Worm Factory 360 2nd Tray Update – 6-20

Agridude - Worm Bin after initial feedingIt’s been a while since I last posted about the new second bin on my Worm Factory 360, sorry.  It took 3 days for the first worms to move up into the new tray.  This might have been because there was still a good amount of food in the tray below that was still getting processed.  When I opened the tray on the 3rd day, there were quite a few fruit flies in there.  I think this is because I didn’t cover the food with enough bedding. The picture on the left is what it looked like on Sunday.  Most of the food was gone and worms were in the bedding.

Agridude - Worm Bin with new foodHere is a picture of the tray with some new food that I put in the corners.  I put the food in the middle the last time and I decided to use new locations for the second feeding.  When I talk about feeding, I give them food and also a bunch of coffee grounds.  In California, Starbucks has Grounds for Your Garden where they will leave 5 pound bags of coffee grounds outside for composters to pick up.  Don’t forget to add crushed egg shells around the food.  This helps with the ph levels and also gives the worms some grit to process the food.  Here is a picture after adding the grounds and egg shells.

Agridude - Worm Bin with crushed egg shells

Agridude - Worm Bin more bedding

 

 

 

Since I don’t want anymore fruit flies, I decided to add more bedding over the food.  Bentley from RedwormComposting told me via email that you can never have too much bedding.  After I put all the bedding down, I had to water it down so that the worms are able to live in it.  You want it to be like a rung out sponge like everyone says.  That means it shouldn’t be dripping water when a handful is picked up, but if you squeezed the handful, some drops of moisture would come out.  Once you are done with that, you can cover the tray with moist sheets of newspaper like the directions tell you.  I will be checking on the worms tomorrow to see if they are ready for some more food.

Agridude - Worm Bin new bedding wet

Cape Mayhem Gardens Update 6/18 – Garden Maintenance

Agridude - Cucumber Powdery Mildew LeafsSo last week I noticed that there were white spots on the cucumber leafs.  I did some googling and discovered that they have powdery mildew.  The picture on the left shows a large patch of it on one leaf, but if you look at the other leaves, you’ll see a bunch of white dots on the leaves.

 

Agridude - Neem OilI was told that I could remove the infected leaves, but too many of them are infected that I don’t know what would happen to the plant if I removed them all. Here is a pic of the Neem Oil that I bought at Walter Andersen Nursery.  We were all hanging out at the garden watching the US Open and I just happened to catch Jude biting his nails in this picture…

Agridude - Spraying Plants with Neem OilI removed a few of the very bad ones, and then sprayed the leafs down with Neem Oil.  Jude had his friends Hall, an Agridude, and Christina in town from Raleigh, NC. They garden and told me how much of oil to put on the leafs.  A light spray on each leaf should do the trick.  I was coating them pretty thick so I had to scale back.  We’ll see what happens in a week.

Hall and Christina shared a ton of good information and ideas with me.  They showed me how to prune/remove suckers on tomatoes.  Here is a link from my dad that shows you what to do.  By doing this, it puts more of the plants energy into making the fruit versus adding new leaves to the plant.

Agridude - Hall Removing Low BranchesThey also told me that I should remove the lowest branches on the tomato plants, especially if they touch the ground.  We also took out branches that had a lot of dead leaves on them since they are old and probably not doing much for the plant.  Here is Hall doing the pruning on our Green Zebra tomato.

 

Agridude - Planting OnionsWhile I was up in Hell A visiting another Agridude, Grant, we went to his local garden supply store and found a bunch of onion bulbs.  We planted 15 or so in LA in his garden, and within a week, they were shooting out of the ground.  I bought a few white onions and planted them in my garden yesterday.   You can see Kelly doing some pruning work for me too.  I had done 3 plants and my knees and back were tired so I had her help me out.  It is hard for a big man to get low to the ground for the pruning with so many other plants near by.  The onions will only make that tougher…

I also took some of the leachate from my worm bin and diluted it with water in a watering can and applied it to the plants around the base of each plant.  I did this to my patio plants and they all seemed to really perk up.  I am curious to see how the plants in the garden respond to this feeding.

