The Snow is Snowing

This morning our yard looked like this:

Good thing our worms are now safely in our basement!  I need to find a more permanent spot for them down there, but for now they are at least out of the cold.

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They wormed their way into my heart.

Wiggly Field is a go!

We are officially vermicomposting!  My sister brought over the bins this morning and helped me get set up.  The system we’re using is the Worm Factory 3 Tray Composter.  The idea is that you add food scraps to the top tray while the worms munch in the tray below.  As you fill up the trays, you add more on top and as the worms finish eating they climb up into the next tray and you can remove the bottom one and use it as compost.  Additionally, it has a spigot in the bottom to collect so called “Worm Tea” that you can spray directly on your plants.

Here’s what the empty composter looks like

We started off by tearing up a paper bag and dampening it, then mixing it with some soil from our garden and a little bit of potting soil.  This provides the worms with some bedding.  We probably could have shredded the paper a little finer–in the future we’ll probably use a paper shredder–but this should work for now.

Next up was getting the worms!  I called this morning and arranged to pick up half a pound of red wigglers from Pistils Nursery and they harvested them for me from their own worm bin.

These went into the bin on top of the bedding along with the soil they came in.

On top of them, I added about a pound of food scraps that we had from our kitchen.  I put them through the food processor before adding them, since worms like to eat things that are a little smaller.  I also tore up the newspaper that they were transported in for some fiber.  Again, probably should have shredded it, but oh well.

From there, I put the top on and let the worms go to work!  The whole project took about an hour and I’m looking forward to getting some great compost and worm tea from these guys in the coming months.

2012 Urban Farm Handbook Challenge

UFHChallenge

So I am not the best blogger, or really the best gardener. I do, however, LOVE food, especially really great vegetables. So with that in mind, I am getting on my workboots and getting out in the dirt! I’ve decided to participate in the Urban Farm Handbook Challenge this year to keep me motivated and on track, both for blogging and for gardening.

Month 1 is February, which yes, ends tomorrow. Luckily, before I even found out about the challenge, I was working on it! The challenge for this month is soil building and we have some things in the works.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we are blessed to have some really fertile soil. However, composting and providing nutrients to the plants you’re growing is still really important. Currently we have a sort of haphazard compost pile that is really more just a spot for us to pile chicken droppings. I think we can probably do better. I am liking the idea of building a couple of compost bins that we can put over by the chicken coop and throw yard waste into.

Also, on Wednesday we’re picking up some red worms so that we can start worm composting most of our kitchen scraps. We have the set of trays to put them in and we certainly go through enough stuff in the kitchen! I am super excited about that. Our city does residential food scrap composting, but I think between giving scraps to the chickens and the worms, we should be minimizing our output.

Speaking of the chickens, we had quite the scare this week! On Sunday night one of our hens, Lady Cluckerpants, didn’t come back to the coop. I spent an hour searching for her and when she didn’t come home yesterday morning, either, I thought she was gone for good. Amazingly, one of our neighbors found her on the other side of our hill, lost and thirsty. She took her to one of our other neighbor’s houses since she knew they had layers. Our neighbors knew we were missing one and now Lady Cluckerpants is home safe with the rest of the flock. I am so grateful to everyone involved!

And finally, the sauerkraut I posted about the other week is coming out awesome! We had a bowl of it a couple of days ago and it is tasting delicious. Yum!