Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Hydrangea Pot Vermicomposting

As I mentioned in a prior post, my mophead hydrangea plants are situated in front of my house.  When I sweep the floor (filled with dust, hair, skin cells, dead insects), I promptly pour the contents as hydrangea mulch.  I would partially the dirty mulch credit for the hydrangea's continued health.  However, since I also throw some food scraps there (lemon, onion, other fruit peels), I've been seeing roaches much too frequently in the area, not to mention gnats.  So I changed strategies.  I covered the dirty mulch with lots of coffee grounds and paper scraps and put in a couple of African Nightcrawlers.   Well this isn't my first try at pot vermicomposting, so I know this could work.   I've also vermicomposted using what I call a reverse mulch technique with live plants on top (mango, cat's whiskers, habanero, etc).  Anyway, I continued caring for the plant, not really paying too much attention to the mulch.  I've thrown at least 20 roaches into that pot over the months so you'd understand why I don't want to touch it much.  That was until today.

For the past couple of days (after over a month since the mulch), I've been noticing that the soil on the pot (yes, I can see soil already) seemed grainy.  That's a good sign if you're used to seeing vermicompost.  So today, I got my trusty trowel and snooped around.  There were lots of worms and at least two inches of vermicompost on top.  Not bad huh?  The more you ignore them, the more they thrive.  I'm pretty sure most of them were African Nightcrawlers and not earthworms.  I can almost distinguish them physically now.  And besides, they were lolling around organic matter.  Earthworms tend to stay in soil, correct?   Since I was running low on ANC inventory anyway, I gathered an ice cream container full of worms and vermicompost so I can easily fill an order for a worm bin.  I also replaced the lost mass with about two handfulls of shredded paper along with a few scoops of used coffee grounds.

With my recent successes in pot vermicomposting, my thoughts have been wandering towrads my mom's absolutely large pots at the back.  I am thinking about the possibilities.    

Until next month! 

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