Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bath Tub Worm Farm.

Had an old cast iron bathtub laying around from a while ago. A mate of mine didn't want it so I said I would have it to turn into a worm farm. That was 2 yrs ago. Finally, got around to setting it up as a worm farm. Damn heavy thing it is but eventually got it to where I wanted it and have used 4 pine logs to rest it on, which came from the neighbours tree over a year ago. The old worm farms have been kept, but the entire contents bar a shovel load, have been put into the bathtub along with chicken house straw and a bag of horse poo from down the road. The straw and horse poo got a big soaking first and then dumped into the tub. The straw will help airate the farm and the horse poo will ensure the worms keep on keeping on! I have also put in a devider so after about 1-2mths, I will start putting scraps into the other half of the tub and the worms will hopefully migrate to that side and I can then harvest the castings! The old worm farms will still be used but will need to build the colonies back up. Also, the worm juice from the bath tub is collected in a bucket. I think I will need a much bigger bucket, but it will do for now so long as I empty every few days or so. The plants will be loving it this year! Plenty of worm juice and soon, plenty of castings!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Companion Planting And Update

I have planted some marigolds and alyssum flowers amoungst my new strawberry bed. They apparently attract ladybettles and hover flies which will devour the aphids. Last year I had an aphid problem late in the season and surfice to say I did not get a 3rd crop out of the strawberries. This year, in with new crowns in a different bed and hopefully the flowering plants do their job.
I did notice a few aphids on the straberries, but the organic squish method has taken care of them and will be until the flowers start to do their thing.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Cooking outside

Pulled out three rainbows today, one for lunch and 2 to swap for some produce. Cooked mine up outside seasoned with salt and AP thyme. While frying away, I made an impromptu salad with lettuce, cress, sugar snap peas and sugar snap ends and tendrils all from the AP system. Very yum indeed.

Battery went flat but managed to get a photo of one of the fish. This guy was the medium sized of the three.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


The very first of my hops have sprouted! The fuggles have shot through the gravel and hopefully the chinook won't be too far away. I planted the other hops plants out in the dirt garden and they should push through in the next week or two. Very exciting I must say! It will be interesting to see which of the hops does the best, AP or dirt garden. Good experiment I say as they were all planted within a few days of each other. Not perfectly scientific, but hey who cares, it gives me enough of an idea as to which will grow better.

My money is on the AP system!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Solar Panels

It's been a little over a year now (13mths) since our panels were installed. They have been a great addition to our house, producing power when ever there is daylight. To date we have produced 1720Kwh, which over the 13mths equates to about 4.3Kwh/day. This is just under half of our daily use (which last year was an average of 10.5Kwh). When money comes rolling in the door (not holding my breath on this one) we will extend our system to 2kw from it's current 1kw. This should bring us to almost using what we produce only. I think if we tweaked our usage further then we could start to feed back to the grid permanently!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

New potting bench

New potting bench made from recycled materials. The frame is an old growbed stand and the top is cut up redgum planks.

Also included update photos of wicking beds and strawberry bed.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Home grown and home made!

Had a beautiful breakfast of homemade yogurt this morning and to tide me over to lunch, I had a homegrown and homemade brunch! Did a lucky dip into the tank and pulled out a 30cm trout weighing in at 333grams. Beautiful fish trout, to look at but also to eat! The trout was caught, killed and cleaned in less than 5 minutes, reducing the stress on the fish, improving flavour but more importantly being as humane as possible. I know how the fish are treated (with TLC as I love my babies) I know what they eat and I know how they are killed. From the net to being killed, less than 20 seconds. I was asked this week by some students if it was sad when I killed my fish and I will definately say yes. But at least I know they lived a happy life.

For brunch it was an AP salad, homemade real sourdough bread and a lovely pan fried trout!

Planting time!

With all this rain we are getting and the drought finally looking like it will really break, there is no better time than to get into the garden! The apricot tree is in bloom, the peach tree is ready to burst, the berries are flowering and budding and you can see things grow! The first of my potatoes are pushing through the dirt. Got a few different methods going this year. I am doing the traditional dirt and mound system, Peter Cundle no-dig and then have adapted this to one of our new wicking beds, so a Peter Cundle no-dig wicking bed full of seed potatoes. It will be very interesting to see how they all go and which one gets the greatest yield. I have my money on the wicking bed.

Planted out some seedling today from seed I raised in a make-shift greenhouse. Simply a clear 60lt tub from bunnings with punnets of tomato seeds inside. Worked really well, but did get a bit too moist in their. Also got capsicum, egg plant, watermelon, cucumber and basil going. Have done another batch of seeds so should get a coninual harvest right into autumn and winter next year.

Need to get some corn seeds and get them started too. We have brocoli coming out of our ears at the moment so will probably harvest the bigger ones to make some growbed space and blanch and deep freeze them. Brocoli get crazy infested with aphids so really need to get them harvested before the warm weather hits. Got 2mths I guess.

No action in the wood oven. Bill after bill after bill coming in so need to take care of them first then the oven. Oh well.....

Silvers are feeding even though it is 10-12 deg in the tanks. I am giving them a sprinkling of feed, maybe 2 tbl spoons and they finish it off without a problem once a day. I also chuck in worms, grubs, snails and slugs and man they chase them down and fight over them! I'm guessing that these guys will start kicking into serious feeding in the next 3-4 weeks so should be fun to watch.

If the weather is good, will do some more gardening tomorrow (will probably do it even if the weather is crap!) and try to get some more seeds planted. Need to get some more apple crates!

Friday, September 3, 2010


Got a pizza stone and stainless steel peel today for fathers day (a day early but hey) also got some cow poo and seedlings. Going to make some pizza tonight for dinner! Yummo!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Aquaponics At School!

Just been given the OK to set-up a mini aquaponics system up at work. Will be a small aquarium job first to show the basic concept in action and then hopefully a bigger system! Can't wait to get it started! Was thinking of getting an old fish tank laying around at home and then some clear tubs from Bunnings. The idea is to setup a flood and drain using the affnan siphon and grow waterever in the grow bed. I may do a mixture of lettuces. Anyway, exciting stuff, the AP word is getting out their and the students will be learning about the nitrogen cycle!