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:
- Allow worms to settle for 2 weeks before adding any compostable material
- Add a handful of garden soil or homemade compost to bedding to add microorganisms
- 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
- Position out of the sun & in winter insulate with bubble wrap
- Worms need air: add plenty of egg boxes, damp, shredded paper & corrugated cardboard to trap air
- Dry eggshells, crush & sprinkle; this gives them the grit they need & keeps alkalinity good
- Avoid onions, garlic & citrus fruit, grass cuttings
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.
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
- 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/
- 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.