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Some more random questions...

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Some more random questions...

Post  middlemamma on 5/11/2010, 2:20 pm

I have been reading all over the forum and have several questions. I didn't know if I should break them all up into several posts or just barrage you in one post!

Here we go!

Read the worm tube post...awesome idea. I had no idea worms wouldn't EAT my plants....I assumed (although I know better) that the reason people had the worm Hilton was to collect the castings from the worms without having to risk having them in your garden! Shows how new I am at this...

I had considered the worm Hilton idea on another post but my OCD will not allow worms in my house for the winter.. so, LOL that’s a no go. But this tube idea I can totally do! Smile So here is the question....where the heck do you buy "garden" worms?? I LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of them helping my HOUSE plants....Lavender Debs? I just add a worm and then sprinkle come cornmeal? That’s it?

Bees, Butterflies and Hummingbirds?
So I have been reading here about how some people attract butterflies to their garden....once again I thought this would harm my garden...a little confused because I thought caterpillars ate the stuff I am trying to grow for me to eat...is it an either or...either a vegetable garden OR a butterfly garden? If I wanted to attract all three...Bees, Butterflies and hummingbirds is that going to work, or are these little flying friends enemies to one another?

I really wish I understood the concept of the Bee box Norm talked about on another post better...Norm, if you are around could you expound on that a little? (I asked you some questions on Bees Part 2 Thread Smile)

Any tips on attracting hummingbirds? Is it flowers that bring them or only the red bottle of red sugar water?

Thanks for any and all ideas....I appreciate all who post and help out this newbie. Smile


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Re: Some more random questions...

Post  nancy on 5/11/2010, 2:35 pm

Hi middlemamma! Monarch caterpillars will only eat milkweeds. I have specifically planted 6 different kinds of milkweed just for them. The butterflies drink nectar out of other plants like dahlias, zinnia, and cosmos. I can't really speak for other types of caterpillars. I think swallowtails need fennel, dill, or carrots. Bees are beneficial for pollinating plants. They are responsible for 1 out of every 3 bites of food we take. They do not harm your plants - in fact many of our garden vegetables depend on them to pollinate - including tomatoes and zucchini. Most will only sting as a last resort. I talk to mine and thank them for their help. I probably talk to the caterpillars and bees more than I do my plants! And I have 2 hummingbrid feeders because I don't think my flowers are to their liking. I dissolve 1 part sugar to 5 parts water and change it weekly as it gets stinky. Someone else will have to help with the worms. I have no experience with them.

Best wishes!


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Re: Some more random questions...

Post  junequilt on 5/11/2010, 3:31 pm

Middlemama, I've raised worms for 18 years, so let's see if I can help you a bit. First of all, the type of worm you want is the redworm or red wiggler. Its natural environment is a manure pile that has heated up and cooled down, but the redworm will eat anything that has grown and will rot, thus its ability to consume our fruit and vegetable waste. Most of us keep redworms in bins of some sort because it simplifies feeding and harvesting their used bedding, but once they've been introduced to the environment we also find them in our compost piles and out in the garden. They never harm anything, rather are quite beneficial, as are all earthworms.

Redworms will also sometimes hang around the roots of growing plants, not eating or tapping nutrition from them, but grooving on some of the enzymes and other good stuff associated with roots. In return, redworms make deposits (euphemistically known as "castings") that are wonderfully nutritious for the plant.

I don't think I've ever found any redworms in a small planter, but then again, I've never asked them to live in one. They do show up sometimes in large outdoor planters, especially those having direct contact to the ground -- although ground contact is not a requirement for redworm survival.

If you live in an area where freshwater fishing is popular, you should be able to buy red wigglers in small quantities as fishing worms. Sometimes they're available on eBay. I bought my original pound from someone in Georgia who advertised in Organic Gardening magazine.

Does that help?

Btw, I grow Florence fennel specifically to attract butterfly larva. The same larva will also eat the heck out of parsley, so if I find a green-and-yellow caterpillar muching on my parsley, I just cut off the stem it's feeding on and relocate the critter to the fennel.

Hummingbirds are primarily attracted to the color red, but they also enjoy my midnight blue salvia.

Probably more than you wanted to know!


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Re: Some more random questions...

Post  middlemamma on 5/11/2010, 4:08 pm

"Probably more than you wanted to know!"

NOT AT ALL....GREAT INFO. Keep it coming folks I love this. Smile

Thanks to all who have posted and will post.



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Post  Chopper on 5/11/2010, 7:19 pm

I have a butterfly bush (beddelia, I believe), roses, sage, lavendar, kangaroo's paw, creeping thyme (bees LOVE this) and cape honeysuckle in my little ornamental garden. I don't know what it is, but I have 2 regular hummingbird visitors.

The other day I turned on the automatic sprinkler to check out a possible problem. Right as I did, a hummingbird flew over the fence, seemed to take a shower/dance in the water spray and then perched on my tomato cares and lapped up the water droplets as they formed on them. I sat and watched it for about 5 minutes and finally tuned the water off. So it is possible that a water source is important!


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Post  nursekat424 on 5/11/2010, 10:19 pm

"Any tips on attracting hummingbirds? Is it flowers that bring them or only the red bottle of red sugar water?"

I love hummingbirds, we had 3 feeders in different places around our yard last year, i sat and watched them for hrs.
but any how....i read somewhere last year (sorry cant remember where exactly, thinking it was a birds and bloom mag) we should never use red food coloring or the red colored hummingbird nectar mix as they think ( maybe know for sure?) it causes tumors on them and a web site i found says its bad for their kidneys. here are a cpl websites i found that have excellent info for both feeders and gardens. the last link shows a few different types of really nice feeders. hope this helps. and sorry it was so long.




talking about hummingbirds got me thinking about getting my feeders out and i started browsing the net and found this..... its amazing


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Re: Some more random questions...

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