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I've got worms!

And I couldn’t be happier. And no, it’s not that sort of worm — I’m talking about my worm farm, which I set up a few weeks ago.

I had a compost bin and a worm farm at my old house, but for various reasons I wasn’t able to bring them with me when I moved. My new garden is much smaller, and mostly native plants, which don’t need much fertilizer, and in fact some of the plants thrive on poor soil. But my vegie boxes do need their soil enriched.

I was also feeling rather wasteful, throwing vegetable peelings and other compostables in the rubbish bin, so I bit the bullet and ordered a worm box on line, along with a supply of compost worms. Different worms do different jobs, and these worms live just beneath the surface and process vegie scraps, waste paper and other organic material into . . . well, worm poo, and worm wee. Both of which plants just love.


I set it up just outside the laundry door. I collect my scraps in a small bucket (with a lid) that sits on the kitchen bench and every day or two I take it out to the worm farm and pop them in. I chop everything up small to make it easier for the worms to process. You can see from the photo the kind of thing I mean. 

Eggshells, which they can’t process in big chunks — they have tiny mouths and no teeth — I let dry first and then grind to a sand-like texture in my stone mortar and pestle, which my parents brought back from their time in Penang. It takes barely a minute and it provides the worms with the grit they need for health. And it’s good for the soil, when it gets there.

I’m already collecting worm wee — they like to be kept damp, and the excess liquid trickles down and is collected, and from time to time I turn on the little tap at the base and collect it in a bottle, which I then dilute to the color of weak tea before I feed the plants with it.

Funny story. Another friend of mine has a worm farm, and one evening at dinner with friends I was mentioning how much I missed my old worm farm and compost bin, and a friend said, “I could give you some worm juice if you like.” (Yes, quite the high-brow dinner party discussions we have. <g>)

Our host, who had been in the kitchen and missed the context, had just put the next delicious course on the table. He looked at her in horror. “Worm juice?” he said, appalled. “What on earth do you do with that?” Clearly thinking this was some kind of frightful heath fad and that we would drink it. We laughed and explained.

I’m very happy to have a worm farm again. There’s no bad smell, and it’s using up my organic waste and turning it into something productive for my garden and my pot-plants. It’s a win win situation.

The last leaves of Autumn


Autumn leaves are pretty special here — our native vegetation is often very beautiful, but the plants that have leaves that turn gold or orange or scarlet are almost invariably exotics, imported from the northern hemisphere. So when I spot some spectacular autumn display it’s a treat.

I spotted this in a neighbor’s front yard coming home the other afternoon. The sun was shining through the last few autumn leaves of this tree and they were lit up gorgeously, as you can see.

I drove on past, then stopped, backed up, and got out to take a few photos.

Two days later and we had rain and storms, and last time I passed it, there was just one golden leaf, hanging valiantly on. I didn’t stop to take a photo as the rain was pelting down and I was a wimp. <g>

I really miss the glorious Virginia Creeper in my old garden — one whole fence was covered in glory every autumn — but not only have I moved, the entire  back yard has been bulldozed down to mud, and the creeper, and all my other lovely plants have been replaced by bricks. All that remains of that garden are my photos. 



I adore figs. In my old house I had a huge fig tree that flourished — but the figs were inedible — small, hard and dry inside. I tried everything to make it fruit but they were always the same. And when I decided to kill it,  hiring tree loppers several times, it still grew back.

My new garden also had a large fig tree, and I was assured it grew edible figs. So I’ve been waiting, and watching the tiny figlets grow with great anticipation, and fretting that the possum or the birds would get to them before I did. My neighbor told me the figs were really delicious, which only added to my anticipation. But the trouble was, there weren’t many. 

My first taste was of one I found on the grass, with a bird peck into it. So eager was I to try the figs that I cut off the bird-pecked bit and ate it. It was delicious — a rich dark red inside and almost like jam. Seriously, it was the best fig I’ve ever tasted. 

I just picked two more — that’s a total so far of two and a half figs this season — not exactly the bumper crop I was hoping for. There are several more left on the tree, but they’re small and still hard and we’re into autumn now, so I doubt they’ll ripen. But today I found two that were ripe and ready to pick. The outside is green as you can see, so you have to guess ripeness by how soft it is. These two were perfect. There they are in the photo. Aren’t they a gorgeous color? And they taste delicious.

So I’m now looking up ways to make a fig tree fruit more prolifically. I gather a good pruning might help — seems they only fruit on new branches. So once winter hits, I’ll get out my trusty pruning saw and get cracking.

Are you fond of figs? They seem to be a fruit people either love or hate.