Here are some other pictures I took yesterday of the garden, enjoy!

Agridude - Jalapenos

Jalapenos hanging off the plant

Agridude - Cucumbers Westside

Westside

Agridude - Cucumbers Ready to Eat

Sliced, sprinkled salt on top

Agridude - Hall and Pete

Agridudes Hall and Pete

Back From Camping

I went camping this past Tuesday and Wednesday at Tettegouche state park on the north shore. 

When I left my pot of lettuce was doing great!

However when I got back home from the trip this is what I have left after an army of green bugs ate my leafs. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the second time this has happened to me this grow season.  Does anybody have any ideas about what to do?

 

Worm Factory 360 – Adding a new tray

Agridude - Starting second binThis past Saturday, I decided that it was time to add a second tray to my Worm Factory 360.  The first tray was pretty full since I received so much worm bedding when I purchased my worms.  It is fairly straight forward to add a second tray, the DVD that came with my worm factory has a special section on how to do this.  I started by taking some of the compost from the first tray and added it to the new tray.

Agridude - Starting second bin 2I took a couple scoops of compost with my hand shovel and placed it in the new tray.  This brings up some of the beneficial micro organisms that help break down food.  This will help prepare the new food scraps that I will be adding.  Hope you like my sleeveless corona shirt, it’s perfect for Saturday morning worm tasks.

The next step is to prepare the bedding that will line the bottom of the tray.  I used some of the coir that I had bought when I got the worm bin, and also added some shredded newspaper, then poured water over it to make it nice and moist.  You have to pour water over the coir for it to expand and then you can break it apart.  If you don’t have coir, you can use shredded cardboard, newspaper, office paper etc.

Agridude - Watering Coir

Agridude - Peeling Coir

Agridude - Adding Newspaper Shreds to Coir

Agridude - Watering Coir and Newspaper

Once you have made your new bedding, it is time to put it in the new tray.  I made sure to put down a thin layer over the entire bottom of the new tray.

Agridude - Adding bedding to second tray

You will put your food scraps on top of the bedding next.  I used my food processor to chop up 3 banana peels and an apple core.  I also added some pumice to the bedding since I had leftover from the bag that came with the worm factory.

Agridude - Food and Pumice

Agridude - Adding Food to Tray

After adding the food and pumice, I added some coffee grounds to the tray. I should have also added some egg shells, but I didn’t have any so I will do that when I get some eggs.

Agridude - Adding Coffee Grounds over Food

Once your food layer is done, it is time to add more bedding on top of that and then you are finished.  Be sure to lay some newspaper over the top to cover everything and wet it down pretty good.

Agridude - Covering Food with Bedding

Agridude - Putting on Newspaper Cover

I’ll try to take some pictures soon and let you know how the migration from the first bin to the second bin is going.  I also should let you know that I opened the nozzle to see if I had any leachate (liquid that collects in the bottom of the bin and is used as fertilizer), and I had quite a bit.  I will dilute this and use as fertilizer at the garden and in my potted plants on the deck.

Agridude Brian also purchased a worm factory 360 and is going to start posting his experience as well.  Looking forward to it!

Update On Koom’s patio Garden

Going for back to back post. Got a call from Paul yesterday so here we go.

All of my plants are growing well in the pots.  I fertilize once a week.  Here are some pictures.

My Basil is growing well and smells great.  Unfortunately I had four plants going but two died.

 

 

 

Small pot of mixed lettuces.  This is the second time I tried growing lettuce this season.  The first batch was eaten my small green grubs!!

 

 

My pepper plants are in the background.  There are tons of budding flowers.  Hopefully we will get some peppers.  I got the seedlings from a friend from work, so I do not remember what types they are.  In front of the peppers are multiple plants of swiss chard.

