Mark’s Winter Cocoon Experiment

Hi everyone,
This summer I tried to copy Bentley’s trench garden only in a bucket. This is a watermelon plant I bought for $2.00. When I got it, the season was late for watermelon (which is why it was on sale). The plant only had two or three leaves on it and I did not expect much. I planted it in a five gallon bucket with ½ dirt and ½ manure.
I put ¼ of a pound of worms in the bucket so the worms would deploy the VC for me like the trench does.

As you can see, the plant flourished some but, late in the season and the extreme heat took its toll. I was going to dump all the contents in the compost bed when I discovered
cocoons in the soil. I then decided to add another ½ pound of worms to the bucket in the hopes of more cocoons being deployed. I intend to leave it out all winter to try the frozen cocoons test and the species survival test (the one about the worms laying many cocoons when their habitat is declining)

This photo shows the bucket up on boards to permit air to the holes I drilled in the bottom.

‘Mark from Kansas’ is an avid vermicomposter from…well…Kansas, and contributing author here at Red Worm Composting. When he is not tending to his OSCR worm bin, Mark also enjoys spending time with his wife Letty (who also doubles as his trusty vermicomposting assistant) and picking petunias (ok, Bentley just made that last bit up).

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    • Bentley
    • September 14, 2010

    Hi Mark,
    Sounds cool!
    Do you have some baseline cocoon counts that you can compare to samples taken once things get a bit colder?
    If not, perhaps you could use something like a small piece of PVC piping to take a bunch of “core samples” – count how many cocoons are in each core then come up with an average # per unit volume (don’t know the formula for calculating the volume of a cylinder off hand (Pi*r2*height?) but I’m sure it would be easy to track down online (assuming one of our braniac RWC contributors doesn’t know! lol).
    Hmmmm…I guess you would need a similar bucket inside for the winter as well if you were wanting to make any sort of comparison. OK, maybe instead of telling you how to run your experiment, I should just set something up!
    Thanks for the inspiration

  1. I was going to let nature take it’s course after I pull the plant and examine the root zone.

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