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RE: Worm castings - miracle cure for diseases and pests? (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: ashkebird on 06.06.2003 at 06:09 am in Organic Rose Growing Forum

I agree with the above poster: Make your own worm compost.

Its not hard, its excellent for the environment, its non toxic, it reduces waste in the landfill (unless you already compost, in which case thank you!) and this moist black stuff really does an amazing job of retaining moisture. Free extra worms for fishing!

My tubs are made of rubbermaid plastic tubs. I use the smaller sizes, and have several of them. Sometimes a bin can go bad, especially when you are starting out, and I just think several smaller ones (10 gal size? Its a rectangular shape. Maybe 15 gal?) are better than one big one.

I used a dremel tool to drill lots of small holes in the top for air circulation (tops of the sides, not in the lid,) Also some larger holes are drilled in the bottom to allow for drainage.

For bedding I use shredded newspaper (office paper line shredder, not confetti,) and 1 bag of starbucks used coffeegrounds. They usually give them out free in silver 5lb bags, (or will save them if you ask,) and its the perfect amout for a smaller rubbermaid bin. I add no water to the paper, I mix those two together, put the lid on and by the next day, the moisture level is perfect. The ground are moist. I also mix in some leftover horse vitamins (not sure what else to do with them,) a handful of real soil ("for grit" its recommended,) a little bone meal, and little alfalfa meal for boosted nutrition, then I pile in all my old tea bags, pieces of leftover fruits and veggies and kitchen scraps, no meat.

Then in a few months, you'll have the richest darkest moistest worm castings. Have fun seperating them from the worms. :) (That's the hard part.)

But that book recommended above is excellent. There are a million websites and there is a whole forum here about it called "Vermicomposting" where they'll answer all your questions.

Aerated compost tea made from worm castings is just fantastic. But to me, especially for tropical plants or houseplants, there is no better product. Its not the fertilizer "rating", its the incredible biological activity in the castings which make them priceless. This breaks down nutrients already in the soil much faster and makes them more available to plants. It absolutely holds moisture better and yet has great drainage.

An example: Last year I went nuts and grew 15 different tomatoes in big 15 gal pots. I decided that I would use 3/4 potting soil, 1/4 chicken manure and worm compost mix (which had worm eggs in it, and some worms.) Plus about two cups of a mixed organic fertilizer.

Plants grew great and died and I put them aside without dumping. I need soil now and am going through them. Of course the roots of the plants died when I chopped them off and have been degrading. The soil inside these pots is like BLACK GOLD. It is FULL of worms, its RICH, when I pick up a handful, I really have to fight myself not to just lick it or something, it looks that good. :) I planted bulbs only in that and they were amazing. The "quality" of the soil, the feel of worm compost is just so perfect. Its about "the big picture" of available micronutrients, quality and biological life, rather than just NPK.

So spend the 10 bucks on the book and some worms, read the vermicomposting forum and get ready to really spoil your roses. Oh, also, I think what they were trying to say with "stronger roses" claim, is that a plant which is getting all the nutrition it needs is less likely to be attacked by insects (which its now being shown prefer weak new high N growth, often created when people really pour on those liquid fertilizers...) more drought hardy, more winter hardy, stronger and overall a healthier plant. The healthier you are (us too,) and less stressed, the better you can fight off disease and pests, period.

Definitely check out worm composting. Its super easy, its not smelly (it shouldn't be,) and the product is worth any trouble, for me at least. Good luck!


home made worm castings
clipped on: 04.17.2014 at 10:43 pm    last updated on: 04.17.2014 at 10:43 pm

RE: rose midge control (Follow-Up #17)

posted by: carolro on 05.30.2010 at 03:09 pm in Roses Forum

I have battling Rose midge for the 3rd year now. Last year I called the Bayer rep. Here's what he said:
Spray with 3 in 1 weekly until you get control. Then every 14 days. He said granules wouldn't be effective so I didn't go that route.

I just discovered some RM today. So I am going to spray every 5 days until I see some improvement. I have read a lot of research on RM, from what I read the better product to fight it is called Doom and cames from Canada. Can't get it here.
Carol R


clipped on: 04.10.2013 at 08:19 am    last updated on: 04.10.2013 at 08:19 am

RE: rose midge control (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: henryinct on 05.02.2009 at 11:18 am in Roses Forum

Gardenmanya, None of the granular lawn products specifically mentions midge but they all seem to work. I have never used any Bayer product and never will and I control midge very well. Get it down early and a second time and maybe a third time and you will control midge. I have not used the delayed release products and I can tell you that spraying for midge once you have it will have no effect whatsoever. You must kill the larvae after they have dropped into the soil. I also believe that heavy mulching is beneficial but I don't know this as a fact.

