Worms and food waste in my side yard

I had a shitty weed season, weak Blueberry autoflowers from ILGM. The vegetable garden is great this summer, so I am using garden byproducts and worms to build up soil for next year.

I am building raised beds. Sticks and leaves on the bottom. Then a layer of garden waste, leaves and stems of my tomatoes and peppers and squash. Then a bunch of compost full of worms, with a bit of cow manure mixed in. Topping it all off will be leaf mulch from our New England maple trees. Then cover with sheets of cardboard to help hold the heat in and let it all cook over the winter. Lasagna soil! South-facing, decent sunshine, I’m hoping for some good, fertile dirt for next year’s crop.

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I do raised beds/large containers, have for several years now. We get amazing results. Since you haven’t built yet look into wicking beds also called sip beds. It saves you a but load of time watering etc and makes the beds drought proof of you forget to water. All my beds/containers are made this way now. I’ve also diy/off shelf my own drip irrigation for over 300 containers/raised beds/in ground etc that’s almost fully automated.

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Depending on where you live, compost piles can go dormant in winter. It may be a few more months when spring arrives before it all breaks down and it is ready to use.

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I looked up wicking beds. It looks like a very cool technique. However, in my case, I want to attract the native earthworms that live in my soil (every shovelful I dig has at least one worm, indicating the soil is healthy), and the water reservoir would be a barrier. Watering isn’t a problem for me, I am retired with too much time on my hands…

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Yeah, I am concerned about the winter. I am relying on worms rather than the traditional bacteria-based compost pile. I have 1000+ red wiggler worms which are active above 40F/5C degrees, so I am hoping I can keep the temps above that as much as possible. The native earthworms work deeper than the red wigglers. Where I live in central Massachusetts, the winters are relatively mild, above freezing most days, not too many extremely cold nights (below 15F / -10C) The warmth of the decomposing vegetation at the bottom, the insulation of the leaves, and the plastic hoop houses I am building above, will capture and hold solar heat, I hope. We’ll see…

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I am on the east coast too. Sounds like you have a good plan in place to keep it going. I look forward to see how it works for you. I am a few states south of you, so if you have success, gives me something to plan for the follow year with our compost bin for the winter.

I have added a small indoor worm bin to get the castings and tea from. Lot better then buying it all the time and really not the mess my wife was expecting from the bin. :smiley:

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I figured I wouldn’t fool around with a specialized worm bin, so after I built my first raised bed this summer, I use it only for worms. When I set up the other 4 raised beds in the fall, I’ll introduce the worms and let them do their work right in place. The big advantage I see from a worm bin is I could keep it in the basement or garage over the winter.

Glad your wife is happy. Mine is still creeped out that the worms are in the yard! :grimacing:

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I have mine in the basement by the grow room. She is into the organic growing of vegetables and herbs, so it works out for me. I take care of her stuff and I can have my hobby.

Growing in the ground is unfortunately not an option for me, so any outdoor growing for me has to be in containers and portable.

Next year I want to dump some worms in the garden plots before we add the vegetables and herbs so I can save my castings for indoors.

I am not sure I am ready to have them in the fabric pots with the plants, especially since I grow in 3 gallon ones…lol

Thanks for spreading the knowledge guys

I use raised beds and 50L pots. I live in Las Vegas, NV. I lost much of my grow (outdoor) season because of heat wave. I took out 90% of my crop and seed delivery was hampered by Covid. In southwest US, temps are still high at end of September. We are just getting down to 100F (37-38C). August topped out 47-48C (115-116F). It fried most of my babies. I take tree leaves (some whole, some ground), bananas, kitchen scraps for my mulch containers. I add coco, peat, perlite, and vermiculite to make a blend. I use ORGANIC fertilizer, Kelp powder, liquid kelp, calcium, magnesium additives. I use different fertilizers at different times for garden (specific to grow stage - NPK ) but just vegetable fertilizer (tomatoe actually) for my mulch, I use the same for tea. I mulch for an entire season. Worms just can’t make it here, too hot. I use leaves as a mulch cover to maintain moisture.
My current crop started near the end of August (week 3) so most of my plants are small. I am using autoflower at this time to get as much as I can out of this grow. There is no way to determine grow season here. Last year, no winter temps below 34F, so I actually had Acapulco Gold growing through winter. My issue becomes sunlight. I got plenty heat but short days mess things up. I never found anyone talking about daylight vs sunlight. This will be the time for me to learn. I went from indoor to outdoor. Indoor was too expensive, time consuming and required alot of attention. Outdoors, I plant, water when drooping and have a good soil base to feed them besides additives here and there.
Current crop includes - CBD red, CBD 30:1, GDPurp, cookies Gelato, White widow, Orange sherbet, Critical kush, Gorilla girl, Bubba kush, Sweet zombie and Wonder Woman (by far the biggest producer and she actually made it through the heat wave.
Any ideas for dealing with the high heat and shorter days to come? I will try to keep a few through the winter (average 45F low, 75F daytime). I apprecaite all insights, grow tips

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Autoflowers don’t care about day length, so they should flower just fine. I found that plants which only got 5 hours of direct (summer) sun per day flowered and thrived, though they were small. I am in Massachusetts, significantly farther north than LV, so I bet your winter sun would be enough.