer Manure

Composted Steer Manure is available at your local Home Improvement store or nursery in 20 lb bags. It’s very cheap and highly effective. I bought several bags at Lowes for about $3 – $4/bag. I used some on a small Oak tree in my front yard and it made a huge difference in a short period of time. The Oak tree¬† looked like the Charlie Brown Christmas tree when I first bought it. It had very few leaves and they weren’t bright green. After 2 years of watering frequently with little change, I decided to fertilize it with Steer Manure. I applied about 3″ of composted steer manure around the root line of the tree. I only water it on weekends and it is full of bright free leaves. It has also grown over a foot in the last year. Amazing!!!

Raised Box Garden Soil/Compost

Raised Box Garden Soil is mostly compost and great for the garden or flower bed. I bought several bags when I started my raised box garden in my backyard. It is a mixture of fine and somewhat course composted material. You can use it as a fertilizer, compost, soil enhancer/conditioner or mulch. I have to tell you…it attract worms like crazy! Keep it moist and you’ll have hundreds of worms whenever you dig.

I’ve been using this product as mulch in my garden. It’s dark almost black and works really well as mulch. I cover the soil with about 1″ of this product. It keeps the soil moist in between waterings. Here in Arizona the summer temperatures have been above 110 degrees for over a week and the soil stays moist 24 hours after watering. That’s amazing!

I’ve used it as a garden soil and as a mulch. It’s perfect for both. I bought it at Lowes for about $7.00/bag. I think I bought Kellogg’s and GardenTime.

Garden Compost

Blood Meal

Blood meal is dried animal blood, plain and simple. It is effective for adding Nitrogen to the soil quickly but it can be harmful if too much is used. You need to be careful when using Blood Meal as a fertilizer/soil conditioner. Mix a small amount with your garden soil…like 1-2 cups in a 4×4 garden or 1 tablespoon per square foot of soil.

Bone Meal

Bone meal is ground up or powdered animal bones. It’s purpose is to add phosphorus to the soil. Phosphorus is essential for plants in order to produce flowers and fruit. You should have your soil tested before using Bone Meal as it can be harmful or do nothing for plants in certain conditions.

Bat Guano

Bat guano is basically bat poop but not just from any bats. Bat Guano is only taken from fruit and insect eating bats. It is very high in Nitrogen and produces green plants with a high rate of growth. It is very effective but care must be taken with its application. Too much may do harm. Use it sparingly, like mixing a cup or 2 with your soil in a 4×4 garden.

Fish Emulsion

Fish emulsion is a thick liquid made from fish scraps. Fish emulsion is a concentrate that you mix with water ( 1/2 oz to 1 gallon of water) and then apply to your lawn or garden twice per week. It is high in Nitrogen. It can produce bright green plants and increase the growth rate but care must be taken to not use too much as it can “burn” plants.

Kelp Meal

Kelp Meal is a powder made from Kelp seaweed. Kelp is a brown algae that grows off of the coast of California. It is huge and grows at an astonishing rate, sometimes 3 feet per day. It is harvested, dried and powdered. It is a great mineral fertilizer with over 70 vitamins and minerals. Kelp meal is 100% natural and organic and will not harm plants. It is however low in NPK or Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium.

Which fertilizers do you use in an organic vegetable garden?

  1. Compost
  2. Mulch
  3. Worm Castings
  4. Composted Manure like Steer and Cow
  5. Plant scraps buried in soil

What is an organic fertilizer?

An organic fertilizer is any biological material that naturally occurs in Nature and provides nutrition for plant life..

Why do you need to fertilize gardens?

How to apply organic fertilizers and how often?

What not to use as a fertilizer

Miracle Grow Potting Soil as fertilizer?

How to Make Your Own Mulch/Fertilizer

How to Make Mulch

First of all, some of you may be wondering “What is Mulch?”

Mulch is a layer of ground/chopped up plant material, like grass clippings, chipped wood, carrot peelings, cauliflower leaves, leftover salad, potato skins, cucumber ends, tree trimmings and/or leaves applied to the top of soil. It’s like an organic “blanket”. Mulch is excellent for conditioning soil and moisture retention.

Mulch becomes compost after it decomposes and happens to be the best fertilizer available. Manure like cow, steer, worm and bat are also very good but you have to buy these. Mulch is free.

So how do we make mulch?

The absolute easiest mulch to make is grass clippings. It’s also the cheapest…basically free. I grow grass and weeds in my back yard for the sole purpose of creating mulch for my garden and yard. I used to pull out the weeds in my backyard but now I let them grow and then mow them down to make mulch. Weeds grow really fast.