The tomato plants are growing in a hurry.  Lots of small flowers starting to bud.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My hop plant is really taking off!!  Starting to train it to go left up the string.  Its hard to see but there are two more strains starting to grow on the right.  Below is a picture of the whole garden.  That’s all for know.  Off to go camping on the North Shore with the kid and wife.

Kooms Garden – Introduction to my Patio Garden in MN

Agridude - Kooms Patio GardenMy name is Brian and I live in the northern suburbs of Minneapolis.  I have a small patio that I have been growing a few plants on since I moved into this condo two years ago.  I am a chef at Muffuletta in the Park in St Paul MN.  My co worker and I have saved some heirloom tomato seeds and sprouted over 200 this year.  I gave six seedlings to another Agridude, Sam, for his work garden.  I also have two on my patio, along with hops, basil, thyme, and some lettuces and spinach.  I haven’t grown hops before but I do brew my own beer so I am hoping to get some off of this plant so that I can use it in my beer.  I am trying to start a micro brewing company called Brown Bottle Brewery.  I will be blogging this season to show what I am able to grow.

These pictures are from May 12th.  Paul was in town and we had a perfect early summer day to hang out and catch some rays while having some brews.  We invited some of our friends and Paul’s family over to hang out too.  Here are some pics:

Agridude - Tomatoes and HopsThe two pots closest to you are my tomatoes.  I am growing two heirloom tomatoes that we sprouted from the restaurant.  I can’t remenber what types they are, but I know they will be small cherry like tomatoes

I made the trellis by myself to grow the hops on.  I bought the root from my local home brewing store  and I was told to only let two sprout.  One of them did not make it so next year I’ll try something different.  These are supposed to grow 2 feet per week so I should have some great updated photos for you guys in a few weeks.

Agridude - Lettuce Spinach HerbsHere are some other planters that I planted lettuce, spinach, basil, thyme and two peppers.  I started these from seed as well.  My wife won a small green house at a work event raffle.  I am looking forward to having these at my disposal for cooking at home and work.

 

 

Here is a picture of Paul’s cousin Andy and our other friend Wyman playing bags/cornhole in the side of my yard.

Agridude - Cornhole

Sesame Kale

Sesame Kale

Sesame Kale Recipe

2-4 side servings

10 cups of roughly chopped kale or 2 bunches
1 carrot
4 cloves of garlic
1 small shallot
3 tbsp neutral oil (canola or vegetable blend)
1 tbsp of toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp  apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce/tamari
1 tbsp of sesame seeds
1 tsp of cayenne pepper
1 tsp of black pepper

 

Put 3 tbsp of neutral oil, 1 tbsp of vinegar, and 1 tbsp of soy sauce in a large pan on low heat.

Finely chop 4 cloves of garlic and 1 small shallot and add to the pan.

Add 1 tbsp of sesame seeds

Saute ingredients on low heat for 5 minutes. Do not let the garlic burn.

Then, roughly chop 10 cups of kale, remove the stems, and add to the pan.

Also, speed peel a carrot into ribbons and add to the pan.

Add 1 tbsp of toasted sesame oil, 1 tsp of cayenne pepper, and 1 tsp of black pepper.

Saute until kale starts to wilt. It should brighten up in color, if it turns brown you have overcooked it.

Update on Jason’s MN Garden

Cinder Block Bed


1. I created a raised bed out of some old cinder blocks that I found in my garage.  The bed is 3×6 feet.  I planted some pole beans and constructed a trellis for them.  The beans started to germinate a couple of days ago.  We have had weather in the low 90s the last couple of days, so I have been watering heavy.

2. I have been harvesting snow, sugar snap, and shell peas over the last week.  They make a delicious snack, especially with some homemade ranch dressing.  With the recent heat, I doubt that I will get many more peas.  I also tried an experimental trellis system that was a minor fail. Look for a future post about it, with pictures.

