I dug up some salad greens yesterday and was overjoyed to find earthworms in my potted soil. Into the worm bin they went. When I started the vegetable garden, a neighbour asked me what fertiliser I put into the soil. When I told him, he scoffed and said that he only used worm pee. So, off I traipsed to his garden to look at his worms. The generous man gave me a clutch of earthworms, helped me set up the worm bin and I haven't looked back since.
Since then, I have been trying to repay the debt with home made kefir drinks and home grown vegetables. Every now and then, I traipse down the road with my goodies for him.
How does one assign a value to such gifts? His worms to me. My vegetables to him. I guess they are invaluable. You could price them but it doesn't do justice to the heart that went into the making, and the respect that went into the giving. They're only worms and vegetables after all. Cheap stuff. Yet, they are stuff that are hard to find in a world that is increasingly chemical laden.
The 1st storey catches the worm pee. I use worm pee to water the plants.
Inside the 2nd storey, it looks like so. The worms feed on vegetable scraps and produce worm poop. This is a clutch of baby worms. Yay! They are making babies!
Result of worm poop and worm pee: fat and healthy organic vegetables.
I find it so sad that Singaporean children and adults look at ALL insects and worms with distaste. 2 weekends ago, a child walked through my garden only to find later, a tiny grasshopper in her hair. By the time I intervened, the grasshopper was already dead.
To me, all these little critters show me that my garden is clean.
Up in the penthouse garden, many years ago, my garden had many many ladybugs and I even found a praying mantis once. Ladybugs eat the soft bodied insects which feed on my plants (and kill them) - aphids and mealybugs. Most gardeners would spray insecticides to get rid of the soft bodied insects. The very same insecticides also chase away the insect predators such as dragonflies, praying mantises and ladybugs.
Result: one has to spray more and more insecticide. Eventually, when you eat those vegetables, you poison yourself.
I even have some tolerance for the odd grasshopper or caterpillar. They signal to me that there are no poisons in my garden. So, I leave them to bite holes in my vegetables. Of course, if the numbers grow, I try to bring down the numbers by picking them out by hand. Usually, there aren't so many, especially when the birds come by.
My next post will about how to fertilise so that the plants are naturally pest resistant without pesticides.