Backyard weeds and grass after mowing

Before mowing…or pre-mulch.

Grass Clippings Mulch Pile

Here is a small pile of grass/weed mulch after mowing my backyard with an electric lawn mower.

My backyard used to be dirt because I would pull out every weed that grew. It was an endless chore. Now I water them and let them grow. They make excellent mulch/compost when mowed down. I’m also growing Bermuda grass too. Hopefully the grass will spread over most of my backyard. It also grows fast and makes great mulch/compost.

You can make mulch from just about any plant material except fruit. The best is leaves, grass, weeds and tree trimmings though.

Why Use Mulch?

Mulch is a great soil conditioner. It decomposes and turns into compost which is a great fertilizer with lots of nitrogen. Mulch also reduces water evaporation from the soil which means plants will get more water for a longer period of time. Mulch helps prevent soil from drying out. You have to water less when you cover the soil with mulch.

Here’s another bonus that I discovered recently. If you want to start a vegetable garden from seeds then Mulch is the secret. I tried Jiffy Peat Pots without success. They dried out very fast even though I watered them everyday. So I planted some watermelon seeds in my garden and covered the area with grass mulch. I watered every other day. 7 days later I had watermelon sprouts. It’s like magic.

One more benefit is weed prevention. Mulch will reduce the number of weeds that will grow in an area with mulch.

How to Use Mulch

Mulch is simple to use. You just spread it over the soil in a 1-2″ thick layer. Now water as you normally would but only when the soil under the mulch is dry. Mulch will eventually decompose into the soil so you’ll have to add more as the layer gets thinner.

How to Start Vegetable Seeds Outside

So what’s the easiest and most productive way to start seeds for a vegetable garden?

Is it, in peat pots inside?

Or in garden soil outside?

Or by soaking them in water first and then planting them?

I figured this out the hard way…from experience. I tried the peat pots filled with garden soil. I placed them outside on my patio. I put 3 cucumber seeds in a 1/2 deep hole in each peat pot and watered every other day. They dried out very fast because they are exposed to the air on all sides. I tried to keep them moist but failed. They never sprouted after 2 months.

So did I give up? Nope

I had been experimenting with grass mulch in the yard, I have a 6′ x 4′ area covered with grass mulch/clippings. Mulch does wonderful things to soil. Anyway, I decided to throw the last 10 or so seeds into this area under about 1/2″ of soil and then covered it with grass mulch.I watered every few days for about 2 weeks. And Wah lah. I now have 10 seedlings growing throw the grass mulch.

Cucumber Seedlings growing through mulch

Here is a close up of the cucumber seedlings growing through the grass mulch.

Cucumber seedlings growing

So why did this work?

Well, the grass mulch keeps the soil moist by preventing the air from evaporating the water. The seeds stayed moist and germinated in about 10 days.

 

Natural Bug Repellent for House and Yard

Would you like to keep bugs/inspects out of your house and yard?

…and without using toxic smelly pesticide chemicals?

The truth is you absolutely can. I have been able to keep those noisy crickets away from my house for 3 years now without using pesticides.

So how did I do it?

…Cedar Mulch.

That’s right Cedar Mulch is a great natural bug repellent. I spread Cedar Mulch around the perimeter of my house in a 2-3″ layer. I push the mulch up against the foundation and then spread it outwards about 2 feet. The sap in Cedar is toxic to insects and they avoid it like the Plague.

Cedar Mulch Insect Repellent

Cedar Mulch bug barrier 2

Why do you think Cedar Chests were used to store clothing? Because it repels insects like moths that eat fabric.

Cedar Mulch not only repels insects of all kinds but is also a great soil conditioner. It will help the soil retain moisture and add nitrogen as it decomposes. It also makes the yard smell nice.

Cedar Mulch is much cheaper to use as a bug barrier than any pesticide. Most gallon containers of pesticides are about $30 and that last about 6 months. Cedar Mulch costs about $3.50/2 cubic ft bag at Home Depot. I used about 15 bags to cover the backyard perimeter of my house. That cost me $55.00. These 15 bags will last about 3 years. After 3 years, I start adding to the existing mulch, a few bags every other month.

Worm Castings: The Complete Guide [Updated 2020]

Worm Casting are the “One Stop Shop” fertilizer for any garden or yard. It’s ALL you need for the most productive garden and most beautiful flowers. PERIOD

Let’s talk about What Are Worm Castings?

