The Farm*Homestead*Garden Blog

All things farm, garden, homestead related from the Catsndogs4us family.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

worm bin update

I thought the worm bin 360 would make my job maintaining a worm bin more hands off. So far that isn't proving to be the case. I like this bin but it's not perfect or much easier than just a couple modified Rubbermaid type bins. Not many worms had travelled to the second bin that was added a few weeks ago and a few food items in there ended up going moldy which I've never had happen with worm composting before. I helped more of the worms from bin one migrate up to bin two and helped a few stragglers out of the very bottom where they seemed to be using the worm ladder just not very quickly. I do think this will be better for me to maintain long term and is much easier to lift, there is a learning curve I need to work through apparently. All in the pursuit of good garden compost.

I was adding new produce scraps to the worm bin today and noticed that not much had been eaten since last time.

The worms seem to be migrating from one bin to another more slowly than anticipated.

Quite a lot of worms were still in bin one which is supposed to be a completed bin now.

I moved a bunch of the worms into bin two and added fresh food scraps while removing a couple moldy things.

Go to it worms, eat, make compost, have babies etc....

Saturday, January 9, 2016

First week of 2016

There isn't as much farm and garden work to do in the winter as their is in other seasons, yet there is always something that can be done. Winter has been slow to arrive this year, which suits me fine. This week has included planting more garlic, adding a second layer to the worm farm 360 composter, maintaining the old style worm bins, ordering spring chickens and cleaning pet cages. The first seed catalogs have already arrived too so there are those to ponder.

I planted a lot of that garlic which was sprouting, had a little too much help from my doggie friends. It was quite cold the day I transplanted I so I waited a few days, until it warmed up again,  to move the bin and pot with the transplants outdoors to overwinter and go dormant.

It was time for some worm bin maintenance this week. So far I really like the worm factory 360 which we upgraded to after many years of just using a couple plastic bins. Worms make some great compost for the garden. They eat all our vegetable scraps, peanut shells, coffee grinds, anything like that. It's a lot easier to use this new worm farm, just add a new level every month or two and the worms migrate upwards. After several days I decided to see if they really were migrating, yes they seem to be as the photo below shows. There were a lot in line though so I grabbed a couple handfuls and helped them into the second layer to start eating from there. 

Dartha wants to help with the worm bin.

There's even a cheat sheet-reminder on top of the worm bin, very easy to use.

Our old worm bins, they will retire after this year. Most of the worms already have been moved to the new worm farm. I knew that I missed some worms in the great worm sort during the fall so decided to maintain these through the winter and then add them directly to the gardens.
Another way we compost is ye old composter outdoors. The wild Turkeys sometimes eat out of it though!
Outdoor composter

 After bringing out today's compost, since the worms can only eat so much, I walked around to see who has been walking, hopping and jumping through the yard. I saw a variety of animal prints. Looks like there was a scuffle between rabbit and cat or something cat sized in one spot.
Scene of the crime?

Who's been sleeping on this forgotten about lawnchair that never got brought in for winter?

The most fun was of course researching and the ordering spring chicks. They will be another form of composting for us and a very cute one at that. Their names re just breeds listed on a receipt right now, we will meet them in early May. I don't see the words when I read it I see the cute little chicks that will grow into cute big chickens. The blue silkies raise the most interest, they could be blue-50% chance, Black-25% chance or splash 25% chance. I do hope to get at least one splash colored, figured with 4 I have a chance.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Growing Garlic Inexpensively

One good way to grow garlic is to purchase reduced for quick sale garlic bulbs. These can sometimes be found at the grocery store, natural foods store or farmer's market. Some produce from the stores won't grow if they've been sprayed with something to make them last longer. This doesn't seem to be the case for any garlic I've gotten. I grew some from the store just fine last season. Both the organic bulbs and some which were not marked organic have grown equally well. This is a great way to grow a lot of garlic very inexpensively! These garlic bulbs were all of $1.50 for the whole package! I bought them about 2 weeks ago, they weren't sprouting then. They are now sprouting and should produce well over 50 new garlic bulbs. I've bought 3 or 4 of these reduced batches, most were planted in the fall. Just got this one a couple weeks ago and I'll start them in the house and then slowly move them outdoors so they can catch up with the bulbs already in the ground. They'll all take off in the spring. The scapes that grow at first will be great in salads and stir fried meals. Later we'll have new garlic bulbs and lots of them...maybe too many. If that happens I will need to learn how to dry them and turn them into garlic powder for long term use. To plant them I break each clove off the bulb and plant them in the fall, since I'm in the northeast. They've grow a bit and then winter will set in and halt the growth. They'll start up again in the spring. Scapes should be ready to pick in early summer and the bulbs themselves should be done in mid to late summer.

Looks like these garlic bulbs from the store would rather be planted than used right away!