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  • #61
    Last night, it rained...properly...for the first time in months. It was heavy and sustained enough to replenish our twin 5000 litre rainwater tanks...and it watered everything...just after we'd applied organic fertiliser pellets to our gardens. What's more, it rained after I'd installed the drain in my pond.

    Happy days!

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    • #62
      I have a handful of bottle gourds growing from the trellis in our kitchen wicking beds. Yesterday, we harvested some bamboo canes...and the associated trash that will be converted to mulch and deep litter bedding for our chickens.

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      The gourd vines, which we planted far too late in the season, are climbing on trellises that make up part of our passive climate management system. The plants (which also include a wisteria and a Boston creeper) shade the front of the house...and give it a touch of Tuscany. The shade effect will be even more marked with another year's growth.

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      • #63
        We've had good rains during the past 18 hours. Our rainwater tanks are full and everything is soaked. It would be even better if we got the rain in incremental lots...but today I'm just delighted that it came.

        Our hydroponic gravel system is still plodding along quietly. I'm still using bottled nutrients and a pH check is overdue. The Kangkong clearly likes that environment. Given the parlous state of the seedlings when I planted them...coupled with the transplant shock and the other occasional lapses on my part...I'm happy with its progress.

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        • #64
          The weather's still unseasonally hot, the chooks are still laying about half the eggs they should be and the soil-based gardens are producing nothing of note...except gourds and herbs.

          The plants in the gravel-based system are unspectacular...with the exception of the Kangkong which is going like a train. I haven't grown this plant for a long time but, this time out, I'm reminded of how fast it grows. It's a very mild-tasting vegetable and the chickens love it. I'm keen to try stir-frying it with garlic. One of the issues with the shallow grow beds is the amount of water that it's using. I'm adding at least 10 litres a day...which seems excessive.

          I've assembled the NFT system and I just need some hydro nutrients - and seedlings - to get it started up.

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          • #65
            The past couple of days has seen another tropical cyclone in Northern Australia dump a heap of rain in our area...and it's cooled things off nicely.

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            • #66
              I purchased another four laying chickens...just as the existing ones seem to be coming back into useful production. There's been a bit of banging and crashing as the birds re-sort the pecking order to accommodate the new ones.


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              The rain has continued over the past few days. All of our tanks are full - and the gardens are soaked. One of the unintended (but welcome nonetheless) outcomes has been an increase in the number of gourds that we're growing.

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              I've completed several practical projects...including an organic hydro biofilter/brewer...and a 72-hole NFT system.

              I'm looking forward to undertaking more practical work on the micro-farm...just as soon as the rains abate.

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              • #67
                For the past five weeks, I've been engaged in several writing/publishing tasks that were well overdue. I created a Waste Transformation Farming section within www.garydonaldson.net. The next task was the relocation and an overhaul of the iAVs site. It's also now located within www.garydonaldson.net. The most recent task was a complete reconstruction of my image collection. A series of misadventures had seen it grow to 76,000 photos...the overwhelming majority of which were duplicate images. I cut that back to a more manageable 6500+ images and manually attached keywords to every one of them. While there's more work to be done, the collection is now much more useable.

                Recent weather has been mild with useful rainfall...and much better suited to micro-farming. Egg production has also improved.

                The performance of the gravel grow beds has, to this point, not justified the cost of the expensive bottled nutrient that I used. That has run out...so today I started to feed them 'pee tea' - fresh urine.

                A couple of weeks ago, I harvested some pak choi and some nice kangkong. I then sprinkled some seeds on the bed...and I now have hundreds of pak choi seedlings waiting to be pricked out into another growing medium. I've also set up a small ebb and flow seedling propagation system...and that seems to be working well, too. At day's end, I filled eight punnets of pak choi seedlings (harvested from the gravel bed) for use in the NFT system.

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                Alongside of the gravel beds, I have two similar tanks set up to grow duckweed. For the past week or so, I've been harvesting small quantities of duckweed each day. These tanks are not being recirculated and receive daily doses of 'pee tea.' I have a shadecloth cover over them...largely to keep the windborne tree debris out...but it should be replaced by a cover made from greenhouse fabric now that we're moving toward winter.

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                Eventually, I'd like to demonstrate a full waste transformation cycle based on nothing but urine...starting with duckweed and extending into BSF, worms, chickens and plants.
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                • #68
                  I want to make "Havemore Farm Happenings more interesting to read. That often requires the use of lots of photos and diagrams and, by my experience, this forum platform is limited in the ways that I can present information...at least in terms that understand. www.garydonaldson.net is a much more versatile environment...with many ways to display media-rich material...so I'm going to create the "Happenings" over there and link them back to here...if that makes sense. Anyway, you'll see how it works soon enough.

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                  • #69
                    Havemore Happenings - 19th May 2019 is now available on www.garydonaldson.net.

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                    • #70
                      Havemore Happenings - 26th May 2019 is now available on www.garydonaldson.net.

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                      • #71
                        Havemore Happenings - 2nd June 2019...is now available at www.garydonaldson.net/home.

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                        • #72
                          Gary, I am very excited about your DWC vs iAVS experiment. It is about time.

                          I had a look at your schematics. Why are you splitting the flow after the pump?

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                          • #73
                            All of my AP system designs feature the ability to isolate fish production from the plant side.

                            Isolating the production units from each other means that, in the event that either of your fish or plants contracts a disease or infestation, you can treat one without harming the other.

                            The use of relatively benign organic pesticides on plants can still kill fish (much less anything in the way of chemical herbicides or pesticides) and, while (for example) salt is used in the treatment of several fish ailments, many plants won’t like it. Physical separation of the system resolves this issue.

                            It's a small thing but, in the rare event that you need it, being able to isolate the systems is very useful.

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