Thursday, April 30, 2009

"Free" Fertilizer

I've posted about vermicomposting before; composting with worms, which is my favorite way to get rid of kitchen scraps. Now I have another new fave: tadpole water! I've got a couple of bullfrog tadpoles (Skipper and Gilligan, his little buddy). They live in a 20 gallon tank on my kitchen counter, where they swim around and hang out, waiting to grow their little froglet legs.

In the meantime they do an excellent job of chowing down on the "overripe" lettuce and greens that we seem to find fairly often. Right now they're feasting on some watercress I bought thinking it was cilantro. No one ate it, and it began to, uh, change. Thriftily, I froze it. Now I break off parts and toss it to the guys, who think it's a delicacy. It must be good for them: they're growing and pooping. A LOT.

And there's my free fertilizer. Every time I clean out the tank (about twice a week), I capture the water in a jug and water my vegetables out back. They are SHOOTING out of the ground! All that nitrogen in the water is a good thing. The water not only contains tadpole offerings but the residue of whatever they've been eating, so there's lots of rich vegetable matter going into the ground.

I'm delighted. So are my plants. The tadpoles? They prefer the water green and slimy, so I think they're a little irritated that I went in with the sink sprayer and cleaned everything out. They're doing a great job of getting it back to their idea of normal, which will help continue the cycle until they're grown.

By the way, the tadpole pictured isn't mine. The guy in the picture is a little more developed, but I couldn't resist the photo! The photographer, "skassam" captured a great shot. See more of his work at:

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