Also one more thing to consider. I have had separate smaller rose plantings on the property where there has never been an instance of midge. I also grew roses for over 15 years before I saw midge for the first time. This suggests that midge needs to get established before it becomes an ongoing problem. What happens is that you get it the first time ever in a huge rush after which it takes time to get it under control. When you do it is generally no longer a problem.



clipped on: 04.10.2013 at 08:18 am    last updated on: 04.10.2013 at 08:18 am

RE: climbing iceberg (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: wanda on 06.26.2006 at 01:43 am in California Gardening Forum

Diana, it's trained on a ladder trellis.

Davissue, it reblooms quite nicely, sort of like Don Juan...Bloom, rest, bloom, rest, etc., although if I would deadhead it more often instead of waiting to do it all at once, I'm sure it would be continually blooming.
It's just now budded for it's 3rd blooming having been cut back and fertilized a couple of weeks ago.



clipped on: 04.04.2013 at 09:23 pm    last updated on: 04.04.2013 at 09:23 pm

climbing iceberg

posted by: wanda on 09.06.2005 at 11:31 pm in California Gardening Forum

This was my climbing iceberg rose back in May.

Image link: climbing iceberg (55 k)


clipped on: 04.04.2013 at 09:21 pm    last updated on: 04.04.2013 at 09:22 pm

RE: Alfalfa tea recipe (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: madcitymike on 02.17.2008 at 12:08 am in Roses Forum

You'll find 12 cups of alfalfa pellets to be just about right for 32 gallons of water. They really swell when wet. I usually add a cup of epsom salts and a couple ounces of chelated iron as well. Any leftover solids can be spread on the garden or added to your compost pile.



clipped on: 03.15.2013 at 11:46 pm    last updated on: 03.15.2013 at 11:46 pm

RE: anyone use comfrey as a fertilizer? (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: moringaplace on 02.01.2013 at 09:50 pm in Florida Gardening Forum

Dear friends:We are specialist in Comfrey (and Moringa Oleifera too) and every Comfrey are invasive, everyone,in special here in Florida.
The comfrey tea is amazing and very easy to make.In a 5 gallon bucket put 18 to 20 leaves where this ones have between 12 inches(in large) and more and hold in the bottom with some weight (a rock) and fill the bucket with water,cover and let rest for about 4 to 5 weeks and after this period of time,for each gallon of comfrey tea,you must add 8 gallon of water and is ready for use around the plants or spry.NOTE:Remember the potatoes,sweet potatoes and the corn don`t like this tea and the same happen with the red ants and snails.


clipped on: 03.15.2013 at 11:26 pm    last updated on: 03.15.2013 at 11:27 pm

Clematis 'H.F. Young'

posted by: Towery on 02.22.2011 at 11:42 pm in Clematis Forum

Anyone tried Clematis 'H.F. Young' or similar as a rambling ground cover?


clipped on: 03.11.2013 at 10:41 am    last updated on: 03.11.2013 at 10:41 am

Magnolia x wieseneri

posted by: leslie6ri on 06.07.2011 at 02:06 pm in New England Gardening Forum

This is my beloved Magnolia x wieseneri that I searched for for years. It seems to be available in the U.S. now, but was only available in great Britain and Holland back then. (When I die, I hope to spend eternity in the Netherlands...) I so desperately wanted this small tree because I wanted to know what it smelled like. Some past garden writer mentioned what a wonderful scent it had, and I just had to know myself. --And now I do. If anyone out there remembers those Pepto-Bismol pink Canada mints that tasted like wintergreen (do they still make them?)... That's exactly what the M. x wieseneri flowers smell like to me.








clipped on: 03.08.2013 at 08:45 pm    last updated on: 03.08.2013 at 08:46 pm

Are there any camellias hardy in zone 5?

posted by: pegzhere on 06.22.2006 at 12:03 pm in Camellia Forum

New gardener here trying to find out what flowers will work for me here in Iowa in a somewhat shady with spots of sun garden. I thought Camellias were zone 6 and up but seems from some of the posts here there might be some I can use. TIA


clipped on: 03.07.2013 at 09:20 pm    last updated on: 03.07.2013 at 09:35 pm

RE: Planting z6 roses in 5b? (Follow-Up #20)

posted by: Nippstress on 04.23.2012 at 07:59 pm in Roses Forum

Hi JessicaBe

For what it's worth, I've grown some of the teas you list in a zone 6 pocket in my zone 5b garden for about 4-5 years. I'll post another thread sometime about these when they bloom, but my bottom line reaction is - it depends. Like Seil I enjoy zone pushing and don't spend a lot of money on my tea experiments (all from Chamblees, own root gallons). The results are decidedly "OK", but as expected none of them are as spectacular as they'd be in a warmer zone. Most of them have survived - so far the only ones that died were Safrano and Monsieur Tillier, though Duchesse de Brabant got planted later than I'd have liked last year and isn't doing so well yet.

