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Bedford Ramblings
Steve Mills

Can Spring really be near? Are we ready for a garden club meeting?

Posted Monday, March 10, 2014, at 11:26 AM
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  • What a day today is! Too bad it is a work day. But I will see if I can take advantage of the extra daily near day's end.

    Has anyone ever made a shovel handle? Actually a garden fork handle.

    I have a few garden forks (minus the handle) and hate to buy another fork. I can't find any replacement handles and am not comfortable with ordering one without seeing it in person. Too many possibilities for a bad fit.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Mar 10, 2014, at 11:31 AM
  • I think co-op has some handles.....doesn't dawn dish soap, diluted a little, help with squash bugs...one thing is for sure, if you need worms or night crawlers for that matter, there are tons under the wash up brush on the other side of the river bridge...I can't remember ever buying them much......every early summer we would dig some and put them in an old cooler...as long as we turned the dirt on occasion and gave them a little moisture and crumbled leaves there was always enough...we used them often enough they didn't overpopulate their space and die...red wigglers sure caught the black eyed perch....when fishing was over, the garden was a great place to throw the left overs...my worm digging days seem to be over but a fishing trip might be in the near future if there are more days like today..it was beautiful out there and I still have the windows open.

    -- Posted by chefgrape on Mon, Mar 10, 2014, at 11:47 PM
  • Finding a handle is easy. I'd like to figure out how to take an old one out and install a new one on a few old shovels. I guess that's where google comes in handy...

    -- Posted by espoontoon on Tue, Mar 11, 2014, at 8:26 AM
  • Your comment about using the cooler made my mind work a little. I now wish I had held on to a chest freezer some years ago.

    I originally held on to it to make it a raised bed garden with a patio glass door as a top so I could grow in the winter, but abandoned that for some reason. I think I just kept procrastinating and in a fit of Spring cleaning yelled "Out with it"!

    But now I can see me setting it on blocks at a sleight angle so the moisture will drain to one end, installing a tap to drain off the moisture, then installing two permeable walls that worms can transfer through.

    Fill one with worms and scraps until it is 80-90% digested, then filling the next chamber where most of the worms would migrate, while the few remaining would "finish off" the original batch.

    Then I would empty the original section of its worm castings leaving it empty to "air out". That would stop the worms from migrating back to the original from the center.

    When the center was just about done, I would fill the third compartment, then repeat all the other steps as I did for the previous chambers, occasionally draining off the liquid fertilizer from the bottom.

    This would still use the original freezer lid so the lock mechanism would have to be totally removed to avoid any mishaps and small holes with screening to keep it aerated would not be bad either. The screen would keep fruit flies, etc. from coming or going.

    The insulation that used to keep the frozen air in would temper the cold or hot air outside so I should be able to operate it year round inside or out.

    Because of winter like this last one, I might consider putting a heat tape inside to supplement it. If the freezer did not have a thermometer to monitor the inside temp, I might add one of those also.

    This would all work if worms will migrate from side to side. If they just migrate up, then it might need some tweaking. The growing bed was still a good idea too. Hmmmm, just why DID I get rid of that freezer?

    -- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Mar 11, 2014, at 8:50 AM
  • Those bathtubs you like so well surely have a drain built in...but if they are the cast iron type id bet they would freeze hard in the winter...might be easier to stick a heat strip on the side of them then wrap them though....kitchen minded...a bus tub would work well for a worm tub...very durable and slow to disintegrate, they would be a lot easier to handle or move and you could ice pick a couple wholes for drainage if you gravel the bottom layer...want one?

    -- Posted by chefgrape on Tue, Mar 11, 2014, at 11:49 AM
  • Those could probably be adapted nicely to make a multi-layer worm bin like the commercial. I was going to try Rubber-Maid.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Mar 11, 2014, at 1:51 PM
  • espoontoon, I am guessing it is the type of handle where wood goes into a sheath or tube attached to the shovel? The only way I know to remove that is to cut the handle off flat so you can drill into it and eventually degrade the wood so I can pull it out in pieces.

    If it has a metal peg running through it from side to side, I grind off the heads on both sides. Then I try to drive drive it out one side with another piece of metal of similar diameter.

    If screws won't unscrew, I grind them off as well so they pull out with the remainder of the handle after I have drilled and chipped enough of the wood away.

    I know some folks who put the shovel head in a fire to burn the wood out but if it gets too hot it can affect the strength of the metal. I am not a blacksmith, so I don't know how to do that correctly.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Mar 11, 2014, at 6:01 PM
  • Over the past week we have let thousands of ladybugs out of the house and greenhouse, I would bet at least a thousand a day. Based on that, we should not have an aphid anywhere in the neighborhood. :-)

    We have tried vacuuming them but all vacuums are too strong and end up killing most of them so we use a long-handle dust-pan to scrape the windows and a small whisk broom to herd them out of the corners and areas we can't reach easily with the dust-pan.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Mar 11, 2014, at 6:05 PM
  • It may not be as big as you're wanting, but it's easy and relatively inexpensive to make a worm bin from two plastic totes.

    If you want to do A LOT of worm castings, you could employ multiples of those and still have something manageable.

    Maybe I can bring mine to one of the meetings for you to get a look at.

    -- Posted by mg.mark on Mon, Mar 17, 2014, at 11:09 AM
  • That sounds good. I'll return your corn seed at the same time. (have not forgotten)

    -- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Mar 17, 2014, at 1:19 PM
  • The keeper of our garden club list just bought a new computer so should be able to get the. List to everyone before too long..

    -- Posted by jbillswms on Mon, Mar 17, 2014, at 7:00 PM
  • New computers can be doubled-edged blessings/curses. If it is Windows, good luck with the new operating system.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Mar 18, 2014, at 2:20 PM
  • Yep! Windows 8. Sharp learning curve.

    -- Posted by jbillswms on Tue, Mar 18, 2014, at 5:25 PM
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