Worm Castings are simply the waste product from earth worms. Worms eat dead plant matter and digest it. Bacteria in the worm’s digestive track break down the plant matter into its most basic form. The material that doesn’t get absorbed by the worm’s digestive system is high in concentrated nitrates, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and calcium and is excreted as castings or waste. It also contains manganese, copper, zinc, cobalt, borax, iron, carbon and nitrogen.and serves as fertilizer [food] for plants.

There are also enzymes/microbes in the waste that make it even more nutritious and easily absorbed by plants. The worm’s enzymes and microbes are responsible for breaking down the worm’s food into very basic compounds.

Think of worm castings as Baby Food…very nutritious and easily digestible.

Worm Castings: What it does

Worm castings are simply the absolute best fertilizer for gardens, grass, flowers, trees and shrubs. The reason it is the best fertilizer is that it’s already broken down to a level that is easy for plants to absorb. Other fertilizers need to be broken down before plants can absorb it, even compost.

Worm castings are 100% natural and can never harm any plant no matter how little or how much you apply to the soil. It’s the “Fail Safe” fertilizer.

Worm Castings will enrich any soil [even sand] and enable plants to grow faster, healthier and produce more fruit. You can see the difference in days. It’s remarkable.

Benefits of Worm Castings

  • All-In-One fertilizer
  • 100% safe
  • Organic
  • Promote rapid growth
  • Promotes growth of more and bigger fruit
  • Prevents diseases
  • Enhances any soil

How to Use Worm Castings

You can just apply worm casting on top of the soil in your garden, around trees, shrubs, grass, etc. Always apply it to the drip or root line and not directly against the trunk or bulb. Apply it where the roots are. The nutrients will seep into the soil whenever it gets watered. You can apply as much as you feel like. Typical applications are about 1-2 inches of castings on top of the soil.

Optimal Method: First aerate or loosen the soil in the area you would like to fertilize like the garden or around trees. Mix/till the soil with as much castings as you like. When the soil is aerated or tilled, it’s easier for the nutrients in worm castings to penetrate the soil when watered. Plant roots will be able to absorb the fertilizer faster and easier when using this fertilizing method. Mixing the soil with castings will also preserve moisture, prevent compaction and promote aeration.

Now apply a layer of worm castings to the top of the loosened soil. I usually add about 1 inch of worm castings to my garden and around my trees. This will provide nutrients for about 3-4 months. I usually apply more every 6 months to keep plants healthy and growing.

Worm Castings Tea

Worm casting tea is a liquid fertilizer made from worm castings and water. It’s used to fertilize plants and protect them from disease. You can water plants like normal with it and/or spray over the entire plant, leaves and all to protect it from disease.

How to Make Worm Castings Tea

What you need

  • 4 cups Worm Castings
  • 1-2 gallons of water [un-chlorinated if possible, like rainwater]
  • 1 oz Molasses or sugar [food for beneficial microorganisms or microbes]
  • Aerator – like an air stone and air pump for aquariums
  • 5 gallon Bucket

Mix the worm castings, molasses and water in the 5 gal bucket. Setup aeration in the bottom of the bucket so it circulates the water. Now let it aerate for 3 days.

Now use the worm castings tea to water your plants and watch them grow.

How to Store Worm Castings

The cardinal rule of storing worm castings is…don’t let it get moldy from too much moisture. Keep it dry in a container with a lid or in a plastic or burlap bag . Store it in a dry location.

Popular Brands of Worm Castings

Wiggly Worm
Worm Gold
Vermicast
Espoma
Brut Worm Farms
Bloom City – worm castings tea
Life Cycle Organics
Sun Gro Black Gold
Wonder Soil

Where to Buy Worm Castings

You can usually buy worm castings locally. Worm farmers will sell castings and worms. I found a local worm farmer [The Arizona Worm Farm] in Phoenix, AZ. The worms and castings are pretty cheap. You can also find online stores that sell worm castings in bags. Here is a link where you can buy worm castings…Buy at Amazon.com.

worm castings 5 lb bag

How To Make Your Own Worm Castings

It’s actually pretty simple. Basically, you get a plastic container and put worm bedding, food and worms in it and wait 3 – 6 months.

Here is a List of Items Needed

  • Plastic storage container/bin with lid
  • Worm Bedding – compost, coconut coir, paper, cardboard, straw, yard dirt, etc.
  • Worm Food – kitchen scraps like lettuce, egg shells, fruit, banana peels, carrots, etc
  • Red Worms – these are special composting worms that eat a lot and reproduce quickly. They are not the typical worm you find in your yard.

It really is that simple.

