Chookie's Patch

Discussion in 'Members' Systems' started by Chookie, May 30, 2014.

  1. Chookie

    Chookie Junior Member

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    Hey Bryant,

    Thankyou so much for your input. I think the 'Maximum-Stretch Premium Roof Topcoat' looks like a great cheap option, I love it! I was concerned about toxicity because of the rainwater tanks but from what I can see it appears to be nontoxic. Not sure of the surface area of the roof yet but its fairly large. Would be around the $160(AUD) mark for 5 gallons which is a very cheap option even if I had to buy 2 tins of the stuff, especially considering the immediate benefits you would get form using it. Plus it will seal any leaks at the same time, so thanks for sharing that :y:

    Insulating the walls would help a lot and I like the panels you mentioned, they sound very easy to use and install. The problem however would be removing the existing walls to put them in place. Not sure if there is an easy way to get around this.

    Great ideas there Bryant, cheers
     
  2. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    do you have vents to let the hot air out?

    yes, solar panels and hot water heating would reduce the heat gain, but if you are using the electricity for AC when you could reduce your solar heat gain then it is much cheaper and more efficient route to improve insulation. especially if you are considering storage/battery options. it really does make sense to put a few thousand into better roofing and insulation before evaluating further for solar. you might avoid and recover most of that cost later if you do put in solar panels and batteries.

    i think there are non-toxic foam insulations available that can be injected into the wall cavities. and i agree with Bryant that raising the albedo will help. i dunno about sticking foam board to tin because of the differing expansion/contraction coefficients and that would be a point of research needed before going that route.
     
  3. Bryant RedHawk

    Bryant RedHawk Junior Member

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    Hi Chookie, If you do the roof with the topcoat and find that you still have to much heat coming inside from the roof, I would then go with roof insulation before worrying about the walls. When I retrofit an existing roof I use some flashing angles, put up on the rafters so there will be a 1 cm space between the tin and the first layer of blue foam board. This gives enough of an air space for ventilation and it also creates the needed gap to keep everything working as designed. it also keep bad things like condensation and bridging from happening.

    There are two ways to install blue foam board in walls; from the interior (usually the best option if you happen to be redoing the walls anyway) and from the exterior (if you have something other than rock or brick for the exterior siding). Either way, it is a lot of work to do and most folks will opt for a blow in or high expansion foam that is sprayed into holes drilled into the wall cavities. I am not a big fan of that method, it can and has created issues that are not easy or cheep to repair. I've found that once the roof is taken care of, the wall insulation becomes less an issue when you live in a place that doesn't get sub freezing temps or that only gets them for short periods of time (less than two weeks).

    As Songbird mentioned, there are non-toxic (when cured) spray foams, but most of these are on the expensive side. The one I like https://www.sprayfoamkit.com/land/home_SEA.html is actually fairly affordable and it is easy to see that your mix is spot on. The main thing most folks don't think about is proper coverage, these products are usually designed for use in new construction or remodel work where you have the walls open already. The do wonders if you have a leaky house or building though and they give very good R-values for the thickness of insulation, are waterproof. I've seen them used for roofs, but when you do that, you still have to create a space between the roof and the insulation for ventilation or you will have problems down the road.
     
  4. Chookie

    Chookie Junior Member

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    Hey songbird,

    Good point about the venting, we just have windows but we have high ceilings which does collect and stores the heat. We don't get much wind here either, just still and hot which doesn't help. I could install one of those whirlybird things but wasn't sure if they were any good.

    I see what your saying about the solar investment. The cooling costs does make an impact on our energy use however its other things that really draw the power. Recently I had a guy come out to look into it further. The main culprit is the hot water system, making up a huge proportion of our energy use. Other things would include incubators and brooders for chickens during breeding season and your usual normal appliances. TV, washing machine etc. The Air con is quite recent and it seems they are quite efficient however I do restrict its use a lot and at times just deal with being hot. Being such a large roof, replacing it would be a massive job/cost and would take 3 times the amount of time to recover the costs compared with solar. If I can somehow insulate it and use the reflective coating without replacing the roof then I think It'll be worth it and will do this as well as the Solar. Might have to take a sheet off, take a closer look and take a pic for you guys ;) Might be more space in there then I think...

    The injecting walls idea is pretty interesting. If anything went wrong though I don't have access to the external wall at all.....not without 6 thousand dollars worth of scaffolding due to the wall being 3 storeys high and on a steep incline :sweat: Will have to look into it a bit more I think. As your pointing out though, if the heat gain is reduced then wall insulation may not even be needed.

    Some food for thought though, thanks for the input, very helpful :)
     
  5. Chookie

    Chookie Junior Member

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    Hey Bryant,

    As mentioned in the above post, I think I'l take off a section of the roof and have a closer look. The space available seems to be the deciding factor in what would be the best way to go, to see if any insulation can be applied in the first place. Will do this soon.

