Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Feeding Chickens Black Soldier fly Larvae & a new feeder..

Have been looking at ways to boost the nutrition of the chooks at late & have come up with a few ideas like the Black soldier larvae farms... As you can see from the clip below they are a hit with the girls..

Another way is by increasing their greens intake.. At the moment they are getting grass clippings, grass from the neighbours yard & leafy greens from the patch.. Think its time they grow their own
; )»
Living Green Chicken feeder..

Have been wanting to make one of these feeders up since a friend told me about them..
The concept is fairly basic, plant some chook fodder seeds under a chook proof cage so the greens can grow through for the chooks to feed on them without scratching them up..

So far I have made up the cage & installed it into the chook pen..
It is hinged so the mesh can be lifted easily & the soil worked or left to the chooks to scratch out between crops..

A hanging pot hook will be used to keep it from turning it into a chook trap : )»
I have some wheat grain soaking over night so it can be sown out in the morning... Just thought it might give the seed a bit of a head start germinating..
A clip will be made once we have a bit of growth & the chooks are feeding from it..

For more regular updates about the patch come visit us at https://www.facebook.com/Bitsouttheback
Have a great one All...
: )»

Monday, January 21, 2013

Hot stuff from the patch.. Sambal oelek & Chilli Paste..

We have been very lucky so far this year in that we have had no **crosses every digit * fruit fly strike any of the chillies in the patch.. The bell chillies near the house were my big concern as they have no protection unlike the the large chilli in the hoop house.. 
A few weeks ago I decided to use up the collected chillies in a chilli paste so went searching on the interwebs for some inspiration.. An online friend (Tar Joy) pointed me in the direction of one she had tried & liked.. It looked promising but we were missing a few ingredients so I decided to make up my own using the recipe as a rough guide..
Below is what we came up with & am quite chuffed to say that the sugar & vinegar are the only ingredients we didn't grow ourselves :)»

Sambal Oelek...
  • 500g/1 lb chillies, chopped
  • 300g/10½oz galangal, peeled & chopped (some ginger would be nice as well as or instead of the galangal)
  • 300g/10½oz garlic, peeled
  • 4 stalks of lemongrass, chopped
  • 2tbsp of grated lime skin (we use our kaffir fruit)
  • small hand full of Kaffir lime leaves
  • 350ml/1.5cup coconut vinegar
  • 200g/7oz rapadura sugar

Add all ingredients, except for the sugar & vinegar, to the food processor & chop on high for about 30 seconds.
Slowly pour the vinegar in while the processor is on high until a smooth paste has formed.
Move the paste to a saucepan & bring to the boil.
Slowly add the sugar & stirred through until dissolved.
Reduced the heat & let simmer on low for 5 minutes. Adding a lid at this stage will aid in the clean up later as I found out ;)»

 This batch filled 3 sterilised 500ml jars..  2 of these were added to a hot water bath for 10 or so minutes so they could be stored for later use with one being gifted to some friends..
We have been very pleased with the fresh citrus flavour off this paste.. We have used it to spice up some leftover roast pork & also to make an AWESOME coconut prawn curry.. Can't wait to experiment with the next batch we make up..
Nice & easy Chilli paste..
A simple no frills recipe to make up this basic yet versatile paste..
Thanks to Granny Mel for a few pointers on the paste..
250g/½lb Chillies, chopped in ½
125ml/½ cup Vodka
15g/½oz salt
2Tbsp water

Process chillies on high for 30 seconds or until finely chopped.
Add to saucepan with water & salt then bring to the boil.
Reduce to a high simmer for 4-5 minutes.
Turn hotplate off & allow past to cool for 5 minutes.
Stir Vodka through paste then add to sterilised jar & seal.
I would recommend storing it in the fridge.

This is such a basic recipe that only takes 15 minutes to whip up & can be used in so many different styles of cooking..

Shall post the other chilli paste recipes later if I think they are tasty enough..

For more regular updates about the patch come visit us at https://www.facebook.com/Bitsouttheback
Have a great one All...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Making wood mulch for Winter crops & look at last seasons mulch

Making up some great wood based mulch from weed trees & mango prunings.. The flora & fauna that live in the soil thrive on this stuff & we are seeing lots of humus production as a result :)
We are lucky that we have a few weed trees around & some generous neighbours so can make our own to save a few dollars.. The only cost to us was the power to run the mulcher & $5 for some horse manure..

