... I always experience and expect the diminished physical strength and endurance coming out of the winter into spring — and Not being able to accomplish as much each day as I remember being able to back in the fall, after a full season of conditioning in the garden. Usually though, there has been a slow rebuilding of strength and muscle tone as the weather warms up in late winter and early spring.
This year, I came out of winter with two injuries in critical areas — my old shoulder/rotator cuff injury on my dominant side that had begun to act up making it impossible to lift even the lightest object let alone carry them, and bursitis/sciatica causing excruciating pain in my right hip and down the leg. Both of these joints somehow ending up with pinched nerve on occasion to make it even worse. That plus the cold and frost that dragged on and taking care of my aging parents that is adding to my time/energy consumption, resulting in delays in spring gardening, and I’m finding myself planning the day’s garden activities that are beyond my ability to accomplish — especially when I throw in additional tasks that are time consuming and energy depleting, but needed to be done ...usually having to do with cleanup that should have been taken care of a month ago....
Yesterday, I ended up re-piling my plastic compost bin. It has a nice design — remove lid, slide off Four plastic stays, and remove the front and back halves of the wall, start the new pile next to the old with materials from the top, re-assemble the bin around it and finish building the pile, layering in fresh materials to balance the mixture until the old pile is down to semi-finished compost. Winter pile is hardly consumed, so only maybe 1/5 of the pile was semi-finished, but that approximately 8 inch high bottom section was literally ROILING with red wigglers.
I emptied out the finished compost in one of my compost tumblers into one of the Veg Garden beds, and put most of the chunky but fully decomposed unfinished compost in it. The tumbler allows me to quickly mature the compost.
Then I cleaned out the Can-o-Worms which I had left outside covered with heavy garden fleece — hardly Enough for this winter’s severe, negative single digit temperatures — by putting the little bit of good looking vermicast in one tray in the tumbler and emptying the undigested moldy looking scraps and bedding in the newly re-piled compost bin. Gave the trays a quick wash and filled one of the trays with the unfinished compost full — and I mean FULL — of red wigglers. THERE! Can-o-Worms has been repopulated! (I still have to bring out the 2 gallon stacked vermicomposter of worms — they can have another tray to themselves). I then set up the Can-o-Worms in the shaded area next to the blueberry bed (Yeah that’s another project that needs doing — I WAS going to dig up and move the blueberry bushes that had become MOST shaded by the neightbor’s fence border-planted pine trees and re-configure the blueberry bed early this spring.... )
That still left me with about 4 inches of nearly finished compost that were still full of worms — I needed to do something with it all, but really didn’t have the time. So I ended up half filling the Rubbermaid SIP I emptied to re-fill (the old SIP potting mix went in the VG.PSRB and VGA the other day). To keep out the robins and other raiders, I “covered” the compost with the sub-irrigation platform. Hopefully that is enough. With any luck, the worms will migrate down, away from the light, and let me take out the compost without getting in the way. I might also scoop out onto a tarp for a quick sorting first.
Since I have more than enough worms for the vermicomposter already, I’ll distribute the rest of the worms and compost in the garden and use the worms to “Verm” the container plants as they come out of the house — which Also needed to be done yesterday.
— Once high 70’s and the 80’s temperatures arrive, I want all the plants out so the plant lights don’t add to the heat in the house, and so I can close all the window curtains and blinds to block out the sun. I also want to be able to open/close as well as clean the windows which I can’t access while the plants are crowding around them. Some of these plants could have come out a little earlier, but basically same schedule as tomatoes — once all danger of frost is over and 50’s or above. In most cases, they need to be up- or re-potted once they go outside....
The SIP doesn’t have drainage holes except for the one higher up in the side so I will have to deal with the remaining worms the compost very soon — moreover, I intended to plant some of the peppers in it, so yeah — I just added an extra step to THAT project. But I didn’t have another tub that could handle the weight and volume.