The following tea roses have survived and bloom reasonably well for me: Mrs. B.R. Cant, Madame Antoine Mari, Maman Cochet, Mrs. Dudley Cross, and the best of the bunch has been Georgetown tea (thanks to Olga for the recommendation). Remember that I do winter protect everything in my yard, and the teas get protected first with a full-sized bag of leaves next to them rather than a chopped down third of the bag. I doubt they'd bloom much without protection even if they survived, since teas want to build up structure over the years from existing old wood.

So I agree with what has been suggested - feel free to try it but plan to winter protect them and don't expect the results you get in warmer climates.



clipped on: 03.06.2013 at 04:03 pm    last updated on: 03.06.2013 at 04:04 pm

Central Indiana Plant Swap 2010

posted by: katielovesdogs on 03.07.2010 at 07:28 pm in Get-Togethers Forum

Central Indiana Plant Swap 2010

PLEASE tell all your gardening friends, family, and colleagues! Were having the annual Central Indiana Plant Swap on May 16th.

Over the past few years, the numbers have started to grow. I got some terrific plants the last couple of years and got rid of a bunch of extras. I have a ton of stuff this year to share, and Im sure that many of you do, too. If you dont have many plants to share, come anyway. The people I have met at this event in the past have had very generous spirits. Most of us would be delighted to help out a new gardener with some of our extras.


Date: Sunday, May 16, 2010 

Time: 2:00 P.M. 

Location: Holliday Park, 6363 Spring Mill Road, Indianapolis, IN 46260 

Directions inside the park: Once you enter the park take an immediate left. Then pull into the first parking lot on the right. We will be under the giant sycamore tree. 
Bring yourself, plants & trades, family, friends, tables, chairs, beverages and snacks to share. Ill bring some lemonade and cookies. It would be nice, but not necessary, if others would brings some treats.

plants, well rooted cuttings potted up, bulbs, shrubs, happy seedlings, garden ornaments, extra gardening implements, gardening magazines, etc. 

PLEASE MARK ALL PLANT MATERIALS WITH THE PLANT NAME AND CARE REQUIRED!!! Also, mark any plants as invasive or poisonous, if known. I just go to an online nursery that sells the plants that Im giving away and cut and paste the care instructions into a document. I print out the directions and staple them to the plant, a piece of window blind, or container.
Since it worked fairly well last year, we're trying the Round Robin swap again: 
Round One - pick one plant 
Next Round - pick one plant 
Next Round - pick two plants 
Next Round - pick two plants 
Next Round - pick three plants 
Next Round - pick four plants 
And so on, and so on....
This way everyone gets a chance to get some of the plants they really have on eye on. This works well and other swaps have had great success with it in the past. Everyone should be able to take home as many plants as they bring. 
For folks who only bring a few plants, many of the folks who have LOTS of extra plants can usually be convinced to part with some of their extras AFTER the official Round Robin is finished.
Additionally, you can pre-arrange individual trades through other GardenWebber's trade lists. (PSSST! Everyone should update their trade lists!) These trades will happen before (or after) the big Round Robin trade.
Some tips for the day: 
Bring a box or container labeled with your name to put your new plants in after swapping. 
If you have room in the car...bring an extra table to arrange your plants on. 
Print out pictures of your plants in bloom, so folks will know what they look like in all their glory! 
If it looks like rain, bring those rain coats, umbrellas, etc. We plan to meet even if it rains.
**Post here if you are attending so that we can all see who is coming and can check trade lists. Or email me, so we can get an approximate head count for the swap. 
E-mail me if you wish to be put on the plant-swap e-mail list or if you have any questions. 
I can't wait to see you all there! Hopefully we will have a great crowd with all the new gardening friends you may bring along! 



clipped on: 04.26.2010 at 11:22 am    last updated on: 04.26.2010 at 11:23 am

RE: Overwintered Geraniums (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: goren on 03.03.2010 at 12:49 pm in Geranium Forum

Annie, they're spindly and less than ideal green color because they are not receiving adequate light.
Its at this time you remove them from the pots--with that old soil that is no good any more, at least, no good for growing young plants. Throw the old stuff into the compost or on your lawn and buy fresh potting soil.

