Wonderful Urban Worms

Wormery

Ruth has been busy with volunteers at the Phoenix Community Garden welcoming some of the best gardeners’ friends: wriggly worms!  A wormery is a great way of recycling your unwanted kitchen scraps when you live in an urban area and don’t have access to much outdoor space.  Here’s Ruth’s top tips for setting up a new wormery:

  1. Allow worms to settle for 2 weeks before adding any compostable material
  2. Add a handful of garden soil or homemade compost to bedding to add microorganisms
  3. Initially just give a handful of food (raw kitchen scraps, etc) every other day, bury it under damp shredded newspaper to keep it moist & deter fruit flies
  4. Position out of the sun & in winter insulate with bubble wrap
  5. Worms need air: add plenty of egg boxes, damp, shredded paper & corrugated cardboard to trap air
  6. Dry eggshells, crush & sprinkle; this gives them the grit they need & keeps alkalinity good
  7. Avoid onions, garlic & citrus fruit, grass cuttings

Cheat ‘Sun-ripened’ tomatoes

Although we have had more than our average sun quota this year, sadly its not lasted long enough to take full advantage for sun-drying our harvests.  So here is a simple recipe to make the most out of your cherry tomato glut and provide a mouth watering taste of summer in the deepest winter months.

Ripe cherry toms

It does take some time to oven dry your produce, so make sure you choose a time when you will be around for 2-3 hours.   Perhaps use this time to look through some lovely organic seed catalogues and daydream about next year’s plans.

You will need:

Cherry tomatoes – de-stalked, washed, dried and any dodgy ones removed

Olive Oil – for brushing

Salt & herbs for seasoning

Method:

  • Turn on oven to a low heat (around 120C / GM 1 or lower).
  • Line a large baking tray with baking paper or parchment and place a wire rack over this.
  • Slice your prepared tomatoes in half and lay out cut side facing up on the wire rack.  For added ease, I highly recommend this fabulous 1-minute tutorial on how to cut multiple tomatoes: https://www.wimp.com/a-simple-technique-for-cutting-cherry-tomatoes-in-half/

 

Tomatoes before

  • Brush the tomatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and herbs of your choice.  Basil or Marjoram are good with tomatoes.
  • Pop in the oven checking on the tomatoes’ progress periodically to make sure they are cooking evenly; they will probably fall through the wire rack, but don’t worry about that.
  • Continue to cook until they are squishy but not juicy (or you can decide for yourself the perfect consistency you want from a sun-dried tom).
  • Either use these in pasta dishes immediately, or you can further preserve them by either freezing or bottling.  I have frozen mine in one-meal quantities for easy use. Try searching on line if you want to preserve them in oil – this will take a bit more effort.

 

Tomatoes after