Vermicompost Experiments-07-14-11

I was planning to throw in the towel with my radish growth experiment today – as someone aptly pointed out in a comment on a previous post, hot summer weather isn’t exactly the ideal time for these seedlings – but then I noticed something really interesting with my neglected plants. The Pro-Mix only treatment (far left in picture above) looked a lot worse than the two vermicompost treatments! To me, this seems to clearly indicate improved drought resistance (when vermicompost is added to mix) – just not sure if it’s due to improved water-holding capacity or more robust root structure (both?).

This is actually not the first time I’ve seen this in one of my experiments. Some of you LONG-TIME RWC readers may recall when I received some complimentary “Worm Power” worm castings a few years back, and ended up trying out various little growth experiments. As is the case with these thirsty radish plants, it ended up being a case of my absent-minded neglect uncovering something interesting (see “Worm Castings and Drought Resistance“). Clearly, more evidence supporting the fact that my foibles should be a cause for celebration, not frustration!

Another interesting thing to note, is that the vermicompost with rock dust and grounds treatment seems to be quite the tasty treat for critters. The seedlings in this treatment have a lot more holes in the leaves than either of the other two. Could this suggest that rock dust might improve the flavor of leafy greens? I dunno – but that’s kinda cool if you ask me!

All in all, the 33% normal vermicompost mix looks the best – with bigger, healthy looking seedlings, in spite of the fact that I just haven’t been keeping up with my watering schedule! Speaking of which, and just in case you are wondering, I did indeed give these poor plants a nice drink of wah wah after taking the picture!

Moving on to the Crookneck Squash experiment…

This one yielded some interesting results early on, but things have started to level out a bit. It took a little while for any of the plants to germinate initially, but it was the two 33% vermicompost treatments (one with the rock dust etc, the other without) where the plants emerged first – the other treatments (Pro-Mix only, and pure vermicompost) were multiple days behind.

Since then the slower treatments have been playing catch-up, but I still think the two 33% vermicompost treatment plants look healthier. Just so you know, in the image below (which unfortunately isn’t the greatest), top-left is Pro-Mix-only; top-right is 33% vermicompost in Pro-Mix; bottom-left is 33% amended vermicompost in Pro-Mix; bottom-right is 100% vermicompost.

Next, I will likely remove the smaller of the two plants in each pot so as to provide the plants with a bit more room to grow. I will then likely move them to larger pots at some point.

Moving on to the marigold experiment…

While I am not really taking this one too seriously (especially given the fact that I didn’t use the same type of marigold in all the treatments! lol), it’s still fun to see how it’s coming along. Still basically looks the same as last time, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the rock dust and coffee grounds vermicompost treatment is on the comeback trail – and who knows, perhaps it will even beat out the other two eventually!

Anyway – that’s all for this update! Certainly more vermicompost growth updates (and new experiments?) on the way.

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    • John Duffy
    • July 15, 2011

    I thought you only had vermi-foibles?
    If holes in radish leaves are an indication of flavor, my daughter’s radishes are gonna be very tasty…maybe it’s the VC ole dad added;)

    • Laura
    • July 15, 2011

    Your experiments are certainly interesting. Did you neglect those radishes equally? 🙂 I didn’t notice those bug holes in the radishes until you mentioned them. Due to an unfortunate bug called Japanese Beetles (which eats pretty much any garden plant) my garden doesn’t look the nicest right now. It’s still productive though, so I can’t complain. Lots of zucchinis, cucumbers, tromboncini and patty pan squash, etc

    *Pennsylvania Dutch word for Wonderful

  1. LoL
    Yeah, unfortunately that’s not the greatest photo – the glare was terrible. Once the Pro-Mix plants perked up again (after watering), I noticed that they had quite a few holes as well.
    The critter nibbling results are FAR from conclusive – just something I noticed.
    As for neglect – while this wasn’t conducted under rigorous scientific lab conditions, I’ve certainly been watering them all at the same time and keeping them in the same location etc – so no, I haven’t been neglecting the Pro-Mix ones more than the others!

  2. LOL! My watering schedule relies on when you water! Guess i should check in more! My experiments sometimes get a back seat to other stuff.But i think my patch of lawn is still benefiting from last year.One thing i noticed that may be coincidental is that some type caterpillar seems to prefer a patch of sod in the vermicompost testing area.Dunno?Juicier,thicker,less heat from the sun? I know the roots are deeper for sure.But one day i need to do a potted sod experiment to look at the roots.Maybe i should taste it too? LOL!

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