Tag Archives: wormery

Worms, Cookery and Bread

For tea on Wednesday we had chicken, mushroom and bacon pie with tarragon. Yes, we’re in “tea” territory here, and even if we weren’t I spent my early years in Lancashire, so it will be “tea” wherever I go. On the side we had baked potato and sauteed kale. (It’s stir fried really but people always seem to call it sauteed). Of course, those people know how to access the French accents on their keyboard; I don’t and on my screen the word is underlined in red. We had a proper meal because we left work as early as we could and got home in time to do some proper cooking.

That’s what we’ve been missing recently, time.

We did a bit of easy cooking with the group -jam tarts using ready-made pastry and the jam we made on Tuesday from the blackberries we picked on ¬†Monday. It’s known as Any Berry Jam. I would include a link, but I can’t find it. I’ll try later. There was very little washing up and we had very little inclination to stay longer, so we went home, where I cooked again.

Joy.

Tonight, we will be having soup and a sandwich because we tested sausage rolls for the food blog. I am putting weight on in my capacity of pie tester.

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Quick blackberry jam tarts

It was a very pleasant day, and there were several butterflies on the wing as I drove down the lane. I snapped the two Red Admirals just behind the centre and the very tatty white on the verbena is by the polytunnel.

The marigolds are having one last hurrah, whilst the Cape Gooseberries (or physalis, ground cherries or Inca berries if you prefer) are still struggling to ripen. The ones that were left from the vicious attack last year are a little behind the ones we grew from seed.

The last wheatsheaf loaf broke. This year they all seem to have deformed as they dried out and have actually broken instead of cracking as they normally do. I think it may be because I should let the dough rest more before use.

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Sad fate for Wheatsheaf Loaf

The wormery is going well, though we will probably release them after tomorrow’s session. They have produced tunnels, they have dragged bits of grass down and they have even moved a paper triangle, though not as impressively as in Darwin’s original experiment. In their defence, my worms are smaller. ūüėČ

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Wormery, with paper triangle showing

 

 

The worms

The wormery is working. It’s a bit messy (that word again!) but it’s showing what we want it to do. Here are some pictures showing how to layer it up with soil and sand. After that you put worms in and sprinkle some dead leaves and grass on top. Slip the outer case on and let them get on with it.

The final picture shows the vertical worm tracks and if you look closely you can see some of the grass pieces have been carried down into the “earth”.

Darwin was something of a worm expert, and his book  The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms, with Observations of their Habits is notable for selling better than On the Origin of Species when first published.  I bought a reprint out of curiosity and found it to be more interesting than the title suggests.

One day I must try the paper triangle experiment he suggests.

 

Compost short cut

I used 10 eggs for the Honey and Treacle tart on Saturday. While I was cooking the tarts I dried the egg shells too. That way you can store them and deal with them later without them smelling. I learnt that the hard way one summer.

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After that all you need to do is crush them with a rolling pin and you can throw them in the compost, use them as a barrier to stop slugs or put them in the wormery.

Book Review – Composting Inside and Out

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Composting inside and out – Stephanie Davis

Betterway Home Books 2011 Published at $16.99 but we bought it for £3.99 from a garden centre.

This is a book about composting, rather than a book about the theory and technicalities of composting.

All you need to do is to throw some vegetable waste in a pile. That’s it. no carbon/nitrogen balance, no bin, just a pile of vegetable scraps. It’s simple advice and it’s right – better to have an imperfect compost heap no heap at all.

We currently bury thousands of tonnes of waste. We use lorries to transport it and we allow it to rot and produce greenhouse gases. It’s not efficient. It’s not good for the planet. And it’s a waste of a useful resource. Far better to keep it at home and use it to improve our garden soil. No garden? Use it in containers, or even give it away to someone who can use it.

As you would expect from someone who calls herself the Urban Worm Girl there’s quite a lot on worms. There is also plenty of information on other composting systems. Much of it is American, and for once that’s an advantage. Living in a country with some very cold parts (cold enough to freeze compost) she has a lot of information about keeping worms indoors. Yes, indoors. I always thought it made sense to keep them warm in the winter.

It’s 188 pages with pictures and plenty of space so it’s not a difficult read and it’s well worth it for the information.

Now all I need to do is have a word with my wife about bringing the worms in…

 

Worm community hit by hurricane!

Looks like I might have been a bit hasty in my assessment of the hurricane damage. This morning I found the lid of the wormery had blown off. I only check them every few days as they don’t need a lot of looking after. They are in a sheltered place and it didn’t occur to me that anything could have happened, but it looks like a swirling gust had got under the lid.

Fortunately there was a good layer of damp paper on top of them to keep things dark and they don’t seem to have been inconvenienced too much. Things seemed a bit wet so I suspect they have been rained on but I have arranged some more paper to help them dry out. I’ll add some bread crumbs tonight to help them along.

It looks like they have been breeding well as there are hundreds of small worms on the surface. However, I will check this out just to be sure they aren’t something horrible.It would be just my luck to be boasting about the fecundity of my worms just as they were being eaten by parasites. I’ve kept various livestock over the years and worms, though they don’t need daily attention, are still proving hard to get the hang of. No matter what the books tell me about them being easy I just can’t bring myself to believe it.

On the farm the guinea fowl are refusing to cooperate and move back to the vegetable garden. They are well and truly back with the rest of the poultry and refusing to move from the food. Can’t say I blame them. Even with a coat of waterproof feathers the weather is pretty bad at the moment. (Please note that I could have done the foul/fowl weather joke there but I chose not to. I am better than that.)

There is still a bit of jostling going on with the group of guinea fowl that live with the chickens full time but they seem to be settling down. Even when the weather improves I have a feeling that the poultry field will be a regular stop on the farm circuit for the free range group – bugs are fine but you can’t beat a hopper full of grain.