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small time, semi experienced gardener - chennai
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camaroon123
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June 18, 2011 - 7:27 pm

I am small time(lazy) gardener who looks to the internet for everything (being the so called IT professional) and has tremenderous interia to do anything other than browse and cribEmbarassed.

I have a small stip of land and some pots around the house in Chennai which I use for gardening. Have some experience and have great interest in gardening and vermicomposting .. The latter one being recent a failure. I will be happy to share my experiences and also learn from others. 

 

My current garden consists of Okra, bitter groud, snake groud, betel leaves, rose, aloe vera, spinach.

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jeev
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June 18, 2011 - 10:28 pm
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Post some pics of your garden camaroon123! So regards worms wont digging in a wet/marsh land - Pallikarnai give one the earthworms? My compost is not decomposing that quickly and its stinking badly ( I put some dry leaves/twigs/soil in today.) Worms are needed soon. Little Millipede (Mili) has lots of work to do and needs company. Did not see the small earthworm in my last churn. By the way dont the earthworm wriggle out of the bin - even if its closed it might have some gaps/holes here and there! How long does it take to turn into gold dust?

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camaroon123
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June 19, 2011 - 11:00 am

Sure will try to get some photos. They are not much by the way. They may good for displaying various plant pests though.

Glad to know you are into composting as well.. 

Following are my lessons learnt for composting..

1. They need to be properly areated (aerobic) to be smell free. 

2. There should be proper ratio of vegetables/fruits/greens(nitrogen) and carbon content(leaves, paper..etc) with the latter more in propotion.

3. Avoid milk, non-veg, carbohydrate rich items like rice, atleast initially. Dont start using compost bin as a full time replacement for garbage bin, right away. Gradually increase the quantity to maintain points 1 &2 above.

4. It should not be too moist

5. Vermicomposting is not as easy as it seems.

There is a site http://www.dailydump.org/compo.....ing which gives quite a few pointers of troubleshooting in composting without earthworms..

I bought a few pots yesterday hoping to replicate the dailydump approach. I will update of the progress.

 

Compost earthworms are different than normal earthworms. The normal ones burrow into the soil and take the organic matter with them thereby improving soil quality and areation. I have quite a few of them in my area, mostly transported from nursery soil. 

For compost worms, they are commonly a few imported species(red worms, nightcrawlers.etc) and one local one (Perionyx excavatus). They most live in the top soil and process the organic matter. They do not borrow deep. The local one is difficult to keep in a confined area. 

Normal earthworms will not survive confined composting. Compost earthworms will stay there as long as they have the right environnment. Once there is a variation in their environment, they will try to escape and most probably die trying to escape..

I managed to kill the compost worms (by not maintaining their environment) Cry and now finding it diffcult to source them again 

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jeev
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June 19, 2011 - 2:21 pm
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Excellent info, camaroon. Thanks. I did not know about special worms for composting. The environment they need might be a cool/dark place and enough to eat and dwell, a little moist. Spoilt folks looks like 🙂 We adapted Chennai in this most grueling hot weather and these folks cant. This weekend was pathetic. I am having a severe headache with yesterday outdoors from 10:30 to 4 pm and today 9 am to noon.  Feel like spending a week across the border to feel the unabating monsoon.

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camaroon123
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June 20, 2011 - 7:55 pm

The worms survived for about 3 months in peak summer and seemed to be comfortably set in their environment..until one day the drain hole got clogged and some water got stagnated. They drowned..Cry I thought they will swim and easily come to higher ground, but they didn't.

 

Anyway's here are some photos of my current garden,

 

Summer here is horrible, hope will get better in July..  One of the reasons I fear getting out of my house (the other being traffic).

Please share details about your garden..  

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camaroon123
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June 25, 2011 - 8:13 pm

While travelling down ECR got some wide clay pots. Also went to a biotech company in Porur and got 50ks of vermicompost, 1L Panchagakvya, one neem based pesticide and some earthworms. Cant wait to try all of these.. 

 

Finally I get to restart my vermicomposting.

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jeev
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June 25, 2011 - 10:17 pm
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Wow! Lots of materials at hand. 50 ks = 50 kilos? Lots of vermicompost! Earthworms? Red? Did you get all of these at the Porur company? Can I get the address? My compost - I dunno if its getting composting well. Maybe we should go and get the worms as well.

