Thursday, April 18, 2013

Making & Using New Dirt

This afternoon, I re-worked one of the worm boxes.Worm castings (the dirt that worms leave behind; actually, it's worm poo) are one of the best kinds of compost in the world, so I made use of it.

I made some dirt. Well, I made some potting soil. Not quite the same thing.

Since I'll be growing a LOT of plants in pots this summer, I'll need a LOT of dirt.

Here's the recipe:
3 shovels of worm castings. Pull the worms out and return them to the worm box.
3 shovels of good, clean, garden dirt.
1 or 2 pints of used coffee grounds.
1 gallon or so of peat moss

1 or 2 quarts coarse sand.
1/2 cup bone meal, or general purpose fertilizer.

Screen all the ingredients into a large tub. Roll up your sleeves and mix it all up.

So here's some of what I planted:

  • Tasty Bites Hybrid Cantaloupes. These will grow to the size of small softballs. They're super sweet. These are probably my favorites.
  • Athena Cantaloupes. These are the big ones. I grew both of these last year, from starts provided by a very helpful veterinarian. This year, she gave me her leftover seeds. 
I've actually already got cantaloupe starts going, but they're from last year's seeds. Furthermore, I didn't know that I had two different species, so I'm not sure which ones I'm growing (probably Athena's melons). And finally: they're from hybrids. It's very likely that they won't produce the same fruit this year as they did last year. 
  • Rose Flynn Apple fingerling potatoes. They really are the size of fingers, or maybe the size of my thumbs, which are admittedly fairly lumpy. I planted them in newsprint start pots
I've never grown fingerling potatoes before. This might be interesting.

Then I also used the dirt to side-dress some of the basil starts.The starts are small (under an inch), but their soil is also under an inch deep. And basil really doesn't want to be planted outdoors until June, so these kids may be with me for a while. They deserve more nourishment. They're so small, I needed to use a teaspoon to spread the dirt around their tiny stems.

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