Cut the geraniums back to about 4" < o >; remove all the old flowers, old leaves and cut back any damaged or weak stems. Look at the roots, see any damage, remove any that are also weak. Tweak them.
Do this with lots of newspaper under them to catch all that mess. Then into clean pots. I recommend clay that have been pre-soaked overnight so they don't steal the water you give the new starts.
Fresh potting soil and something in between it and the drainage holes. Make sure your potted plants drain well after each and every watering.
Take your plants to the best sunniest window --south, west or east will do nicely. Now water to drainage, and dump the excess that fills the saucer. Never leave water in the saucer below much past 5 minutes or so.
Now don't water again until new leaves form which will be in a week or so. Water then as the soil requires and always to drainage, dump the excess.
Turn the plant 1/4 turn every other day to ensure all parts of the plant receive the same amount of light.
In about 4 to 5 weeks the plant will have gotten a major amount of foliage. Keep giving it as much sunlight as the window will give; geraniums are full sun plants.
No need for artificial light; the days are getting longer every day; that's all they need.
Fertilize only when the plant shows adequate foliage that needs feeding and only at 1/2 rate until full measure of foliage shows up. That'd be into April/May.
AS the plant grows you can weather them by putting them outside during the warm part of the day and back indoors at night, giving them longer periods as the days go by.
Put them outside then when all danger of frost is past.

Soon, your geraniums will be as good as they were last summer. They will bloom when the light levels prod them to do so.


clipped on: 04.24.2010 at 12:16 am    last updated on: 04.24.2010 at 12:16 am

RE: Comfrey Question (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: habitat_gardener on 02.28.2007 at 10:39 pm in Soil Forum

I love growing comfrey! Mine doesn't spread because we don't have rain in the summer, and it wilts if left unwatered. I planted the first one under the hose bib to catch stray drops of water, and it's very happy. It gets 2.5 ft. high and 3 ft. wide in the summer, with many flowering stalks. When it starts encroaching on the path and getting in the way (it's at a community garden), I cut off the ratty leaves and whatever's in the paths to make comfrey tea for my plants, or to put directly in the compost bins.

To make comfrey tea for the garden, I fill a bucket with comfrey, cover it with water, and let it ferment for a few days. I think the key to controlling it is to use it. In northern Calif., at least, it can be cut back 3 or 4 times a year. I have been growing it for 2-3 years at the edges of my garden and last year I added 3 more plants next to the compost bins, and it has not spread, but I do cut it back often and use it either for garden tea or directly on the compost pile. It has been so well behaved that I'm always looking for more places to add it. Maybe under the raspberries? Maybe a whole row of it along the compost bins, instead of a few separate plants?

Comfrey mines the soil and brings up minerals, so it's not so effective in containers.
I did keep one plant alive in a container for a year or so, but it wilted sooner than any of the others and was not nearly as robust -- it hardly ever had enough (or big enough) leaves to harvest. I planted all of mine from small pieces of root -- a three-inch section is all you need. But if you want to dig it up, you will never get all the root pieces. I dug up one plant last year so I could send off some root pieces, and then I potted up the tiny rootlets that were left over. They all became plants! (And the original plant recovered quickly, too.) I've heard it can be eradicated by deep, persistent mulching in this climate.

In late fall or winter, the foliage dies back. A couple days ago I saw tiny green nubs coming up, which I will have to check on tomorrow morning because we are supposed to have another freeze tomorrow night.

An easier to manage compost crop is borage. It's a self-seeding annual with edible blue flowers and makes a wonderful border, though it does get mangy after a while. Even in my mulched garden, I get borage seedlings, and if I want more I can always find some growing as "weeds" in other parts of the garden. It gets up to 3 feet high. The bees love it -- it's a great plant to draw pollinators to the garden. I love eating the flowers (check for ants first, they also like the drop of sweet liquid inside the flower).

Finally, I have a big cardoon growing as a compost crop. I'm not sure I like it, mostly because it gets farmed by ants and it's quite vigorous, almost weedy. I let the foliage die off in the fall, and now it's already 3-4 ft. high and wide! Certainly it's a pest in the wild lands, where it thrives and spreads with no irrigation. In my garden, it's useful mainly because it thrives on neglect and produces greens for the bin when most other plants are dormant. Also, it's a big green presence, and I like the flowers (purple thistles).

I also use yarrows to encourage pollinators and beneficial insects. The yellow yarrow (Moonlight) spreads even with little water, but it is easy to dig up. I divided one clump into 24 plants a year or so ago, then I gave away a bunch of those after they had grown big, and I still have a wealth of yarrow. This year I'm removing some of the Moonlight and adding more of the species (Achillea millefolium), which is supposed to be more invasive but less drought tolerant, so I will see how it does.


clipped on: 08.23.2007 at 12:33 am    last updated on: 08.23.2007 at 12:37 am