Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Finishing off the front veggie patch & home made compost..

& now there are 6...
As mentioned in the last blog I have been rather busy over the past few weeks trying to get the front garden beds up & running.. Added another 2 beds over the weekend just past to bring the total number of beds up to 6..

The last 2 beds will be made up in a few weeks time after we pick up a couple of ½ tanks that have been offered to us (Thank you sir).. Once they are all in Bianca & I will decide on what sort of cladding will be added to them to finish them off..
I have decided to keep using the wicking beds in the front yard after seeing how invasive the onion weed has been in the hay bale & lasagne style beds.. Not sure we will use IBC or tin style beds in the lawn as of yet & still have some tin put aside if we want to go down that road.. The compact dimensions of the IBCs would suit the slope of the land better but the tin beds wouldn't need to be clad so it will be something we think about later..

Wicking IBC beds...
Have been using the IBCs as wicking beds for a while now & have come up with a few modifications on the way they are being put together so they can store water in the reservoir..

Will be interesting to see how they go over summer once it kicks off.. I have a feeling that the corn in particular will be very appreciative of having the extra water available to it..

Harvesting the compost...
We have had 2 "slow cooking" piles of compost going in the patch now for close to 8 months.. As I ran out of horse manure on the weekend I decided to raid these piles to help add some organic matter to the new beds.. One pile was actually supposed to be a "Back to Eden" style wood mulch that just "cooked" a tad too much..

Must say that was very pleased with the way both batches had broken down & have already used over ½ of the composted timber pile.. There is a fair amount of the clipping compost left & think that most of that will be used in the last 2 IBC beds planed for the front yard..

Super fast manure mulching...
As you may have guessed by now I love using horse manure in the gardens & as an edible bedding for the compost worms.. The manure we normally get has been sitting in a pile for a few weeks before it is bagged up so is semi composted & normally very moist.. My local supplier was out of his finest pony poop when I stopped in on Saturday but I was lucky enough to get a few bags the next day from local farm gate.. Some of these pellets had been "sun baking" for a bit becoming rather hard to push through the screen so the big guns were brought out to process it : )»

Have tried the lawn mower method before with the moist manure but it just didn't want to cooperate by clumping up & stalling the mower.. Am thinking that I might be sun drying the moist manure for a few days in the future then running over it with the mower.. Will also save the gloves from extra wear & tear methinks...
Looking at playing around with a chook feeder this week so shall do a quick post on that once it's built..
There is also our Bits Out the Back Facebook page that we post mini updates on the worms, fish & veggie patch if you feel like a visit..
Have a great one all..
: )»

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Catch up Time.. Aquaponics, Chooks & a wander through the veggie patch..

Has been a while since I ventured over here to blog land so thought I would do a bit of a catch up post..Think we shall start with he Fish..

I did a "What is Aquaponics" style clip a few weeks ago to help a friend explain aquaponics to her family members.. Not a real in depth one but it will gives a rough idea on how the system works including the relationship between the fish, bacteria & plants.. It also shows a bit of the growth in the system if your interested on how it's looking at the moment..

Not much has happened with the aquaponics of late which is a good thing on one hand but frustrating on the other... The fish are all well & happy (so they tell me) with the growth in the beds travelling along fine.. The celery is still being picked every couple of days & the strawberries have been fruiting well..
Harvested our first aquaponic pepino last weekend which was great.. There are a load on there with a few easily 50% larger than the fruit above :D
Really hoping to get the grow beds sorted out into their new positions by the start of spring.. First a wicking bed needs to be pulled down & the ground levelled to make room for them.. The new configuration should free up some space to try out a few new ways to grow plants with the system..

Hanging with the Chooks...
The chooks are at the top of their game at the moment.. Greedy decided to moult at the start of winter, which was a bit of a concern to us, but grew back back a fine set of feathers just in time for the few cool nights we have had this winter.. Have started to make up 2-3 lots of sprouted wheat a week for the girls.. I think they now recognise the sprouting jar as there is much flapping & excitement when we go wandering down to the pen with it.. Have also had a go at growing them some wheat sprouts as a fodder crop in the aquaponics but have shelved that idea for a little while :)

Hope to make a start on the modified feeder & shall do a bit of a report on that once it is done for those interested..

Wandering the patch...
Have got stuck into a few jobs around the place of late getting the patch ready for the warm season crops.. There are some tomato, eggplant & capsicum seedlings that have just started to germinate which is a great sight to see..
Some water chestnuts have also made it into some small 100mm pots to give them a bit of a head start before going into the sedge bathtub bed that will be set up near the aquaponics..

 The yacon are starting to throw up shoots  & I think we will have more than enough for our purposes this year.. Have quite a few earmarked for other people & have already given a fair few away.. 

Made a decent start in setting up the new front yard garden beds as well.. There are now 4 IBC wicking beds along the front retaining wall with another 4 going in over the coming weeks.. The first 2 beds have the asparagus in them with some heirloom corn planed for at least one of the other beds..  Hope to do a post on them by themselves once they are in & growing :)

Garden walk around clips..
Have a couple of clips on what's happening in the patch at the moment... The first is of the front yard last week before the new beds went in..

The pigeon pea still haven't been harvested but when they have I shall post about our attempt at making humus with them...Should be interesting methinks..

The second clip is of the backyard patch with a bit of a quick look at the 2 new pineapple flowers that have just started to form :)

Hope to make a proper start to the insect house extension soon as well (looks at list of jobbies).. After last seasons success with keeping the fruit fly out I think we might finally get a chance at growing some decent tomatoes & capsicums :) 

Well that brings us roughly up to date... Shall post some project updates over the next few days to bring the blog up to speed all proper like ;)
Hope all are well & happy out there & have been having fun in the garden..