Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pipped at the Post

I had better get some more posts up before Green Roof Gardeners steal all my good ideas.

I, too, had okra flowers to show off:
Who knew Yankees would be growing okra? I should have taken pictures Tuesday while I made my first attempt at pickling okra. By the way, I had previously mentioned that I don't like okra. Turns out, if you cook it right, it's not bad. One simple preparation that worked well for me was just washing/drying the okra, slicing it into rounds which were then dredged in cornmeal, and frying them up in oil. Quick and tasty. Best of all: no slime factor.

And then there was going to be the extensive discussion of my worm bin:
I do mine a bit differently. I bought a commercial version called a Worm Factory. It uses red wigglers and a series of bins that allow you to have several stages of compost at all times while providing compost tea via a spigot (truthfully, however, my spigot is almost always clogged so I just get the tea when I remove a layer).

In each layer I put a layer of food scraps (mostly veggies--no meat, dairy, fats, or garlic/onion). That's topped with a whole lot of shredded newspaper to give the worms a place to hang out when they're not eating. On top of that is a couple of layers of moist newspaper just to hold everything in. The worms move up and down eating and pooping. The layer on the bottom is harvested when all the food is digested and what remains looks like the richest soil you'll ever see. I keep putting new food in the top layer so the worms will move up.

Since worms don't like extremes of heat or cold, I keep the bin just inside our back door near the catbox. It doesn't smell (unless I accidentally put onion in there) or at least it's nothing compared to the catbox. And it's much faster at composting than my outdoor compost heap. I've had this bin system for about two years now and I've never had to buy more worms. I also make fewer trips out to the big compost heap, so it's more convenient. Best of all, I feel less guilty when food spoils before I get around to cooking it. Didn't get to that basil in time? Cilantro go slimy too fast? Not to worry. That's dinner for the worms.

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