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Backyard Grocery - Page 2 of 26 - local gardening and food source

Worms in my kitchen

vermicomposting

When are worms cute? When they are eating your garbage and producing vermicompost! (Image courtesy of antpkr / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

If you had told me a year ago that I would consider red wigglers “adorable and cuddly,” I would have rolled my eyes and snorted. But just this morning I declared the squirmy little things downright cute. Why is the adorableness of worms even a subject in my household? Because my husband has become a vermicomposting demon and we now have about 4,000 worms eating our garbage.  We started with 2,000 and one bin about six weeks ago. We now have two bins and Rick has been transferring the adorable (and very hungry) little guys to the new bin.

So, why the heck are we doing this? Because vermicompost is frigging amazing fertilizer. And I have a lot of garbage to compost. And Rick loves a good project, especially if he has to use his tools.

It all started when we realized our composter in the backyard just really doesn’t do a great job. It’s the barrel kind that you turn. But in the winter, the food just sits. And, after it’s full, you have to wait several months for the compost to finish composting. What am I supposed to do with my veggie scraps then?

So Rick started researching alternatives. I think he first started thinking of vermicomposting when he discovered the Urban Farming Guys, but that’s just a guess on my part. I know a few days later the book “Worms Eat my Garbage” showed up in the mail. That was the end of that. My kitchen now houses worm bins, and I have completely fallen in love the the wiggly little cutie pies.

vermicomposting

Vermicomposting bin #1 in the kitchen. Sometimes the worms try to escape, so Rick helps them back down into the garbage pile.

The Pros of Vermicomposting

  • Vermicompost is a nutrient-rich, natural fertilizer and soil conditioner.
  • It makes your plants healthier, and helps increase their disease resistance.
  • Since you can feed them paper products too, you can really cut down on the garbage you send to the landfill.
  • Composting time is 1/3 that of regular composting.
  • The red wigglers are adorable and easy to maintain pets you don’t have to walk.
  • If you haven’t totally fallen in love with the worms, you can use them for fishing .

For more detail on the benefits, check out this article from somebody much smarter than I am about such things.

For now, we just have the two bins and the worms are eating about 4 pounds of waste a week. However, Rick has started construction on an outdoor worm bin that we will use just as soon as the weather gets warm enough. It involves a huge barrel and a lot of PVC pipe.

Sometimes I can’t believe this is my life. Even more, I can’t believe how much I love it!


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Garden Vegetable Soup

garden vegetable soup

Fresh (and frozen) veggies are perfect for this garden vegetable soup.

I love snow storms, just not in March when I’m READY for Spring. But alas, a snow storm is what we got in Virginia today. And since I always turn to food to get me through the hard times, I decided to make a nice garden vegetable soup to make myself feel better.

Last summer, I canned some of my tomatoes, but I also froze some. Then promptly forgot I did that. The result is that it’s March, and I have a few quarts of garden tomatoes in my freezer. Oh happy day! So I took those out this morning, and did a little more scrounging in the freezer. I produced some green beans and basil from the garden, along with some of my venison stock. The other day we harvested the last of our winter turnips, thus rounding out the homegrown vegetables. I had a cabbage and some organic carrots from the Maple Avenue Market, and some chicory that I picked up on a whim recently. All that spelled stew to me!


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Venison meat sauce

venison meat sauce

Venison meat sauce with home canned tomatoes is possibly the best meal ever.

So, I canned my first vegetables back in July and it took me until February to eat any of them. This is not because I haven’t been cooking. It’s because of my life-long, engrained fear of botulism. I’m not kidding. I had these jars of gorgeous tomatoes in my pantry for months, and I just couldn’t eat them. Finally I decided I had to take the risk. So I read up on botulism and discovered it isn’t necessarily fatal (as long as you get medical care pretty quickly). That made me feel better and gave me the confidence to open some tomatoes.


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