The Glory Has Departed


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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Waiting for the Sun This Morning

Earthworms are all protein (N),
and they excrete nitrogen.
Live or die, they are great for the soil.

I often get a morning Facebook greeting from the gardeners - and from those who wake up too early. Sassy and I get up before dawn, but she goes back to sleep. To quote Shakespeare - "Would that it were day." That was what the French said just before being clobbered on St. Crispin's Day.

But we go out to win. We deliver Mr. Gardener's paper, so he has it at the door when he gets up. We often spot the Veteran at the end of the block. He offers to adopt Sassy each time. When we get back, we get bird seed ready, using a combination of sunflower seeds, nuts, corn, and other bird favorites. This increases the variety of birds feeding.

Mr. Gardener offered me free concrete blocks so I am going to expand the Jackson Bird Spa into the Jackson Animal Convention Center. The blocks offer lots of little pockets for food and shelter, more room on the top for foods.

Mrs. I asked if I put the muffins on the filing cabinet feeder outside. "Does Notre Dame play football?" I asked.

"No," she responded.

Water the microbes and they will transport water
to the plants.
Water storage in the soil? - Microbes and earthworms.


Earthworms
There has arisen a division among you about earthworms. Some fail to rightly distinguish one type from another.

Most are aware of dew worms, which have many other nicknames. They are often hunted at night by fishermen, armed with flashlights and quick reflexes. However, dew worms cannot be domesticated and raised in bins. They are deep diggers and must obey their created design.

One scientist has argued that vast areas of the world became fertile once the active earthworms spread by way of European settlers. Their boots, their plants, and their animals' hooves brought the egg cases to North and South America, making rich soil much more productive.

The Wormhaven Gardening Book deals with this in more detail. Click on the free PDF.

The red wiggler worm is not only a great fishing worm, but also the best at working soil, compost, and mulch.

Red wigglers will increase to their maximum numbers if properly fed with organic matter. God manages the details. We only need to add organic food on top. The worms pull down what they need. However, they do NOT like inorganic, chemical fertilizers, the stinky expensive stuff.

Put Down the N-P-K Bag and Support Your Local Earthworms
However, macro- and micro-arthropods (such as springtails and fungus-feeding mites) and worms, in particular, shun areas where there are synthetic fertilizers. They either don’t do well with these high concentrations or their food sources disappear. This further degrades the soil structure and the production of humus. In addition, mycorrhizal fungi and nitrogen-fixing bacteria do not form symbiotic relationships when there are high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus. Mycorrhizal fungi are the largest single source of carbon in soils, and nitrogen-fixing bacteria are a free source of nitrogen, a macronutrient most often in short supply. So, by maintaining a healthy soil food web, gardeners can get carbon, nitrogen, and other nutrients for their plants for free.

Lowenfels, Jeff;  (2013-05-07). Teaming with Nutrients: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to Optimizing Plant Nutrition (Kindle Locations 3228-3233). Timber Press. Kindle Edition. 

The process should fascinate any gardener, because it begins with micro-organisms we never see, their work leveraged by the hungry earthworms.

Worm castings, another “almost fertilizer,” but this time because it’s next to impossible to supply a guaranteed N–P–K analysis, also contain a lot of microbes. The worms ingest organic matter, but what they are really after are bacteria, protozoa, and fungi, some of which they digest. They process the rest of the material into castings with a higher concentration of organic matter and great N–P–K, as well as calcium, copper, zinc, and other minerals, than in the source material.

Lowenfels, Jeff; (2013-05-07). Teaming with Nutrients: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to Optimizing Plant Nutrition (Kindle Locations 3500-3503). Timber Press. Kindle Edition. 

You spent how much killing dandelion herbs,
which are good for the soil and birds,
and they returned again?


Earthworm Castings = Manure
Earthworm castings concentrate nutrients, which is why they are so popular with organic gardeners. They contain 10 times more potassium, 5 times more nitrogen, 7 times more phosphorus, 3 times more magnesium, 1.5 times more calcium, and 1.4 times more humus than the soil that went into the worm.


Lowenfels, Jeff; (2013-05-07). Teaming with Nutrients: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to Optimizing Plant Nutrition (Kindle Locations 3494-3496). Timber Press. Kindle Edition. 

Those castings may be on top of the soil, so some pea-brains kill earthworms to avoid the worm-poop. They must crawl through their grass to find it and become scandalized, like those offended when reading justification by faith or quotations from the Book of Concord on this blog.

The castings are also distributed through the soil, depending on the worms' habits. The tunneling aerates teh soil, which is good, and makes it easier for rain to penetrate the soil (clay) or to stay in the root zone (clay and sandy soil).

This land of gardeners.