Back to the Farm.
There is more to this little farm than meets the eye. And in the interests of honest and transparent discussion I feel I must tell you something. I have been hiding this from you. I have a confession to make.
In a very large iron bathtub, down there in the gloom of my basement I keep .. um.. sigh.. Worms. (Gasp!). I know. It is a rather dark secret. I don’t tell many people because I am afraid they may look at me funny. Well, it is true that the moment I open my mouth and speak they look at me a bit funny (NZ accent) but no need to compound my problems.
Now there are a number of reasons why I have a Worm Farm. I drink a lot of coffee, it is all freshly ground every morning in Our Johns great grandmothers coffee grinder and it seems terrible to waste the coffee grounds after all the care we put into making the perfect cup and worms love those expensive coffee grounds. Also I really hate junk mail which is the only mail I receive, though I had to change my name to Miss T H E Resident just to get this rubbish, so I find enormous satisfaction in shredding it all up and feeding that to the worms!
The real reason of course is worm tea. This stuff is magic fertiliser. Really, really good fertiliser. And it is free. You can make it yourself. My bathtub has a small bucket under the drain to collect any tea. Plus you can make liquid fertiliser from the worm castings when you want more than a cup full. We spray gallons of it onto my recovering fields in the spring and of course the vegetable gardens. (Our John tried to tell me that maybe I should be spraying it under a full moon, naked with a hat on in case I got cold and doing some kind of funny dance. I don’t know. Seemed a little far fetched to me.)
To make worm tea from the castings fill an old thin pillow case with worm castings, immerse and suspend it from a stick in a really big bucket of water with a cup of molasses added. Using a fish tank air pump bubble the air under the bag for 24 hours. Dilute with water into your sprayer and use within the next 24 hours. Dig the left over soil into your garden around your favourite tree!
Worms are easy, they stay in their pen and they don’t talk back. Feed your worms with equal amounts of green and brown and keep moist. Just like regular compost. When I say green I mean, salads, peels, good weeds, anything really except dairy and meat. When I say brown I mean, paper shreds, coffee grinds, tea leaves, straw, autumn leaves, etc. I always keep a layer of shredded paper on top – there are little bugs that are important to this mini ecosystem and the shredded paper seems to keep them IN. Then a wet sheet of paper and your lid.
A wee worm farm is perfect for the small urban gardener. You can turn your left overs into the most beautiful soil conditioner plus the liquid gold fertiliser. Even if you are in a condo, maybe you have a garage, or back entrance or somewhere out of your home, you can start a wee worm farm to fertilise your house plants and recycle your kitchen waste. You can even use the worm casings to mix into your indoor potting mix.
Worm compost is made cold though (not heated like regular compost) so be aware that any seed you put in will grow when you bring it out.
Today I am making Mama’s Tomato Chutney so stand by for the recipe. And I really must practice my frisbee technique. TonTon has such a time!