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I have a little garden in Rozelle about 5km from the centre of Sydney. I love to grow as much organic food as I can in a tiny space. The garden calms and excites me, and is a wonderful little green space in a big city. This blog is a record plotting the changes over seasons and years.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Home Brew - worms not beer

Worm tea, worm wee, worm juice, leachate. Aren’t these all the same? The quick answer is no, they aren’t. I will dedicate another post to this, as it is quite complex and can be controversial amongst wormy types. I've been reading lots about soil microbiology and worm farms in the last few months and this is the fruit of some of my learning. There are plenty more nerdy posts that I will do on soil microbes soon!

Right now, let’s just accept that leachate is the stuff that comes out of the tap at the bottom of your worm farm. Some people use it on the garden, others say it is highly toxic to plants. When people are talking about worm wee and worm juice, they are usually referring to leachate. 

What I am brewing here however, is worm tea – which is aerated worm castings. It is packed full of good microbes and is amazing for soil health. Worm castings are fantastic for the garden, but you can make them even better by helping the microbes multiply. The things they need to multiply are air and sugar. So by aerating the brew and adding molasses or golden syrup, we are helping the microbes go crazy!

I have noticed a significant difference in my garden since applying worm tea every couple of weeks. Anyway, here is how it is done.

Start off with a big bucket and put about 15 litres of water in it. You can put more or less, but from the reading on microbes I have done about 1 cup of worm castings to 15 litres of water is a safe bet. If you have rainwater, great. If you are using tap water, leave it to sit for 24 hrs so that the level of chlorine is reduced. Chlorine can kill microbes.

Apart from a bucket of water you need: (1) an organza bag or muslin to put the worm castings in. I bought these from a discount store, but you can also get them on ebay. (2) an old fashioned fish tank aerator and airstone. I got mine on ebay for under $10 but you can buy them at pet stores too

Get about one cup of worm castings (worm poo) from your worm farm and put it in the organza bag. Tie the top and plop it in the bucket of water.

Attach your hose and airstone to the aerator and put it in the bucket.

Add 2 heaped tablespoons of golden syrup, corn syrup or molasses. I use golden syrup because it is easily to find in Australia. Let it brew for 12 to 24 hrs. There is guess work in how long to leave it. If I had a lab strength microscope I could look to see when the microbes had multiplied to their peak level, but since we don't guessing is just fine.
Here is Dudley helping out with my home brew. He does try to drink it, but then, even at 13 1/2 he still tries to eat and drink everything (labrador genes).

I would love to hear from others about how they use their worm farm output.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Best green smoothie

It was only a matter of time until I was bitten by the green smoothie bug. I resisted. I really did. There were a few motivating factors, but one of the biggest is that my garden is packed with leafy greens. And I hate seeing them go to waste.

I have tried a crazy number of smoothie recipes. Most of them are pretty gross. The idea of blending greens with water and throwing in some seeds, doesn't appeal. I started experimenting, and also found some great websites with yummy smoothies. So folks, here is my favourite green smoothie. It is a bit more indulgent than some of my others, but is delicious.

This makes approx 750ml.

Put 1 cup of pineapple juice, juice of 2 lemons & 1 cup of light coconut milk in a blender. As you can see, I have become adequately addicted to green smoothies to warrant a significant investment in the Vitamix.
Add 1 tightly packed cup of kale and 1 tightly packed cup of mint.
Blend until completely smooth

Add 2 apples or pears (frozen into pieces), 1 cup of frozen pineapple pieces, and 1/4 cup chopped macadamias. Blend until smooth.
Enjoy! This will keep in the fridge for 2 days.