So much is happening, both here and out in the big world that we thought it worth doing a little catchup every Sunday and publish it on a Monday, Oz time. All of the posts will be listed here on this page for your elucidation and convenience. Last week in Ligaya Garden -A slow week in the garden. There’s a lot of buds and blooms coming out, All the deciduous trees are swelling and ready to pop. Like the Dwarf Mulberry in the pic above. Everything’s growing just as it should be. Lots of Sun and frequent rain is kicking things along nicely. It certainly doesn’t need any help from me at the moment, so I’m taking it easy. I’ve been a bit concerned by the news from Hong Kong and have been researching modern social action starting with the Zapatistas in 1994 who wandered out from the jungle with a whole new way of protest. It’s very interesting how
A couple of our heat loving plants are suffering a bit in the cold. I was thinking about what to do about it, having moved them several times into warmer microclimates to no avail. I thought about buying some greenhouse plastic, then remembered that I had a heap of bubblewrap salvaged from an art gallery that was going to dump it. The result…personal greenhouses for the affected plants – two Tamarind and two Moringa trees. Just add a couple of garden stakes for a frame and wrap the plant, pot and all, in bubblewrap. I made sure the plants weren’t touching the plastic and that there was a small gap at the top to help reduce condensation. I reckon I’m on a winter winner!
With the cold weather really and truly here (-1.1°C last night) it can be tricky to get some of the warmer weather plants to survive until Spring. The new garden bed that we put in where the bunnies were (more on that story later) has been filled with Ginger and Galangal and Turmeric rhizomes. While the Elder and Sicilian Necatarine trees are dormant and pruned, this bed gets a lot of sunlight. In Summer it will be in good shade. To make it more effective, I’ve placed a sheet of perspex that came from the same recycled light fittings as the aquaponics reflectors. This makes it into a rough greenhouse and keeps a bit more heat in for those heat loving rhizomes and hopefully will help us get a good yield during Summer 2019/2020. Greenhouse #2 is a bit more elaborate. It’s an old plastic drum with a hole cut in the side. This was an early sump tank for
I’ve added the fungal spawn I got at Jess’s Intermediate Mushroom Growing workshop to coffee grounds from my favourite cafe. There are Elm and Yellow Oyster mushroom spawn and I found a bag of inoculated grain for White Button Mushrooms that was several years old. The jars and grounds in the microwave for a good 15 minutes to ensure no opposition from other, unseen, competitors. 15 minutes was just a guess, but seemed more than enough. The jars were closed with tight fitting, plastic, lids to stop critters getting in and give the fungi a head start. Then they were left for 5 days in a cool, dark, part of the laundry until the white fuzz of the mycelia could be seen in every jar, ensuring colonization. This ensured there was no transplant shock either. I removed the plastic lids and replaced them with cheesecloth held on by rubber bands and moved them into the temporary greenhouse whyere it is
The greenhouse aquaponics is ready to go! I’ve got all the times worked out for the bed, flow rates and lighting and the test plants, well, they haven’t died… There have been a couple of small modifications over the last couple of days. The bell siphon on the gravel bed has a small hole drilled into the outlet tube so that when the system is turned off, the bed drains slowly and doesn’t stay full. The other change has been the addition of a small tube to the outlet pipe. There was a siphon occurring when the pump was turned off, draining about 1/3 of the fish tank out and through the beds. This wasn’t so bad, but meant wasted time when starting the system as the tank needed to be filled before the first water was piped to the grow beds. I searched online and found this fix on Robbob’s Backyard Farming YouTube channel where he explains the use of a
It may look like a rat’s nest of wiring, but let me assure you that the greenhouse is now connected to the 12V system, so the pump is running on sunshine! Greenhouses are a great way to experiment with different types of solar energy, however it is captured. The bad news is that the big 185 Ah battery that was loaned to us to get started has stopped holding a charge. That’s why it’s all running off of a car battery for the moment while we source cheap or free batteries.
Finishing the greenhouse and moving it into place has created an unexpected bonus Where the light and heat bouncing off the rainwater tank was previously being lost over the pond, now the greenhouse traps it and keeps it in the area between the two. The result is a pleasant microclimate that is a couple of degrees above the norm. I’m not sure exactly how many degrees, but you can be sure that I’ll be checking!
Today, we managed to get the greenhouse wrapped. We’re pretty proud of our cable tie and duct tape efforts! The greenhouse is an old shade house frame that we were given, plus two (and in some places, three) layers of plastic sheeting with an air gap between most of it. It measures 3.6m x 1.8m and is 2m at it’s highest. As you can see, the grow table is going at the southern end and the blue drums are going to be the aquaponics grow beds. The idea is that all the usual kind of green leafy veggies are going to be grown aquaponically while the space freed up in the front garden will be utilized to grow higher value, less maintenance, perennials and herbs.