Here’s how you setup a Worm Farm

Plastic Storage Container/Bin
Buy a dark colored storage container/bin with a good fitting lid. Do not get a clear container. Worms like it dark. You can get one as large as you like.

Regarding the dimensions, look for something with more surface area. You ideally do not want something square and really tall. Look for a rectangular bin that is longer than it is tall. Here is a good one’s dimensions, 14 gallon storage bin – 24.5″ L x 16.75″ W x 10.5″ H. I just bought one at Walmart for $9.99.

worm farm plastic bin

This design just makes it easier to manage and gives the worms more area to crawl around. It also lets more oxygen get into the soil.

Prepare the Worm Farm Bin for Aeration
Drill 1/4″ ventilation holes in all sides of the bin. Start about 2″ from the top and space the holes about 1″ – 2″ from center to center. Drill the holes in a 4″ – 5″ band all the way around the bin. This will allow good air circulation. Now the worm farm bin is ready.

I read several articles on making a worm farm bin and some suggested drilling holes in the bottom for drainage. I don’t agree with this but that’s just my opinion. If you need drainage for excess water then you are adding too much water. If you happen to do this just add more dry bedding to absorb the water. I prefer a sold bottom to retain moisture and keep the worms from escaping.

Worm Bedding
Worm bedding can be a lot of things and should be a good mixture of a lot of things.

Here is a list of bedding materials

  • Coconut Coir
  • Unbleached paper without colored ink
  • Cardboard
  • Compost
  • Newspaper
  • Egg crates
  • Straw
  • Soil
  • Egg shells

Worm bedding is where the red worms will basically live. They will also eat this material eventually and turn it into worm castings.

The bulk of worm bedding should be Coconut Coir or Compost. Then mix in some paper, cardboard, backyard dirt for grit and egg shells for minerals. Now moisten the mixture so that it feels like a damp sponge. You don’t want it soaking wet…just DAMP. If you grab a handful and squeeze it, only a few drops of water should drip from it.

Now add some worms and table scraps and then cover them with the bedding. Worms don’t like to be above the surface. Now put the worm farm bin lid on and keep in a shaded spot outside to keep it a little cooler.

What to Feed Your Worms

  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Grass
  • Leaves

What NOT to Feed Your Worms

  • Dairy
  • Meat
  • Spicey fruit like hot peppers, chili’s, Serrano’s, ghost peppers, etc
  • Citrus
  • Animal fat
  • Oil or grease
  • Bread or sugar

Keep the worm bedding moist by adding a little water when it gets dry. Try to use water that has been sitting 24 hours instead of tap water. It’s better to use water without chlorine.

If you accidentally add too much water, just add more bedding to absorb the excess water.

Add table scraps [worm food] when you see none left from the last time you added it. Try not to add too much at one time because it will rot and smell. It’s better to add not enough than too much. Monitor how much your worms eat in a week and adjust how much you give them. It’s also a good idea to put the food in a different place each time. It gets the worms moving around more. A good thing!

When most of the worm bedding has been turned into castings, it’s time to harvest the castings. Or it can be whenever you want.

So how do you separate the worms from the castings?

It’s actually quite easy…Push all of the castings and worms to one side of the bin. Now add fresh bedding and food to the other side. Wait 1 – 2 weeks. All of the worms will move to the side with fresh bedding and food. Now the castings will be empty of worms and you can scoop it out.

Can You Use Worms from Your Yard?

I’ve had several readers ask if they can harvest worms from their backyard to start a composting worm farm.

The answer is Yes. I’m actually going to try this. I don’t know how it will turn out though. I read that red wigglers are the best because they eat a lot and reproduce rapidly. I don’t know what species of worms I’m attracting in my garden but they are smaller like red wigglers. There’s only one way to find out.

I’m attracting worms in my garden right now. I loosened the soil and mixed it with some compost I bought from Lowes. I also have a good 1″ layer of compost on the top of the soil. I have been burying veggie scraps in the garden periodically. Then I water everyday to keep it moist. I’ll continue with this for about 2 weeks.

When I dug a hole to bury some scraps on Sunday [9/20/20], I notice some worms in the soil already. Yippee! It’s working…even in Arizona’s hot desert climate.

I’m attracting worms in September with a high temperature of 105 degrees.

Are Electric Lawn Mowers Any Good?

Are Electric Lawn Mowers Any Good?

The short answer is YES.

I’ve had 2 corded electric lawn mowers and both were very good. I would buy them again if I needed to. I currently have an American Lawn Mower Co. 50514 14″ corded electric lawn mower. I bought it for just over $100 delivered to my front door.

