Monday, July 13, 2009

Free Vermicomposting Demonstration July 16

Join me this Thursday 6:30 p.m. at the Whole Foods in Town and Country (Woods Mill and Clayton, same shopping center as Target) for a free vermicomposting demonstration.

Vermicomposting, or composting with worms, is a convenient way to get wonderful compost for your garden even if you don't have a lot of space. When done right, there is no smell and no mess, so you can even keep a worm bin in your kitchen without anyone knowing (my own mother didn't know I had one until my brother ratted me out!).

I'll be there with a couple of my worm bins, and will show you how to start your own bin, how to maintain it, and how to harvest the castings when they're ready.

The St. Louis Organic Garden Club is a consumer/gardener-oriented offshoot of the Missouri Organic Association. Find our "St. Louis Organic Garden Club" page on Facebook for more information.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Frog in swimming pool

One of my backyard visitors this year is what appears to be a juvenile bullfrog. I read that, although they live near ponds or other bodies of water, they can hop as much as six miles in a week when they travel from pond to pond. They go on the move during warm, rainy weather (like we had just before the frog showed up in my pool), and they look for smaller bodies of water during their travels.

As I mentioned, the frog showed up in my pool, and that can be problematic. I've read about a lot of people who have had to fish dead frogs out of the pool or skimmer, not because the chlorinated water is bad for them, but because they couldn't get out and they drowned. There are even special floats that can be purchased just to be used as "frog stairs" out of the pool.

We have several Solar Sun Rings in our pool, which the frog treats like giant lily pads. When I first found him, I kept fishing him out, but it appears he's in no danger of being trapped since he can easily move on and off the rings, which can float near enough to the edge for him to jump out.

Frogs are carnivorous, and as such, are a good addition to an organic garden since they eat insects. According to Wikipedia, bull frogs will eat just about anything else they can fit down their throat, including rodents and other frogs, so if you deliberately build a pond and stock it with tadpoles, don't mix bullfrogs with other frogs or you'll just end up with a bunch of really fat bullfrogs.

I don't have a pond in my yard, so I filled a couple of shallow, black plastic tub with rain water and set them in a shady part of my yard, where plenty of ground cover will hide Jeremiah from the occasional hawk and/or other creature that might find him tasty. When we want to swim or clean the pool, we fish him out and plop him in the tubs, and occasionally I find him hiding in one of his own accord.

I figure he won't stick around long, since I don't really have a permanent water fixture (other than a pool) for him to stay in, and we don't have a ready supply of lady frogs for him to chill with. But I've been enjoying his visit!