    Thanks for the advice on the wall insulation. I think I'm going to take that advice and see how the roof goes first and if its still problematic then I can always look into the walls at a later stage. Injecting would be the only way at this stage and not too keen on any dramas :giggle:

    I definitely going to try that reflective paint and see how this goes. Very cheap option so even if it doesn't work all that well I didn't break the bank doing it ;)
     
  6. Chookie

    Chookie Junior Member

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    Chook tractor garden is coming along well, today I finishing of preparing the second bed. Im trying a different green crop on this new bed and have put down some mung beans, Adzuki beans and buckwheat. Really keen to see how they go.

    No real defined pathways yet but after the green manure crops are done then I can think about placement and what I'll use for a pathway.

    [​IMG]

    Getting the loads of compost down the hill in wheel barrows is the hardest and most time consuming part but I wanted to get a decent layer of compost in, so I know it'll be worth it. Got some big compost piles going now, so in the future I won't have to travel far to get more :y:

    The cow peas are huge now but the cowpea's I planted in front that were spaced are not as nearly as big and robust as the ones I planted packed in together. Lesson learned and the mungbeen, Adzuki and buckwheat crop I just planted were pretty packed. Zero effort required so far for the cowpeas, haven't done anything to it but thrown the seed down. I haven't yet had to water it due to our wet season and as you can see the weeds just can't compete with it. Some french millet in there as well but didn't do that great.

    [​IMG]

    Have been collecting a few seeds to germinating some veggies and herbs shortly. Also have some seeds for plants to attract insects and some to repel them :giggle: Just working on a protective barrier for them, so the critters don't get to them and so I can attach shade cloth if needed.

    Was also wondering if anyone had had any advice on how long after chopping and dropping a green manure crop, until you plant into it and is there any further prep anyone could suggest?
     
  7. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    Chookie, if you are not digging/burying the chop and drop into the soil then you can plant immediately into the stubble. the only reason to delay planting would be if you dig the green matter in. usually then the recommendation is several weeks (2-3). how much is a factor too. just a little buried in the soil won't matter too much.

    no other prep needed other than what the individual seed types may need. i.e. sometimes the smaller seedlings are too small and may not do well trying to come up through chopped materials so a bit of a bare spot where they are planted can help. the larger seeds i just drill right through and they do great.
     
  8. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    sounds like a good plan with the roof Chookie. i hope that the reflective coating helps (follow the directions on the container as it is likely you will get best results by doing some cleaning or scrubbing first). do you have a power washer?

    i'd do the reflective coating first and then see how that goes before getting into vents. it seems that any hole put in a roof is a possible later headache if not done correctly. if you can vent from high up but on the side that is a much better option (installing a screened window you can open at each end of the room that you can open as needed). but like i say, try the coating first. that is the least intrusive and likely the least expensive. probably not a good idea to drink or store the first few rains off it either if you use the rooftop for rain collecting...
     
  9. Chookie

    Chookie Junior Member

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    Thats good to know, cheers for that. Not keen on disturbing the soil anymore so will just be dropping and mulching. I guess I was concerned that it may cause some sort of nitrogen draw down as you would say with fresh grass clippings. Really not keen an waiting another 2-3 weeks so thats good news :)

    I should invest in a washer of some sort as the roof does need regular cleaning due to some surrounding trees that drop a fair bit on the roof.

    Good point about letting the coating sit for a while. Don't have the tanks in yet but pretty close now so will get it done before then and prior to instillation. My jobs list is getting bigger and bigger lol
     
  10. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    chop n drop with little mixing has not much surface area in contact with the soil so it works fine and is not a heavy draw on the nitrogen compounds in the soil. otherwise, i see effects when i bury a lot of high carbon materials and even that goes away after a while as the soil community adapts to the new surface area.

    green stuff is usually a pretty good nitrogen source, grass clippings are about 4% N. i think the risks you take when burying green stuff is more from fermentation by-products, heat and the increased short term fungal growth which may affect seedlings.

    chopped green stuff left up top to dry is a long term nitrogen supply as the worms gradually work at it. good stuff. some people will roll it to press it down and increase the soil contact and rate of breakdown, but i am the patient sort who is happy to let nature take care of it when it gets to it. it keeps the soil covered and the worms quite happy. : )
     
  11. Bryant RedHawk

    Bryant RedHawk Junior Member

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    That's the way I do it too songbird, works really well for me. I don't have a lot of grass at the moment, but Wolf wants to plant more as we go along. I have a nice old scythe that I use to do most of my chop and drop work, goes fast and lays things down in neat rows with out having to use the rake. The areas I chopped and dropped last summer are already at the half way mark of being incorporated into the soil.