Electric Mower 14"

Why Buy an Electric Lawn Mower?

  1. Cost – corded electric lawn mowers are very inexpensive compared to a gas lawn mower. The price range is $90 – $300 depending on the make and model.
  2. Low Noise – I enjoy peace and quiet and so a loud lawn mower would not make me happy. It’s bad enough I hear the neighbors landscapers running gas powered weed wackers early on Saturday morning. It’s annoying! Electric lawn mowers are pretty quiet.
  3. Light Weight – I think my lawn mower weighs about 20 lbs. I can pick it up with one hand and carry it around. It’s also very easy to push.
  4. Compact Designs – electric motors are smaller than gas engines which makes them more compact and easier to store. I can store mine inside a trunk on the patio.
  5. No Gas or Oil – gas and oil are not human friendly chemicals and they are also flammable. I prefer to not have them around the house.
  6. No Exhaust Fumes – I can do without that blue oily smoke that comes out of a 2 cycle gas engine.
  7. Powerful – electric motors can produce as much power as gas engines. My electric lawn mower has a 11 amp motor and mows down grass and weeds easily. It mulches the clippings up nicely for the compost pile.
  8. Low Maintenance – just about zero maintenance for on an electric mower…just sharpen the blade and clean it off. Gas lawn mowers need the oil changed, spark plugs replaced, air filter replaced or cleaned and a gas/oil mixture for fuel. If water gets in the fuel tank, then you have to flush the fuel system. That’s not fun at all.

Bottom Line: a good electric lawn mower will perform as well as a gas mower. You don’t need to sacrifice anything. Your ears will thank you. Check out the Best Inexpensive Lawn Mower.

What is the Best Inexpensive Lawn Mower?

What is the best inexpensive lawn mower?

It depends on whether you want a gas powered lawn mower or electric. Keep in mind that electric lawn mowers are cheaper than gas powered.

I’ll tell you what I bought but let me give you a little background information first. Just a sneak peak…I bought an electric lawn mower for a little over $100.

I recently started growing grass in my backyard again after having dirt for about 5 years. So now I have some grass and a lot of weeds. I tried to pull the weeds out but this seemed to be a never ending chore and it was not fun.

So now I decided to regrow Bermuda Grass in the backyard to cover the dirt and choke out the weeds. The grass that is already there is growing tall along with the weeds, so I needed a lawn mower. I have been wanting to compost for a long time and now this will provide the material. It kills 2 birds with 1 stone.

Backyard overgrown weeds and grass

Here’s my backyard. The weeds and grass are really overgrown. The American Lawn Mower Co. 50514 did a great job of turning everything into a nice mulch.

I looked at electric lawn mowers because they are quieter, lighter weight and generally cheaper. Plus I don’t have to deal with gasoline and oil.

There are quite a few good ones but the price can get to $250+ easily. GreenWorks, American Lawn Mower Co, Black & Decker and Sun Joe offer some really nice models at low prices. The price really goes up when you get a bigger mower in terms of width of the blade. I bought a 14″. If I wanted a 21″ mower, it would have cost quite a bit more. 14″ works great for me since I have a small backyard, 47′ x 25′.

So anyway, I bought a American Lawn Mower Co 50514 14″ electric mower. I paid $117 for it from Amazon.com. I will tell you right now…I LOVE IT.

Here is a link to buy the American Lawn Mower 50514….Buy at Amazon.com

American Lawn Mower 50514 Features

  • Electric powered 11 amp motor
  • 14″ cutting width
  • 9 Gal Grass catcher
  • Mulching type blade
  • Lightweight (probably around 20 lbs)
  • Cheap $117.00 delivered to my front door
  • Compact design – can store it anywhere.
  • 5 grass height adjustment settings from 1″ to 2.5″
  • Adjustable handle height
  • Easy assembly – no tools needed, about 15 minutes to complete
  • Cord retention hook to keep power cord from pulling out
  • Ergo cushioned handle
  • 7″ easy roll composite wheels
  • Cool looking design – black and silver
  • Cord powered – can keep cutting until it’s done
  • 2 year manufacturers warranty

So I got this lawn mower about a week ago and used it the same weekend that I received it. I was excited to see how well it would mow down my tall weeds and turn them into mulch.

Backyard weeds and grass after mowing

You can see the path the 50514 made in the grass/weeds.

The 50514 did a really good job, even on my overgrown weed infested yard. The weeds were about 2 feet high and really big in diameter. The 50514 really cut them down. The electric motor has some power. I took it slow and in narrow swaths. The mulch in the catcher was nice and finely chopped.