Damon’s Vermi-Vetch Garden

My latest “Worm Brief” (at time of writing) was inspired by this video that RWC worm-friend, Damon, recently shared with me.

I myself have toyed with the idea of growing vetch as an N-rich material for my worm beds (and composting systems in general), but have always worried about it getting out of control. I think Damon’s approach is a great way to keep the vetch in check, while also providing the worms with a good habitat.

I’m definitely going to be trying something similar this year – perhaps with some sort of “worm tower” placed in the middle of the bed so I can easily add waste materials as well.

Thanks again to Damon for sharing! Please give him a “Thumbs Up” if you are a YouTube user, and be sure to check out his cool site, Greenhorn Gardening!

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  1. I couldn’t tell from the video: were the worms a happy biproduct or did he intentionally place them in the bed?

    • Bentley
    • February 16, 2012

    Pretty sure they are Red Worms that Damon added at some point. I will get in touch with him to find out!

    • Damon
    • February 17, 2012

    Yes, I placed them there. 5 lbs of red wigglers. It was just a new raised bed that I grew tomatoes and peppers in, but I shut it down early last season. Since it was new I’m always wanting to plant things that give more to the soil that it takes, so planted a stand of hairy vetch with a little rye last August. I worried that the worms would leave because I wasn’t adding any food for them, yet the old compost in the bed kept them around and once the vetch established and the lower leaves began to fall, the worms started processing those leaves.

    So it wasn’t a composting bed per se. I don’t have a separate compost pile other than my leaf mold pile, nor do I ever have enough material to feed that many worms, yet they are thriving. I try to compost in my bed. I rarely pull anything out of my garden, choosing instead to turn under, throw another layer of leaves on top for a mulch, and letting the worms and microbes process it. I also grow some kind of green manure/cover crop most every year.

    I may set up a small euro bin, just for fishing bait, other than that and the leave mold pile, all composting happens in each bed.

  2. Very interesting. I bought some hairy vetch seed during my prior marriage but didn’t seed/plant much. I have started throwing it around the bottom of the gutter system along with white clover and it does okay. I’m going to throw some more out there this spring. I did discover vetch growing wild when my oldest daughter did her senior picture in the forest around Flagstaff.
    Thanks for popping back in with that info.

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