This is where the black gold is made!
An effective composting system is essential to any food forest project.
I have two wooden 1m³ enclosures for non-edible yard waste (which doesn’t attract rats). One is always empty so the contents can be turned over.
For edible waste (or waste that is attractive to pests), I have three seal-able plastic barrels that have worm towers in the middle, which can be rotated. The bottom door opens for easy harvesting once the compost is finished (after just over a year). I got my composters for free because my father-in-law works at the dump (yeah, I know I’ve got mad connections), but free-standing, hygenic composters can be purchased in a variety of forms at a variety of price ranges (USA / Canada / UK & Europe).
The spear-like tools by the wooden enclosure are essential to maintaining an aerobic environment: their arrow-like shape allows for them to be easily plunged into the middle of the composting heap, and on the way up they create a passageway for oxygen. Composting can be dangerous when an anaerobic environment results, because certain pathogens (bacteria, worms and parasites that cause various diseases) thrive in air-free environs.
Human pathogens can be killed if the volume of compost is 1m³ and up, because the temperature of the compost is well above the temperature of a human body for an extended period of time. With a large enough volume of aerobic compost, it is even safe to compost human waste (or “humanure”).
Complete pathogen destruction is guaranteed by arriving at a temperature of 62 °C (144 °F) for one hour, 50 °C (122 °F) for one day, 46 °C (115 °F) for one week or 43 °C (109 °F) for one month. [x]
Today I made a hearty stew of onions, tomatoes (mostly fallen green ones), scarlet runner beans, and various chili peppers, using the same basic method I use to make pasta sauce. I used cumin, and black cumin for seasoning.
Instead of simmering the ingredients together, however, I baked them in two Red Kuri squashes! After 1.5 hours in the oven (at 175˚C), the baked interior of the gourd can be easily scooped out with the stew; the combination of the capsicum oil of the peppers, and the sweet, mild flesh of the squash is wonderful.
This is by far the easiest and most delicious way I have found to prepare and eat hard-shelled winter squash.
What is your favourite way to prepare winter squash?
Learn how to grow these heirloom pepper varieties and even make your own pepper wine.
September 10, 2013
By William Woys Weaver
Heirloom Vegetable Gardening by William Woys Weaver is the culmination of some thirty years of first-hand knowledge of growing, tasting and cooking with heirloom vegetables. A staunch supporter of organic gardening techniques, Will Weaver has grown every one of the featured 280 varieties of vegetables, and he walks the novice gardener through the basics of planting, growing and seed saving. Sprinkled throughout the gardening advice are old-fashioned recipes — such as Parsnip Cake, Artichoke Pie and Pepper Wine — that highlight the flavor of these vegetables. The following excerpt on heirloom pepper varieties was taken from chapter 28, “Peppers.”