Logan Therrion

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since Apr 07, 2015
Jacksonville Beach, FL Zone 8b/9a
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Recent posts by Logan Therrion

Yea, I agree that they do a garden a lot of good.  I certainly don't want to terminate the critter.  I'm just trying to figure out how not to get it to rough up my beds.

Here's the interesting thing about this though.  The critter (anyone got a good name for it?) doesn't seem to tear up the beds that are populated with bell peppers, flowers, onions, and various other plants.  It seems to like the paths, and the beds that have very little planted in it (so far).  I've read they like veggies but my bell pepper plants have many peppers, as well as the sweet / hot datil pepper plants.  There's bush / pole beans it hasn't touched - and hopefully won't.  So I'm hoping it's getting it's fill from all the other things to eat around here.  Note that I am about 5 blocks from the beach, so all the lots are developed.  There's not a lot of wild around here.  It's houses, sand, fences, roads, and drunk / loud college kids.  

I'm continuing to put coffee grounds in the beds it's tearing up, hoping it won't move to a heavily populated bed.

I'm going to put small fencing around mt porch as there is space beneath it for the possum to make a home.  I'm going to seal all but one area today and tonight well after dark, seal the last portion of it.  I don't want to trap it under my porch.  I've read they are transient so I'm hoping that after the mulberry trees have stopped producing (soon now) it'll go find somewhere else to hang out.

I'll keep y'all posted as to whether it continues to be a problem and what else it gets into, if anything.

Thanks everyone!!
3 years ago
I finally found out what it is.  It's a possum.  We saw it last night.  Ugh.  That means a fence won't work.  

I have read that possums are not all that bad in that as a critter, they do a lot of good.  Except of course when they go through my beds and tear up seedlings and plants.  Any thoughts as to how I can get the little guy to not tear up the beds?  He seems to like the paths more than the beds, thankfully.

Is an electric fence my only option?

Thanks all for your feedback and information.
:)
LT
3 years ago
Please help!

Something(s) is tearing up my garden beds.  It's getting bad and I have no idea what it is or how to stop it.  When I wake up in the morning and check my garden, I have been seeing this almost every single day.  This does not happen during the day, only in the evenings.  I see no droppings of any kind in my yard.  I know the neighbors have had racoon problems with their pool, and I know too that armadillos are seem lumbering around from time to time (who knew Jacksonville had armadillos?).  I suspect too there are other critters here as well.

Does anyone have any idea whatsoever about what is causing this?  I'm losing plants at a terrible rate.  :/

Thanks everyone.

3 years ago
Hi everyone!  Good day and happy spring.

I have two 275 gallon food grade totes to capture rain water in.  I cleaned them well when I got them, wrapped them in black plastic so no light can get through, and keep them in a shaded location.  I have a simple filtering system for the water going into the tanks that keep out the debris.

A few months ago, rain has filled the both tanks, but I haven't used the water at all since that time.  The water has been sitting in these tanks undisturbed (no outflow, no inflow, no treatment of any kind) and now that I need it, I want to use it.  However, I want to make sure the water is good before I use it only, I do not know how.  

I'm asking because I noticed some slimy stuff growing on the outside of the tank where I have a fitting that goes between the outflow of the tank and a spigot.  And too, because I never treated the water going into the tanks straight from the gutters.  so it's just rain water sitting in an IBC tote.  The slimy stuff is definitely on the outside of the tank.  The water looks find - it's not discolored or anything and it doesn't have a smell to it.  But I know too that you can't just look and know if it's ok.

How can I test the water to make sure that 1) I won't harm or kill my plants should it not be right for some reason, and 2) I won't make myself or anyone who eats the food from the garden sick, should something be living in the water that is harmful to humans.

I know I can go through the county's water testing program (I will do this), but my question is more related to, will it harm my plants or cause harm if my plants are ingested by a human?  I'm afraid the county testing program will only tell me if it's drinkable or not.  What I need to know is, can I safely use it to water my plants and then safely eat my plants.

Thanks everyone!
Happy growing.  :)
Thanks everyone!!  What [b]GREAT [/b]posts!  And very helpful too.  I'm still in the learning and very beginning phase so all of this info is gold.

I'd love to get the Vermiculture Technology book but...that's a steep price tag.  For now I'm just gonna keep it on my wish list.

I was unaware that the amendments I noted in my first post wouldn't help the worms any.  I knew that the amendments would help the soil but I wondered if it had any effect on the compost via some interaction with the little reds.  But apparently, they won't notice it but as a soil amendment, it's fine.  But likely not worth the expense.

For now I am going to a local juice bar every day and the guy there - AWESOME guy, is giving me all his pulp.  YAY.  For right now I'm putting most of it in my garden via a post hold digger, a small hole, the pulp, then with the dirt put back on top.  I know that in the wild, if you bury it they will come.  I figured this would be a fun thing to try in my soil building experiments.  I know that the reds and other critters can break down food pretty fast and I'm counting on this to help my garden.  I'm burying the pulp about every 10" in the ground until I run out of garden.  