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camaroon123
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June 26, 2011 - 10:12 am

Jeev, I am PM'ing you the details as posting commercial information might be against forum rules. if you put a little bit of vermicompost in your compst bin, it will help the process. Not sure where you are located, but I would be happy to share a few kg's if it makes economical sense.

Yes 50ks in a huge sac. Greenland quoted Rs10 per kg for 10ks's and these guys Rs250 for 50 kg sac. Since I am spending fuel to go to the place, thought I would get that in one go. Compost looks like good quality.

I was not entirely happy with the quantity of worms. The person indicated they were a mix of diffferent variety of compost worms. One coming home found only a few worms. But I think is all is required to jumpstart the process. I had started from the same point a few months ago and ended up with quite a lot of worms. The person was not very enthusthiastic about providing the worms, which makes logical sense considering his business.

Regarding Panchagalvya and organic pesticide, i will update once I tried it. Will try the neem pesticide only if Panchagalvya is not effective. Trying to do things as organic as possible.

I also noticed that neem leaves in bin turned it into beautiful compost. I will post the pictures later. 

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jeev
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June 26, 2011 - 11:52 pm
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Wow! Thanks for the details again. I did get your PM. Thanks. I live at Velachery.

I can pick up 5 kilos and for 50 Rupees 🙂 I will come for the worms when you have enough of them and they have multiplied. Liked a couple of your statements.

 

"The person was not very enthusthiastic about providing the worms, which makes logical sense considering his business."

"Trying to do things as organic as possible"

 

The exhibition at the trade centre had a group with fertilizers, pesticides, pots, seeds. They are at Adyar as well so postponed my visit for manures for an other time. I still am not clear how to identify if the fertilizer is clean/organic one. N, P, K are chemicals. But we can get these in natural products and thats what was probably listed at the back of one of the fertilizer bags.

 

All the best. Btw did you plant those coriander seeds? 

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camaroon123
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July 2, 2011 - 8:26 pm

I also live in Velachery. Quite possible we might be neighbours Laugh

I have used nearly all the vermicompost and I think only about 5kg is remaining. The response of plants to vermicompost and Panchagalvya have been quite good. Issues due to micronutrient deficiency have reduced to a large extent. The plants overall look healthier. 

I am considering getting some more vermicompost. Jeev, let me know if you are interested in sharing. 

The Earthworms seem to be doing good. There are about 10-15 red worms of two different species. I guess it might take a few months before they grow in real numbers. 

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vijiputhucode
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July 3, 2011 - 12:56 pm
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hi

can u pl give me the porur address of that vermicompost seller.....i live in ambattur.. thank u in advance

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camaroon123
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July 3, 2011 - 8:34 pm

Hi vijiputhucode, PM'd the details. There is another biotech company in Maduravoil which might be closer to you. I dont have any experience dealing with them.

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jeev
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July 4, 2011 - 9:12 am
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Myself and camaroon's stuck here looks like. Viji - you should do the same. And we shall have a good Chennai presence here and build on it, share and grow. Thanks to GG and this forum - an Indian environment forum where we can get very close to home data. Please post on what you are growing and write about its progress. 

 

Hey Camaroon, You used up 45kgs of compost? Wow! That brings forth the question of if soil is needed, what ratio of compost and soil is needed, what is the extent to which compost can be added to the soil? Did you get more vermicompost? I am game for the compost. Let me know. I can carry some to my hometown as well to give to Dad. Atleast I dont have to search there for compost. Btw waiting for your worms to grow/multiply so that I can get some 🙂

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camaroon123
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July 4, 2011 - 7:53 pm

 I used about 2 handfulls on all the pots, a few handfulls for 2 lemon half trees, 2 curry leaf trees, my bitter groud plant. I also filled all my unused pots(mixed with mud) and planed a few things in them. At the end more than 45ks gone. I actually have a small stip of land ( 1 foot wide) around my house which does not have good quality soil. Vermicompost improves the quality of the soil and so I have been a little genereous. I also noticed a papaya plant which is growing. 

