What’s next in 2021?

It’s an odd feeling, the one you get when you realise that most of your plans are complete. They never really are, but sometimes, the mind settles for what’s already been achieved.

For the rest of 2021, we have only a few goals and in my usual way, they’re all interconnected and mostly to do with water security.

Another tank will go here.

We’re going to squeeze another 1000 litre rain tank into the garden. That’ll be a big boost to our water supply.

When we install it, I’ll be moving the other two tanks slightly and building our mushroom house in between them. Being out of the direct Sun and with 1000 kg of water on each side, serving as thermal mass, this will be a perfect location to keep a constant temperature.

Also related to the rain tank will be the installation of a rain head to clean the water as it runs off of the roof. A longer pipe for the first flush diverter and a tap added to the end will enable us to store water in it and access that water when we need it. It’s not a lot, only 15 litres or so, but it could make a lot of difference.

Talking of pipes, I’ll be redoing the down pipes and stormwater pipes in a way that makes more sense and allows us to store more water. I’ve been watching a fella named Brad Lancaster on YouTube and saw a different way of plumbing the pipes. I was so impressed that I even ordered volume 1 of his books. I estimate another 45 litres of storage in these pipes.

With this system, we’ll be able to feed the two tanks at the side of the driveway from the same downpipe as the poly tanks are fed from. At the moment, they’re only fed by pump from the tanks in the back yard.

Doing this means that we can keep them full, naturally, rather than having to remember to pump water to the before a rain storm to empty the rear tanks in order to catch more rain.

The stormwater from the overflow from tanks will be redirected to our upcoming engineering feat – building a reverse French Drain in the front yard. A French drain is usually used to remove excess water from an area of soil prone to flooding or water logging. It’s essentially a well draining gravel trench that has a slotted pipe in it to pick up and move the water away from the area. We’ll be doing the opposite and directing some of our stormwater into one that we’ll be converting the main pathway too.

A reverse French drain

Greywater treatment is a big interest for me and I’ll be experimenting with ways to improve our little system. Maybe even a reed bed to grow Jelina’s weaving rushes while it cleans our greywater. Hmmmm…

One of our big plans for last year was to get a full on solar system built on our roof. We found one and a good mob to install it but the money fell through. If our cash flow comes good again this year, we’ll jump on board. Our goal is to have a battery but also stay on grid, contributing to the stability of the grid in our little way.

On the subject of the Sun, I want to really focus (pun fully intended) on getting our solar ovens and heaters running more efficiently. Cooking is one of our biggest energy consumers and I’ll be doing a lot of the prep work for Marlon in newly designed solar ovens.

Then there’s the plants. There’s always plants to play with but this year, I identified a few aspects of our garden design that could be improved.

Cutting back the Kangaroom Apple lets in so much more light,
Cutting back the Kangaroom Apple lets in so much more light,

The garden was designed to be cool and shady and to protect the house. It does this admirably. To well in fact so the Kangaroo Apple has to be severely restrained. I thought of taking it right out, but its quick growth and medicinal value prompt me to keep it, just keep it well trimmed. The variability in future weather may mean we need more shade late and it’s already a well established plant. The Elder Tree needs a severe talking to and an equally severe cut back as well. Then there’s that Madeira Vine.

Working with these three plants in a different way will keep shade in key areas but allow more sunlight into the garden. That should kick up production of some plants nicely.

Don’t forget that we’ve been included in the Adelaide Edible Garden Trail that’s coming up later this month. Check out this link for more details and tickets.

Didn’t I say at the beginning of this post that most of our plans are done? Looks like that may be a thought for next year!

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