Transplanting Seedlings and Composting with Worms

It was an exciting week in the Community Teaching Garden Advanced Course! We were back at the VCGN offices in Burlington’s Old North End to transplant the cold-hardy seedlings we planted two weeks ago. We also had our first guests of the season– worms! They came in to teach us first hand about some of the advantages of using a worm-based composting system. We also learned many interesting facts about worms from our dear teacher Carolina, including information about their very unique reproductive habits.

worm reproduction
Birds do it, bees do it, even composting worms do it!

While it would be fascinating to spend an entire post exploring the reproductive lives of worms, much of our lesson focused on how worm-based compost systems work and what some of the benefits are. We learned about how to start a worm compost system, how to support worms in the system, and how to harvest the “black gold” they leave behind. Curious about how to start your own worm-based compost system? One classic and much-loved resource is Worms Eat My Garbage by Mary Appelhof.

Freshly transplanted and watered planties
Our beautiful seedlings after being transplanted and watered.

It was a pleasure to see how much our seedlings grew in the past two weeks. After our exciting lesson on worm compost, we focused our attention on transplanting our seedlings to larger seed starting trays. We started by identifying any seeds that grew poorly or did not germinate, and then carefully examined our remaining plants to determine which seedlings were highest priority for moving to larger cells. While most of our kale and lettuce was quite comfortable in the original, smaller seed starting trays we used, our cabbage, broccoli, and some of our flowers were ready to move into larger spaces. After carefully transplanting our seedlings and gently watering them, many students found that they had a few extra seedlings. These seedlings were shared with peers, and extra seedlings were enjoyed as a light snack– our first harvest of the season!

broccoli rabe
Delicious broccoli rabe micro greens. Yum!

Next week will be our first week out in the garden! We’re looking forward to preparing our beds for the upcoming season.

How are your seedlings coming along? We’d love to hear from you!

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