Monthly Archives: June 2012

Vermicompost at Squiggle University and the Great Snail Wars of 2012

The first time we met the garden it was more than wild.  It remained wild until a profound thing was said to me, to be a great gardener feed your dirt.  Feed it and turn it into rich soil.  The problem with composting for many is that to generate adequate heat to transform food waste into rich organic matter more space is required than most people have.  Enter Vermicompost, which I’ve touched on very briefly before.  Vermicomposting requires very little space, is tidy enough to be done indoors if space is truly limited.

Vermicomposting is also very fast, 10 weeks, compared to regular Composting which can take 6 months or more.  Vermicomposting requires no turning, only that food be buried under soil (this keeps unwanted guests such as flies from visiting) and the worms will do the rest.  Regular composting also requires watering to the consistency of  a wrung out sponge, again not necessary for Vermicompost where the worms create their own moisture.  Make sure you situate your worms under some shade so they don’t dry out.

Red Bread and our own Test Kitchen keep our worms happy with regular food scrap feedings.  We’ve become quite fond of them and refer to their little corner of the garden as Squiggle University.  We even have a fight song. Continue reading

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Introducing….Another JAM Giveaway

This past weekend at the Meet the name of the game was Jam Tasting!  We had all our flavors on parade and people were more than happy to get a little sticky.  In addition to our Lemonilla Marmalade and Strawsilberry Jam that were a hit at the May Meet, we debuted three new jams!  After being wiped out of our stock at the Meet, we spent this week whipping up more small batch jams using fresh produce from our favorite farmers at the Santa Monica Farmers Market just for you!

As usual, with the debut of new jams we have a JAM GIVEAWAY.  Leave a comment about a memory involving jam and vote for one of the two new flavors below.  Sunday we will draw a winner!  Happy winning!

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A Wild Harvest or Cream Flower Soda

A few months ago I caught an article about the West’s DIY Food Crafters.  Among them was a soda maker named Emily Ho who made sodas out of wild and fresh ingredients. As a likeminded soda hater but carbonation lover I had an instant hero. Life only got better when it turned out we were in the same Master Food Preserver Class (Graduates Tonight!), and just as I suspected she is awesome.  Like all great friends, she has introduced me to a new vice: Elderflower Syrup.  I have been hooked since she brought it in to share one night. I am fairly certain I was responsible for drinking half the bottle, which amounts to 5-6 glasses of a floral fizzy dream.

Unfortunately I don’t have Elderflowers in my neighborhood.  But I had something that very much looked like Elderflowers growing rampant in my neighborhood.  I asked gardening and foraging peers and no one could quiet decide.  But the honey bees seemed to love it, the scent was divine and I am a brave sort. How else will you discover things? I also had a good lead that even with toxic stems, leaves or roots, blossoms are rarely toxic hence the bee love.  In the end all I know is this little bud combined with sparkling water is the best cream soda I have ever had.  And it keeps delighting all those I bring it too.

If you decide to be similarly bold,  I encourage you to ‘gather ye flower buds while ye may’ I have already begun to see these tiny white flowers begin to wilt. Take this opportunity to have a wild harvest by following some simple guidelines:

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