New Grass Roots

We’ve another article in the current Grass Roots magazine. It’s on pages 24 to 26. The article discusses the things we’ve done to cool the house during Summer, things that can be done in the garden and around the house on a very tight budget. I won’t share the content… You’ve got to buy the magazine!

Vlog 2: It’s hot! 

Summer’s here and the temperature is frequently topping 40°C. I usually go around the outside of the house and compare temperatures in full sun and in shade. This year I’ve made a video of most of my findings. Some might surprise you – they always do me! The take home lesson from all this is that shade is good, full sun is bad. It’s that easy! The inside of the house averages 24°C throughout the Summer with minimal input from our evaporative air conditioning. We do have a reverse cycle aircon that came with the house. That gets used for an hour or so here and there when Jelina gets home late from Uni on stinking hot days. She deserves a little coolness at the end of the train trip home.  Apart from that, it’s ceiling fans and judicious cooling of the house at night time by venting in the cooler air through the evaporative system on the vent setting

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Bare Earth… No way! 

I’ve been sharing this pic around because it’s an unusual event in the garden. When we bought the block, the first thing we did was cover the whole front yard with layers of newspaper and about 10cm (that’s 4″ in the old measurement) of compost and mulch. After a frustrating wait of a few days, we started to plant heavily and have never stopped. The perennials cover most of the ground and there are some seasonal annual treats that we weave into the tapestry. Along with perennial, edible ground covers such as Warrigal Greens and Sweet Potato, we have an underlayer of perennial tubers and root veggies that pop up when they’re ready. In short, nothing is left uncovered. There are four reasons we created the garden in this way:  water retention (it gets hot and dry here) cooling (the air in the garden is always cooler than the surrounding area in the hot Aussie Summers) reduced maintenance (no lawn

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Aircon for the chooks

It gets hot here in Oz in Summer, so I thought I’d give the girls a little treat. They like sitting under the rain tank next to the chook run on hotter days, so I helped them out by placing a fan under their house that would blow cool, moist air through their run. It’s a very simple job, just a 12V box fan salvaged from a wrecked computer wired straight to a spare 5W panel that we had lying around. No need for regulators or switches, it runs when the sun is shining. It’s really an evaporative cooler because it draws air through the cool, moist air under the tank, cooling it just like our house airconditioners. Simple and effective…I’m to lazy to do anything else!

Summer Goals 2017

  Summer is nearly upon us so it’s time to work out some goals for the upcoming season. As you can see from the photo, we had some pretty big sunflowers last year, so it goes without saying that we want even bigger ones this year. The seeds from the largest of the last crop are being planted this week. The new irrigation system ensures that they’ll have more water and the recently improved mulch and compost layer will give then a super boost. Talking of irrigation, I’m currently cleaning out and improving the drip irrigation system that runs throughout the garden. I’m replacing many of the drippers with new 2 litre/hour drippers that are designed to run under a range of pressures. This is ideal for our rainwater tank-fed system.     I’m also in the process of putting in 30cm lengths of 50mm PVC pipe into the ground at key areas and near trees. These will be fed

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The ‘wirgola’

We needed a quick, very cheap way to shade the Western side of the house. The afternoon summer sun gets so very hot here. We have a thermometer under the small front verandah, this is in the shade at all times, though it’s post gets the sun.  It’s been as hot as 47 C  some days, according to this thermometer. We were more than a little broke and needed to use what we had around or that could be scavenged or bought for just a few dollars…Hmmmm… I had 3 recycled pergola posts from a friend,  one stirrup and a bag of cement and 9 metres of cable. Not quite enough to do anything with. We couldn’t afford to get council approval either . We had an idea…Maybe we could get by using vines for the shading and cooling the air…a plan was taking shape… Why not use the pergola posts to support wires that would, in turn, support the

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