Our Urban Victory Garden: Here Wormy Wormy + Update / by Alice Zhao

A few weeks ago when it was finally warm enough to transplant our seedlings, we picked up 5 plastic bins and eight 40lb bags of soil. All of which we had to haul up 4 flights of stairs to get it to our rooftop. Um, do I have to continuously be reminded of how out of shape I am? 'Twas not pretty.
First, we drilled holes near the bottom of both sides of the bin for drainage. A sheet of screen netting was also laid down over the holes before we poured in the soil. We filled the bins about 3/4 of the way up so that the tall sides of the bin could protect the little seedlings from strong winds.

We also brought two of the four planters that we built last year up to our rooftop.
The left planter houses the lavender and rosemary we kept indoors over the long winter. The right planter contains more of the swiss chard and arugula.
Check out our little urban victory garden
At first our little seedlings suffered a little frost bite when the temperature dipped into the 30s. I was certain I had killed off a lot of our seedlings. Slowly but surely, after a week in the sun, they are now growing so much faster and looking a lot less dead, leaving the number of transport casualties at a minimum. I am really enjoying my morning ritual of watering the garden using the rain water from our 55 gallon rain barrel. Yay being green! I find that I can't water these plants fast enough before another rain hits us and we're back to being at a full tank.

squash + zucchini, swiss chard, heirloom tomatoes, arugula
By the way, if anyone in the Chicago area is interested in free heirloom seedlings, please come over and take it off our hands. We have way more than we can handle!
Now here comes the funnier part of this post. Warning: the following pictures are not for the squeamish.

What do you do when it is pouring outside and the community courtyard is flooded by rain water? Obviously you go worm fishing... no wait, more like worm picking. We came home one rainy evening to find we had to frogger and hopscotch our way to our house from the parking lot since there were earthworms crawling EVERYWHERE. By the time we got to the door, Jared excitedly yelled out "Go get me a container, I'm going to get us some worms for our garden!" At first I just laughed, and then I realized he was serious.
He emerged from our house armed with a wooden bamboo skewer and a carry out container, braving the pouring rain. Acting as his trusty sidekick, I pointed out the juiciest of worms while he collected each one. Interesting fact, earthworms do not only escape the wet soil to prevent drowning, but also to mate since their mobility is so much better on wet surface. Within 20 minutes, he picked up at least 100 worms. I was about to head back in when he yelled out again, "Alice! Alice! I found the motherload!" And the motherload it was. I mean, check this baby out.
The container of worms was left inside overnight for an all-out-wormy-orgy, before it was divided up the next day between all our planters. Must've been one hell of a party. ;) The worms are now happily tunneling in our vegetable bins. Hopefully it will keep our soil rich with nutrients.

Stay tuned, hopefully the next time we give you an update, we can harvest our garden and make a dish out of it!