As per my research on the net, the best result is achielved when the potting soil consists of 20% vermicompost. Anything more does not help.

Eventhough I am doing all this, to be frank I have not had much success. The pests for the plants have been doing incredible damage. My intention not to use harsh pesticides is being severly tested. I have tried following the policy of live and let live, but the pests dont co-operate. I have been through everthing a typical farmer would go through and I fully sympathize with them. I do this more as a hobby, but they do this for livelyhood. 

Jeev, I am thinking of getting another sac of compost, but for best results it needs to be used quickly and must be kept moist. So unless it can be used, I dont think I will getting them soon.

I will start a post on vermicompost bin with pictures. Hope people will be able to handle the pictures of worms.

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jeev
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July 5, 2011 - 9:38 am
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Great Camaroon! Quite some interesting things happening in your garden. Keep it up and post the progress, atleast weekly once. It makes nice reading. Encouraging, Inspiring! Papaya, Lemon, Curry leafs, Bitter gourd, Betel leaves, etc !! Fantastic. When I read the 1 ft wide strip around the house, I am reminded of my native home. There too its similar. 

I have not reached that stage of pests etc. I will have to face it as well. Do we have organic pesticides? Or home solutions to drive these away? Did you contact Agri universities - TNAU or any other state? Just check the websites and ask for an opinion. I am sure they would help you out. 

On second thoughts: I have quite some containers and could use quite some. Sri could join as well. What do you say Sri? Unless Sri has a huge land area for cultivation and requires lots of compost. 

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camaroon123
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July 9, 2011 - 1:09 pm

I got another 50 kgs of vermi-compost. Jeev, I am PM'ing you my contact details. If you need compost you can pick it up this weekend(or the next...)

Just let me know how much you need so that I can retain it. If you can bring some red keerai seeds that would be great.

 

Once the rainy season has started, plants are much better. Spinach vine is growing good. I got a new (Colocaesia Yam) - seppang kelangu plant. Snake groud plant is doing great. 

Some bitter groud is on the way, plant is doing great. Probaby the first time getting a non-leaf vegetable from my garden.

 

The entire set of okra plants(about 20 plants) were decimated by mealy bugs. Caterpillars have decimated my lemon tree. Leaf miners are destroying my only two tomato plants. 

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jeev
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July 15, 2011 - 9:16 am
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Camaroon,
Long time no see! Please check this forum and continue writing, pics, progress. Others will lose interest if people drop off. Come on!
I plan to transplant a few here and there tonight (the best time for transplants!) and am seeing if I could get some vermicompost from you. Is it ok if I drop by for 15 min at your place say at 7:00 pm or so tonight? Its been quite some time since I worked in the garden except for religiously watering the plants. If you can give me a couple of worms it will help my bin as well. Thanks. I will bring a couple of tomato plants as well along with the other seeds, please accomodate them. 
 
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jeev
Chennai
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July 16, 2011 - 11:14 pm
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It was great meeting up Camaroon and his wife at their home this morning. Lot of educational stuff (leaf-miners/mealy-bugs/compost-bins - Camaroon's forte) from knowledgeable Camaroon as well, as we went around his yard. Most importantly the compost (gold-dust) / seeds / sapling we shared/exchanged. Thanks Camaroon for everything and hosting us this morning. Thanks to GG for the forum setup and we could find Camaroon so close to our home - hardly a km away. I used up maybe 25% of the gold-dust on all the plants before lunch.

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camaroon123
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July 17, 2011 - 10:25 pm

Thanks for coming in Jeev and providing the tomato saplings and seeds. Out of tomato saplings one of them did not surive transplant. I think the others might. I have sowed a few radish seeds and bean seeds. Will see how they come up. 

 

I am starting a new thread on my compost bin.

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camaroon123
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July 28, 2011 - 10:10 pm

Felt really bad to show my yard to Jeev having maintaned it such a bad state.

Did some work  and built some structure for malabar spinach using jute threads for it to climb on. They are growing very good.

Harvested my first bitter groud. Picked it up just before it was ripe. Bitter groud fry tasted very good. My snake groud plants have started full bloom. I could see a few baby snake grouds forming. Cannot wait to see them grow Laugh.

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