The next mulch we make up will hopefully be made using  some pigeon pea & other trees we are growing just for this purpose.. We have purchased Neem & Moringa tree to use in the mulch (as well as fro other purposes) so hope that they will bring their own qualities to future batches a year or so down the track methinks.. :)»

We also have a few other clips on Back to Eden/Wood mulching ..
Back to Eden inspired composted tree mulch trial...
Back to Eden compost update & easy DIY worm barrel..

For more regular updates about the patch come visit us at https://www.facebook.com/Bitsouttheback
Have a great one All...

Friday, January 18, 2013

How we grow Kang Kong/Chinese water spinach.. (Ipomoea aquatica)

Kang kong is a short vining, water loving plant that is used in many different Asian cuisines.. It is related to sweet potato & Morning glory with flowers very similar to both.. Mainly grown in boggy areas & have become a pest weed in some water systems where it has been introduced..Should be very easy to grow this plant in the heat we get here & can't wait to get our first large harvest..

 We are growing it as a leafy green to be included in salads & our fruit 'n' veg "Smoothies" as well as for stir fries & Asian curries..

For more regular updates about the patch come visit us at https://www.facebook.com/Bitsouttheback
Have a great one all...


Monday, January 14, 2013

Veggie garden walk through, worm barrels & saving a few Okra seeds 12th ...

Has been a tad warm here over the past week but nowhere near as bad as some of the southern states.. The garden worms chooks & fish have pulled through just fine with only one casualty (daughters pennyroyal) so happy about that..

Now the weather has cooled off a bit I will be planting out some seedlings & tackling some odd jobs to get the patch ready for Autumn.. Will be pruning the rest of the Chinese elm & some of the mango them running it through the mulcher... This will be mixed with some horse manure & left to compost a bit.. It will eventually become Autumns top up mulch for the beds...
For more regular updates about the patch come visit us at https://www.facebook.com/Bitsouttheback

Have a great one All...

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Aquaponic IBC system update, Cooling down the fish.. 191th January 2013..

With the high temperatures we have been having the water in the fish tank has been slowly rising to the 30°C/86°F mark... This is outside the comfort range of the Jade perch & I was getting worried about the amount of dissolved oxygen they had available so needed a quick fix.. Found a very easy fix by doing next to nothing at all..

Might contemplate adding some frozen bottles of water into the tank to try & help reduce the water temperature tomorrow..

Have a good one all...
: )»

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Cheap chicken feeder, how to build a bulk chicken feeder..

Had a friend come around & we built a chook feeder each of varying sizes.. It was a really easy build only requiring the drum & the flanged elbow.. The only tools needed were a marking pen, ruler, hacksaw, & a 95mm hole saw but other methods could be used to cut out the hole.. The build itself took all of 10 minutes to make, it was that easy & cost about $20AU/US..

Will make the job of feeding the Chooks so much easier as the drum will easily take a whole 25kg/55lb bag.. Next on the jobbie list will be a black solider fly farm that will live in the chook pen..
A big thanks to Hamish121212 for posting his clip on the feeder..
I would also like to thank Adie for springing for the elbow.. Adie has a blog on her families progress in an urban environment for the Owner Builder Network site where you can see the MKI chook feeder she made before up scaling..

For more regular updates about the patch come visit on our Bits out the Back Face Book page
Have a great one all...


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Black Solider fly larvae farm.. (Hermetia illucens)

It took a while but I finally finished off the BSFL barrel to where I am happy with it.. Have already taken a few larvae out to feed the fish & chooks.. The perch are not real keen on them but will eat them if left in the tank over night.. Might have to look at another way to make them appetising for the fish.. The chooks have no problems gobbling them up as is though :D»

Hopefully with the flies eating meat scraps it will add even more nutrients within our system..
For more regular updates about the patch come visit us on our Face Book page..
Have a great one All...


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Black soldier fly larvae (Hermetia illucens) as aquaponic feed..

Have converted the old barrel worm farm into a black soldier fly farm over the past month or so & found our first batch of harvested larvae yesterday morning.. Was a bit concerned when the fish didn't gobble them up straight away but really didn't need to worry.. Think they just needed to acquire a taste for them..
The farm isn't going quite as planned at the moment & will post a clip once some adjustments have been made....

Have a great one all..