Thursday, July 22, 2010

Livestock Edition: Effing Composting Worms. How do they work?

Before I knew her, my friend R went on our favorite radio show (Too Beautiful to Live) and encouraged people to begin their own worm farms. It planted a seed in my head even though I was an apartment dweller with no need for soil at the time.

As soon as I bought my house with the intention of having an organic garden, I knew I would have to get some composting worms.

If you have an interest in creating some good soil for your garden or potted plants and/or want to reduce the amount of waste you throw into a landfill, then composting worms are an ideal solution. They take up little space, are relatively inexpensive, and can be kept indoors.

You can make your own worm bin for under $50, but I chose to go with the Worm Factory, which I bought at Ace Hardware for under $100.

It came with stacking bins, a spigot for collecting "worm tea" (a nutrient rich water, used as a fertilizer), bedding... basically, everything you need to get started, except for the worms. You can order the worms directly from Ace or search for another seller online.

The ideal worm for composting indoors is the red wiggler. They don't like sunlight and they like to live together in clusters. Earthworms are not good because they like to be away from other worms. It's not a good idea to dig up a bunch of worms from your yard and throw them in the bin.

After the worms are settled in their home, the rest is pretty easy. They just need to be fed once in a while, be given some airspace, and be kept moist. I worried over the worms at first, which didn't make me very popular with the worms (they don't like to be disturbed by bright light) and I found it's pretty unnecessary.

It takes months for the worms to make enough castings (i.e. worm poo / soil) to put in the garden. I'm basically waiting for next year to use the soil.

When I told him about the worms, my Uncle J said I now have livestock. That cracked me up... it's probably the only livestock I can handle, but it's perfect for urban dwellers.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Colt & Gray

Amazing restaurants abound in Denver. I didn't really appreciate it until I started traveling through Kansas and Nebraska, where the chain restaurant is king.

Some of you have already heard my drooling account of Colt & Gray, so I thought I would post a couple photos. This is my fancy martini and the beet burgers. The buns were surprisingly sweet, the beets finely chopped, and goat cheese made a flavorful condiment. Culinary perfection in a small package.

I can't stop thinking about the joy of eating Bacon Cashew Carmel Corn.

I'm not a big fan of swine- if I never ate another pork chop, slice of jamon, or pork rib, I wouldn't cry about it. Seriously, I'd shrug my shoulders and head for the chocolate fountain. Bacon, though, bacon is the exception. Yet, shockingly, I thought I was over bacon. I mean, it's the ubiquitous restaurant ingredient of the moment. This dish totally changed my mind.

After that, I was so distracted by the Roasted Marrow Bones, Cavatelli, and Caramelized Banana Tart with Chocolate-Hazelnut Crust that I totally forgot to take pictures. You'll just have to go there yourself.

The post should end there, but I have to put in a word for the knowledgeable servers who are enthusiastic about the food. Our waiter LOVED the food. LOVED it. I can't blame him because I loved it, too.

What are you waiting for? Get your ass over there.

Small Things Are Cute- Even Veggies

You can't deny it- this squashling is damn cute.

Carrotlings and beetlings had to be thinned out, which made for a great salad with deer tongue and flame lettuce.

This tomato plant gets it. It's producing like gangbusters... the others are more cautious.

Like this guy:

"I think I'll start with one tomato. Don't want to get all crazy with it."

I think the wind destroyed one plant- it doesn't look so hot, but I'm afraid to pull it out just in case it sneaks in some Miracle Grow when I'm not looking.

The winter squash is making a break for it. It's totally my fault for not giving it better boundaries and more space. Next year, I'll put more into our relationship.

The cilantro grew and produced lovely white flowers while I was on the road neglecting the garden.

The bees like it, as you can see, so it's going to stay for awhile. All my peas inexplicably died. The eggplants and some of the peppers have yet to flower. I wonder what August will bring and if I'll have anything besides lettuce, green tomatoes, and squash.