I have no access to manure that I can trust.  Most people I know do not use antibiotics or hormones or anything like that, but it's the feed I worry about most.  I have no idea if what they're feeding their animals are GMO or not.  I have no room for rabbits or anything so manure is just not an option for me.

I have grown mushrooms indoors and currently grow them outdoors, and I know I have a lot of mycelium all over the place.  I lined all the beds of my garden with huge logs, and there's mushrooms all over the place.  I bury my mushroom stems in the worm bin too, thinking that since worms and mycelium are such good buddies, this could only help my worms.  I'm pretty sure that by doing this, mycelium is all throughout in my bin (hopefully).  Besides that, I purposefully have habitats all over the yard - mostly lining the fences, just for mushrooms and critters.  Mushrooms are the most amazing things on the planet...

When I am ready the guy who owns the juice bar said he'd be more than happy to separate out the citrus and things worms don't like.  So when my small worm bin starts getting more worms I'll be able to give them a variety of fresh pulp.  Right now it's just garden scraps.  I think I'm on the right track but you know, reading about this is all good and well.  Doing it and observing the inputs and outputs is another matter.

Mostly, I want good compost to go in my garden.  That's my main goal.  I hadn't though about selling any of the worms.  Really, I just can't imagine me having that many since I'm just now starting out.  In time I may consider that if the reds multiple as much as others have written about.  Secondly, I am always on the look out for a second source of income so if I enjoy this enough and I can get good enough at it, perhaps doing it as a side (small) business is not out of the question.  But before I even think about that I have to get good with a single bin first.

I have a 19 gallon rubber maid bin, drilled a bunch of holes all around - top/bottom, put a good layer of shredded newspaper on the bottom, some good soil on top, some grit, the reds, and I have been feeding them as needed.  I give them more food when the food I gave them last time is gone.  Here's what I've noticed so far.

1)  The paper in the bottom compacted a lot more than I thought it would.  Sometimes when I scrape around in the bin to bury food, the paper comes up in hunks that are not super hard packed, but more dense than I thought.  This isn't a problem, right?

2)  The bin seems to have good moisture content.  I'm getting almost no run off underneath it and it's moist but by no means damp.  I'm wondering if it's moist enough, actually.

3)  When I put the reds in their new home, I noticed they were checking out out the inside of their new bin quite a bit.  But they kept doing this for maybe 4 weeks after i put them in there.  I made sure they had food, nothing was stinking or smelly, and the moisture seemed ok.   But it seemed like there were a lot of worms trying to get out.  I still do not know why.  It's much less so now but it's 2 months later, give or take.

4)  Even when the temps dropped into the mid 40's, I opened the lid to check on the little dudes and I noticed a bit of condensation in the bin.  But the soil was moist - certainly not wet.  I wasn't expecting this.  I think I'll have to watch temperatures when it gets warmer.  Right now the bin is sitting on a wooden deck, covered from sun all day long, and protected from rain and wind.  

5)  I'm grinding up everything I fed them because I read they can digest stuff better if it's small.  I bought, "How to Start a Worm Bin" by Owen Henry (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/150894704X/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o09_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) and found this really helpful.

Now all I'm waiting for is for the reds to go forth and multiply.

Questions:

Should I mix up the dirt in the bin?  To give it oxygen and keep the bin from becoming anerobic?
Should I check the moisture level to make sure it's moist enough?  If so, how?  
I know it's winter right now and we've had some cool evenings here, but the worms are not multiplying as much as I think they should have.  Any ideas why?

Thanks everyone for your comments.  This has been remarkably helpful.  Thanks for sharing and for your generosity with your knowledge.

:)










4 years ago
Hi again fellow permies.

I've been wondering about composting in place with a worm tower.  I'm sure you've seen them, they're usually a 4" pvc tube (+/-) with holes drilled in them at various depths and diameters.  You bury one end a foot or two deep, place food scraps and a little dirt in it, then throw in a handful (or not) of worms, cover it and let the magic happen.  Well this sounds all good and well but I was wondering about a few things:

- Critters.  Which critters are likely to disturb this?  I hear moles can be a problem.  I've had only one in my garden and it was for a very short time a few years ago.  The thing just went away before causing any damage.  What do I need to look out for?  How do I (can I) critter proof this?  All the websites I have read just show you how to do it or set it up.  Not a single one talks about the potential nightmare scenarios that might occur.

- Creepies:  Am I gonna have a hard time with roaches or other things that I do not want in abundance in my yard?  I'll cover my food scraps well but something tells me this could be a problem in some way.  The neighbors have always had problems with racoons in their in ground pool.  And I've seen them around as well as armadillos.

