Summer solstice update 

It’s the summer solstice tomorrow so I thought I’d do a general update. 

Things are growing well.  The salads have been the most successful with plenty more than we can consume.  The tomatoes are looking to be pretty decent too. 

Both chickens are still alive and laying on average about 1.5 eggs a day.   All 25 fish are going strong and have grown significantly. 

I’m building a new floating raft bed that should be about 3x the size of my existing one so that I can dial up my aquaponics salads and basil.  Once I get that going I’m going to test différent types of salads for a bit of variety. 

I’ve been servicing my compost in preparation for a fall planting of winter crops.  

But it’s not all good news.  It seems my potatoes got sick and I lost 2 out of the three plantings. 

New salads going in this evening. 

Leveling up potatoes 

I made another pass at leveling up the potatoes containers.  They are growing very quickly. 

I added straw to expand the container and then filled in with soil.  It’s hard to add the soil without doing some damage to the plants, but at the end of the day, I figure the point is to bury some of the plant (note to self to investigate how it all works). 

Is also hard to know if the soil is well spread out – i would fill up the space through one parting in the foliage, so not sure if the soil got evenly distributed.  So I watered generously afterwards going to even put the distribution of the soil. 

I will be very interested to see if and how much growth I get above the pot line, and to see if I get any potatoes growing in the straw not just the soil. 

Next time around I think I will focus on the tire method, as it is much easier to manage. 

Potato tower experiment

While I’ve been away the potato plants have grown significantly. So in attempt to expand the productivity I decided to experiment with the tower concept. 

Effectively, I wrapped the existing pots in fencing wire and then lay straw around the edges.  Thus created a cavity inside which I then filled with soil. 

Apparently potatoes only germinate above the point where the seed was positioned (which if you think about it makes total sense).  And so, one can increase productivity by increasing the amount of soil above that point. 

Much easier and effective to do with the tires, so I’ll look to expand that method next time. 

Garden overview 

Wanted to provide a little overview of the outdoor experiments that are taking place. 

The raised bed below is a hugel culture experiment.  I laid some rotting wood, then layered in some hay, some leaves,  some compost, some soil, then topped with hay.  

In this raised bed I have planted 3 types of tomatoes, 3 types of radish, and some romaine lettuce. 

The second bed is an in ground bed that I had to get ready in a rush.  I loosened the soil with a pitch fork, but did not turn it.  I then threw on a tarp for 2 weeks to kill the weeds with light deprivation.  I then added some compost and some potting soil. Layered on some hay and started planting. 

In this bed we have radishes, and some lettuces. 

Above, are the potato experiments.  3 containers with a bunch of potato seed spuds.  We just added a new layer of soil, but seems like we’ll have to add more shortly.  Interested to see how high we can go. 

Lastly, we have the chickens.  We tried to build the coop on the cheap, leveraging a second hand bed, some shutters, and a couple of palettes.  In total it cost us about 60 euros for the wire, and some of the longer wood, bolts, and hinges etc.. 

Overall fairly happy with the set up.