This summer has been brutally hot and dry (by Southern Ontario standards). As a result it’s been very challenging to keep my outdoor worm beds in decent shape, especially with my crop plants removing even more moisture for their own needs.
One of the things I like to do to help compensate for this moisture (and nutrient) loss is to recycle a lot of that plant matter back into the beds. A prime example of this is the use of over-sized summer squash to feed my worms.
I’m always amazed by the ability of these zucchini (and similar) plants to continue squeezing out these giant water-rich fruit (vegetables?? I dunno! lol) even when conditions are pretty dry. While we certainly try to pick and cook (on the BBQ, in stir fry etc) a fair number of these while they’re small, even in a good (eating) year we’re always left with lots that get “too big” for our tastes.
I’m a “Worm Head“, so naturally I have no qualms about feeding “perfectly good food” to my herd!
This year, the combination of eating fewer squash and ending up with more “volunteer” plants popping in my beds has resulted in a bumper crop of nice worm-food-sized specimens!
How the squash should be “prepared” (lol) prior to adding them to your beds/bins depends on how they are being used. If you are mainly looking for a slow-release moisture benefit, you can simply cut them up into big chunks and bury them in your beds right away. Freezing the chunks first not only provides you with a means of cooling down your beds – but you’ll also get more water released right away (once thawed). They will likely offer more initial food value for the worms as well.
More of an “optimized” approach – as written in my most recent “Plastic Worm Bin Follow-Along” post – might involve freezing/thawing, chopping up and (ideally) mixing with some sort of “living material”. This is a great way to render the squash “worm-ready” very quickly, thereby helping to ensure that the material also gets processed quickly.
I’m happy to report that some “real” rainfall has finally arrived in my neck of the woods this week. The grass is green again (not that I care about that – LOL), my beds are well soaked, and if plants could sing…well, you get the picture.
I have a sneaking suspicion these conditions won’t last, though – so I’ll likely be hanging on to my squash collection for some of those non-rainy days ahead!