The bounty after screening

The “nicer” word for the harvest product is “castings” but I like to be as realistically accurate as possible.

I had ignored my silent workers long enough. It was time to see what was left behind in the bottom bin of my vermicomposting equipment. I use two big 18 gallon Rubbermaid  storage tubs. If you want to make your own, I would suggest using a more shallow bin. Live and learn is my motto….but it seems like I am relearning many of the same lessons. Hmmmmm. maybe I should mention that to the doctor on my next visit, the problem is I will probably forget to mention it!  Here is a link to a “How To Article” for building your own bins. I use a stacking process to get my little guys to migrate up into a newly prepared bin. http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/cowell124.html

If you want to try raising worms go to my first choice – Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm online at; http://www.unclejimswormfarm.com/ He has everything you need as well as commercially made equipment, advice and bags of worms….. They only ship in the US so if you are outside the US you will need to find or search for suppliers.

As my little buddies consume all of my kitchen scraps they leave behind wonderfully rich castings. Once the bin has 8 to 10 inches of the good stuff in the bottom I prep the second bin with shredded wet newspaper and some and some good tasty treats to entice the little guys to migrate up through the 1/4 inch holes in the bottom of the bin. After two months or so the only things left in the bottom bin are the rich castings and a few stubborn workers that have not quite licked their platters clean….I guess if I were a worm I would be one of the stubborn ones in the bottom bin. My mother would never let me have the good stuff….dessert, until my plate was COMPLETELY clean! Isn’t that right Mom? She reads my blogs so I know that I will hear from her not long after this is posted. Something else Mom, the worms in the bottom seem to be a little chubbier…. could be one of life’s little lessons…Maybe I should have left a little more on my plate and passed up a few more desserts….. I still love you Mom!

The how-to article link above also shares a description for a worm casting tea. I have some friends here in Kingwood that brew this up this and use it as a foliar feeding fertilizer. I have yet to brew my own but have all the equipment. I have several aerators that I use to keep my bait alive while fishing…….they are battery operated so it may be beneficial to buy a small plug-in electric model.

I get odd stares from folks when I talk about my vermiculture and composting efforts. They consider me to be a bit odd. I guess maybe I am a little odd but I seem to enjoy my oddness. My daughter Ashleigh has helped a few times with the harvest and better understands my oddness. She was also amazed at how clean and odor free the process was. Virtually no detectable odor. I have my castings out and exposed to the sun’s heat to dry them out before storing. See photo above. I will make some tea this weekend but will pass on including scones and/or biscuits with the endeavor!

My other gardening activities include;

I added a single strawberry tower to John’s backyard. It will be a nice surprise for him when he returns from his Aruba vacation. I told his wife, Beverly, to not let him take her snorkeling on any secluded beaches!!!!….just a bit of dark and tongue in cheek humor!

While working in John’s yard I added a couple of rows of bunching green onions from seed and put in a single row of sugar snap peas. Both of these additions were in his original 4X4 bed. I also  thinned the radishes and turnips in the new bed. I must have been a little too liberal in my original seeding efforts. The onion and garlic bulbs, even though planted late, are emerging nicely. They seem to be benefitting from this mild winter – I am reluctant to call it winter – it just seems like a prolonged Fall or an early Spring.

I topped off one of my compost bins with shredded leaves this week and added an activator, prepackaged micro-organisms, to speed things along. I will add a weak water and molasses mix today as some additional food to get the pile heated up. It is amazing to feel how hot the process becomes …… literally cooking up some great garden food for the garden.

I added some spinach and Swiss Chard transplants that I had started from seed a month ago. The next 10 days looks like very mild weather so they should take off pretty quickly. I have some really nice looking turnips to harvest this weekend. I don’t find too many recipes that “feature” turnips, they seem to occupy the niches for added body in most recipes. I found one in AllRecipes that caught my eye, “Beef Stew with Ale”. A cup of diced turnips finds their way into the recipe and what really caught my eye was the word “Ale”. Must be a typo in the recipe though….the ingredient list calls for two bottles of a brown lager….hmmmm a big difference between the two…. If you try this recipe just use a good Ale, preferably a Brown Ale!!!! http://allrecipes.com/recipe/beef-stew-with-ale/detail.aspx

Enough for now – I changed up my post background, it seems to be a little easier for my old eyes to read…. I hope you like it.

TTFN

Bishop

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