Tuesday, 12 January 2010

roasty toasty and rescuing worms

Yesterday was our first 40+ day of the year: 43.6C (that's 110F).  Last night it dipped down to a low of 30.6, the equal hottest night in recorded history, tied with a night in 1902.  Today was still in the 30s until about 3pm.  Fun times in the age of global warming!

I managed it better than last year's heat, though last year we had three 40+ days in a row, another record.  I made sure everything was well-watered beforehand, including the geraniums and some of the younger shrubs and the Japanese maple.  The tomatoes have a shade cloth shield this year which helped enormously.  The multi-graft citrus took a bit of sunburn because unfortunately, it's in the middle of a flush of new growth.

The close scare was the worm farm.  The day before the heat I soaked some newspaper and put it in the freezer, then put it into the worm farm in the morning.  This morning I went to check on them and got a real surprise when I opened the lid.  It was like and exodus of worms desperately trying to crawl out the lid, but too scared of the light outside.  They were obviously not happy.  I got all the ice in the house, wrapped it in newspaper and put it in the worm farm.  I also hosed it down with some cold water and hoped for the best.

This afternoon I checked on them again and the ice obviously helped, they were no longer trying to climb out the top.  Next time there's a hot day coming I'm going to freeze a few plastic bags full of water and use those.

http://www.alexareynolds.com/garden10/wormjuice.JPGI watered the box down again and as I listened to the water trickle into the lower box I thought I should check on the worm wee box.  I'm glad I did, because it turns out they were trying to escape through the bottom too!  So I filled half a bucket with my first harvest of coffee-black worm wee ... straining it through shade cloth of course and rescuing a golfball-sized clump of worms in the meantime.  I didn't take any photos of the worms, partially because I was too busy trying to rescue them and partially because they're not pretty to look at.  But I did take this photo of my first worm wee harvest, the January 2009 vintage Petit Chateau.

Watered down, it's meant to be a great liquid fertilizer.  I'm looking forward to trying it out and seeing how my plants like it.


Funkbunny said...

glad that your garden and worms survived. I'm envious of your worm wee - it's supposed to be amazing fertilizer. I'm adopting a friends worm farm in a week so may be asking on tips on how to keep them alive!

Joy said...

Isn't this weather hard on our gardens. The cool change is lovely. May it rain and rain and rain!
Good thinking re keeping your worms cool.

everydayG said...

The worm wee looks very much like flat pepsi... I wouldn't place it anywhere near the fridge :)

Mari said...

Worm wee!?! Sounds like you are getting a bit carried away, darling. :D