- Water.  I added some good dirt go my garden so I have some soil depth and nice, lose, very well draining soil.  But here on the North Florida coast, when we get rain we can get up to 2" at a time!  Won't the worms that inhabit the tower drown?  Can they get to higher ground fast enough to not die off?

- Unknown adverse thingies:  Since I've never done this before I do not know what other things might happen that will be undesirable.  I just cannot foresee anything since I've never done it before.

- I'm concerned with burying anything that's not organic.  Using PVC in my garden (there's been no chemicals or any petroleum product in my garden since I bought my place in 2010) and I am hesitant to introduce that.  I do not have a source for clay pipes either.  I can't find a single supplier anywhere near here.  Is this anything to worry about?

I have crappy native soil (I'm 5 blocks from the ocean) and absolutely no connections for quality manure.  The reds are about my only option for compost.  But I want to go about this the right way.  And I would **LOVE** not not use any petroleum products in doing this.  An IN YOUR FACE to the very industry that's killing what I'm trying to rebuild.

Please feel free to offer up as much experience and advice as you wish.  I am - as always, most grateful.

Thanks!!

LT







4 years ago
Hi everyone!

I'm researching vermicomposting.  In most of my reading and video watching there's still something I'm not sure about - worm food.  I get the basic - what to feed and what not to feed worms.  That's ubiquitous with little variation.  But I'm interested in digging a bit deeper on this topic.

I know that the compost the reds turn out will only be as good as what I feed my reds.  And since soil is largely depleted, the water contaminated, the air polluted (et al), I'm wondering about amending the food scraps I am going to feed my worms.  Also, I live on the North Florida coast and everything is pretty much sand here and there's very little by way of balanced trace minerals in this soil.

I saw a video by a guy in Florida that fed his worms (in additional to food scraps).  I have not yet contacted him on this and what ratios he uses but I hope to soon:    
-- Purina worm chow
-- Very fine masa
-- Wheat flour
-- Azomite
-- Volcanic sand
-- Mineral blocks

The above was added for variety and to add additional trace minerals.  In theory, this makes a lot of sense - amending the food for the reds but in reality I don't know if it's worth it or not.  If the result is a far superior product then it may be worth looking into.  Most of this stuff is cheap and I'd use it as an amendment so it'll go a long way.  

On the other hand, I know absolutely nothing about what to feed the reds besides organic waste and what every website and book touts (organic waste).  I've seen little on amending worm food.

Does anyone have any experience or knowledge in this area?  I know I'll get goodness from just food scraps.  But it does seem logical to actually replenish some of what's been lost by the addition of the amendments.

I eagerly await your replies.  :)

Thanks fellow permies!
LT





4 years ago
I thought about using bamboo but I thought it'd rot fairly quickly.  I was hoping for a solution that would last at least a few years as this is a lot of work.
4 years ago
Thanks all.  Great posts!!

I live in North Florida about 5 blocks from the beach so freezing is seldom an issue though it has occurred.  I don't care if it's porous since that's the point anyhow.  I think the holes I drill in it will let water out fairly quickly anyhow and since the goal is to water the root only, no biggie.

I'm trying to avoid clay pots (olla) because they're probably more expensive than just the pipes.  I think.  I'm guessing.  I can't find clay pipes anywhere!  With the pipes I can put them in the ground vertically and save a bit of room for more plants.  Plus I like the idea of sinking these anywhere from 8" to 12" or more and taking up as little room as possible.

I've heard this works well but I cannot find clay pipes anywhere (here)! It's frustrating.  I'll do more looking for sure.

Thank you VERY much for your posts!  If anyone comes across a source for clay pipes, please post it here.  It'd be nice too if the source were somewhere near Jacksonville Beach, FL too.  :)
4 years ago
I'm considering adding a root watering system to water my 50x50 veggie/herb/flower garden.  I've seen root spikes or watering spikes (there are many names for them) where a pipe - usually PVC or some plastic pipe anywhere from 18" to 36" long and has many holes drilled in it vertically at even intervals.  Then you take this spike and place it in the ground and then fill the spike with water and the water will seep out of the holes and water the root system and soil.  It seems like a great way to not waste water.

I really like this idea and want to give it a try in my garden.

Only, I really do not want to put PVC or other plastic or petroleum (et al) things in my ground.  I'm totally organic and I want to keep it that way!  I could use glass containers (wine bottles) but those are harder to drill I think, though this seems like a great thing to use.  So I thought about maybe using clay piping.  Only I'm not sure where to get it and what the pros and cons of using this might be, never having worked with it before in this wa.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this idea?  Please, any and all comments, advice, experiences - you name it are welcome.  The last thing I want to do is waste time or money or energy.  I have little of all three!

Thanks in advance, happy permie peoples.

Logan



4 years ago