Archive for the ‘Preparations’ Category

Building a woodshed out of pallets

OK, time to come clean, this is the project I’m working on creating from discarded pallets. We’re looking at building a decent-size covered woodshed to hold all the firewood we’ll need once our woodburner arrives. I’m sure ours won’t be anywhere near as beautiful as the woodshed in this video. particularly as I’m going to try and make ours almost entirely from reclaimed timber, keeping the costs down to just fixings and waterproofing for the roof.

 

Amazing pallet-based inspirational projects

At the risk of becoming seriously eccentric, here is another post on building with pallets.  This site has an amazing range of projects built with pallets – from some that clearly need to be hidden, to some that need to be shouted from the (pallet-built) rooftops.

I love this shed (found halfway down the page):

Amazing Pallet Shed

And some of the wood sheds are giving me ideas . . . .

 

Feeding our happy little fish

The carp are here and enjoying their new home. It was slightly surreal coming home to a box of live fish, but after a gentle introduction to our tanks they all swam off happily, showing no ill effects.

We got a couple of kilos of carp food delivered with the fish, but as they’re far more omnivorous than the trout we’re keen to try something a bit more home-grown.

Some of our sumps are doing well at growing duckweed so I thought that would be a good start and added a net-full of duckweed to their tank.

They’re much gentler feeders than the trout, so I haven’t seen them aggressively attacking clumps of weed, but it is steadily disappearing.

At this stage, with tiny digestive systems, they need to be able to “graze” through the day, and I think the duckweed helps with that between their main feedtimes.

As they grow we’ll try to expand their diet further to see if we can eventually produce all their feed in-house – ideally from waste, or areas we’re not using for our food

This is a really interesting range of insulation solutions. It covers the classic (loft) the intensive (internal wall insulation) and the budget options available for a retrofit.

Well worth a read to get you thinking about what you can do – particularly as the cold weather returns…

Green Cottage

I was recently working out the carbon footprint of Green Cottage, and came up with a very favourable figure of less than one tonne of CO2 a year – this being associated with the grid electricity I use. I’m with Good Energy who use 100% renewable energy, but for the purposes of counting I take the figure for normal grid electricity as that’s what comes to my meter.

I was quite pleased with this – but the figure doesn’t tell the whole story. My heating in the winter is wood fuel, and in a cold winter I tend to use a LOT of it – maybe 6 tonnes or more during one of the bitterly cold winters we had a couple of years back. I don’t really feel comfortable with this – for a terraced house it seems excessive, and unsustainable.

The way to get fuel consumption down is of…

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The Carp are coming (by post!)

At some point I’ll manage to document the roller-coaster ride that was our first go at Aquaponics. Suffice to say it was a mixed success – we got to eat lots of delicious trout, but lost quite a few on the way too.

We’ve spent the last 18 months doing a major redesign to get the fish out
of the polytunnel, and we are finally ready to go again – the system has been split to allow for different sizes, and different species, so we’re now eagerly awaiting our first Carp delivery ….

Building compost bins – from pallets

Slowly I’m catching up with all the fun things we’ve been up to this year. Back in August the old plastic compost bin we inherited with the house finally started to collapse, leaving us with a leaning-tower-of-compost. Compost is such crucial food for our depleted soil we decided that a serious solution was in order. I’d heard about people building compost bins out of pallets, so we gave it a go, with the help of this “How to build a compost bin from pallets” tutorial from Gardeners World, and the left-over Aquaponic gravel pallets.

I’ve hacked space for them out of the 2m-thick evergreen hedge at the bottom of the garden, behind the polytunnel. and made two at once. It was a pretty easy one-person job:

They’ve been great – we have one-and-a-half full, so nw we’re just waiting to see how the first lot turns out. I already have plans to add a third!

Books: Food from Your Garden and Allotment

This book is one of my guilty little secrets! How can anyone be really serious about gardening with a book from Reader’s Digest?

Now that the secret is out however, I have to say that if I could only keep one book from our library it would be this one. It has everything you need to know, about almost every type of fruit and veg that you’re likely to grow. It’s simple, clearly laid out, well indexed, packed with great pictures and illustrations, and very very unpretentious.

My only criticism is that it could have done with being more comprehensively updated from the 1977 original. There a several newly-fashionable plants you won’t find in here, and there is an over-dependence on chemical solutions that you don’t tend to find in most modern books.

So, as you may have guessed, this book is another one to buy. Don’t bother with getting a copy from the library – I did initially, but went straight out to buy one as soon as I had the chance. Please order it from your local bookshop, but if you have to buy it online please follow this Amazon link – Food from Your Garden and Allotment, and the Trafford Eco House will get some money from your purchase (it won’t cost you any more).

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