3. My spinach and arugula are done.  I turned their beds and planted edamame to add some nitrogen to the soil.  If the soybean harvest is early, I may turn the beds again and plant arugula and spinach again in the fall. My spring mix is still providing great yields, but it doesn’t like this heat.  I keep the ground well watered in order to keep the soil temp down. This allows me to get 1 or 2 extra cuttings.

4. The cooking greens are looking great and will give me and my friends a steady supply of kale, chard, and collards through October.  Look for a future post with my sesame kale recipe.  I planted several different varieties of cooking greens, because I had a major pest problem with my lacinato kale last year.  Hopefully, that pest is a picky eater and it stays away from the other varieties.

Collards and Kale

5. The curcubits and nightshades are doing better after a rough week for some of them.  I didn’t harden off all of my starts.  Therefore, some of the plants got leaf burn from the intense natural light.  I trimmed the leaves that were burned, so the plants could spend all their energy on new leaf growth.  Overall, I lost one pepper plant, but all of my tomato transplants look healthy enough..  The cucumbers are taking off and I planted two summer squash varieties (Patty Pan and Zucchini) today.

Jason working on the soil and his manly guns
Tomato Start
Transplanting the Tomato
I did it!

 

6. I threw a final layer of dirt on top of my potatoes.  I did this 3 times.  It tricks the potatoes and increases yields.  Basically, I let the leaves break through the soil and then I cover them with more dirt.  This is the first time that I have grown potatoes, so I am interested to see how well this technique works.

Potato Bed Before
Potato Bed After

7. I have hops growing along a fence in my backyard.  If supported they will grow to be 20 to 30 feet tall.  They smell great and can create a natural privacy fence.  Oh, and of course you can brew some bitter ales with them come Fall.  Watch for brewing tips from agridude’s resident brew master, Austin Jevne from Driftless Brewing.

New Food Processor to Help with Chopping Up Food Scraps

Agridude - Food ProcessorI used to chop up my food scraps with a knife on an old cutting board to make it easier for the worms to process the food.  After chopping the food up, I would put the pieces in a 1 gallon freezer bag and freeze it.  This also helps the worms out since freezing it makes the food softer when thawed.  Next to the food processor is my food bin that I keep in the kitchen and throw the food scraps in.  I would wait til it was full, then chop up the food.  Sometimes this could take me up to a half hour depending on how much food and what type of food I had to chop.  I finally got sick of this and decided to look for a cheap food processor on craigslist.  I found this one for 15 bucks and it looks good and works.

Agridude - Food BinThe other problem that I ran into was that the food was taking up way too much room in my freezer.  I had 4 bags full of food scraps and was running out of space to store steaks, chicken, and other meats that I buy in bulk from Costco.  I figured that if I blended the food to a pulp, it would allow me to maximize the bags while also getting the food into a more eatable form for the worms.  I decided to do test out the processor before work this past week. To the right, there is a better picture of the food bin that I keep the scraps in.

 

Agridude - Food Bags Not BlendedTo the left are the bags of food when I was just cutting them up by hand. You can see the worm bin and today I will be adding a second processing tray for the worms.  I decided to do the food processing outside since I thought it was going to get messy and nasty.  I haven’t used a food processor before so I had no clue what was about to happen.  It was pretty easy to do.  Just load up the food, put the lid on, and let er rip.  For some of the food, I had to add a little water to get it to a nice pulp, but other foods still had some moisture and didn’t need any extra liquid.

Agridude - Me Processing

Here is my attempt at taking a picture of myself processing the food.  No showers necessary for this type of work.  I am going to be leaving the food processor outside.  It wasn’t too messy of a process, but the food scraps are pretty gross after a few thaws and refreezing. Below is a picture of the final product.  The food processor made 4 bags of food fit into 2.  It’s nice to have more room in the freezer now.

Agridude - Processed Food Bags