    Chookie, when you get your roof coated set up your water collection system so that the first few gallons of every rain will be diverted. I have a long pipe that directs this cleaning water directly to a garden space. once the roof has given up this water it trips a panel that sends the water into the 275 gal. totes we have for water collection. I have screens over the gutters, downspout entrances and over each of the totes fill coupling, this keeps all the trashy stuff out of the holding tanks.
     
  12. Chookie

    Chookie Junior Member

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    Cheers for that advice about the chopping and dropping, so happy to hear I don't have to wait any longer :party: With future crops I may spend some extra time digging in some green manure crops and letting them rest for a few weeks. Plenty of compost in there right now and the worms are going crazy in there, so I think it'll be fine this time round.

    Will do that Bryant and divert the water if running into the tanks, thanks :y:

    The next green crop of mungbean, Azuchi and buckwheat is coming up nicely with sprouts popping up everywhere.


    [​IMG]


    Few more things wanting in pots to be planted. Kaffer lime, wormwood, blueberry, banana and a native raspberry. A few more seeds planted in trays today including pyrethrum, echinacea, tyme, basil, italian parsley. Will get a few more in over the next few weeks. Just awesome to finally having things growing :)

    [​IMG]


    This is a female water dragon that has visited me often for the last few years. Ive named her 'Lizzy'. Every morning she loves a hose down and a drink and often raids the chickens scraps and prefers to pick out the bananas. She pretty much lives in and around the garden now and only disappears in the winter. A very friendly and helpful resident of the garden.

    [​IMG]

    Cheers Chookie
     
  13. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Love your little friend. I havent seen any lizards since I moved down here. We used to have a couple of Skinks living in our backyard up in Auckland. Wish I could have moved them with us.
     
  14. Australian Beekeeper

    Australian Beekeeper Junior Member

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    Great pics chookie :)

    All looking good!
     
  15. Chookie

    Chookie Junior Member

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    They are great to have around and they do wonders keeping some of the pests in check, shame non have moved in yet mischief, is it too cold there?

    Thanks AB :)

    Well the cow pea is finished, went into flower so have chopped and dropped it. Great easy and fast crop and can't wait to do another one. Not too much to plant into it yet but all in good time.


    [​IMG]

    Putting some toilet rolls to use as seeding pots. Ive folded the ends to stop the soil from falling out before adding the seed raising mix. Should be able to just poke a few holes in them when they are ready and then plant straight into the soil.


    [​IMG]

    The next green manure crop is going well but a little patchy as I didn't have as much seed as I would have liked, coverage could have been better but it should still do the job.


    [​IMG]

    Cheers Chookie
     
  16. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    They all look healthy and the chip mulch looks like it is beginning to break down. Good idea with the toilet rolls too. Better to get those trees in the ground and established before winter comes along.
     
  17. Chookie

    Chookie Junior Member

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    I hear you about getting those trees in, behind the garden is another 60sqm I can pop a few trees in but I'd like to put a swale in which is why they are sitting there. Where to place the swale exactly is the issue, got a bit of designers block on that one at the moment ^) Trying to think about how to incorporate the chooks and or duck/geese into the orchard with fencing and access etc.
     
  18. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Hello Chookie,
    "Opposite ends of the spectrum" my partner often chides me.
    Yours looks like a pretty high summer rainfall area. Your climate is not much different to mine. I can see the D'Aguilar ranges and the high-rises of Brisvegus from here. In my gently sloping orchard and food garden zone close to the house (about 1600 square metres) I have agricultural pipe with slots in it in gravel trenches 600mmx600mm with geofabric over it to keep the holes clear buried 300mm under the inter-planting rows to drain the soil, as in the normal wet seasons in summer when we get 100mm a day for 5 days my soil used to get supersaturated and the soil would go waterlogged and anaerobic and I lost my first plantings of dwarf avocadoes and the citrus took a long time to get over it. So, I dug the drains and they feed into a shallow swale below, where I grow taro, yacon, sweet potato, arrowroot, ginger, galangal, kang kong and turmeric. That was 5 years ago and the orchard has since been challenged by a couple of deluge periods and the drains ran like a fountain out the bottom end into the swale. I was worried about soil water loss in the last 10 month dry spell so put a screw cap on the drain to conserve what moisture was in the soil. Even though it is really green here at the moment my soil profile is quite dry as we have only had 180mm here since it started to rain in November, about a fifth of our normal summer rainfall so far, with no surface flow as yet. If I lived in a drier area where the av. annual rainfall was very seasonal and less than 750mm, I would swale up more, but here it is 2000mm and concentrated from December to March, with a dry end to the winter and a dry spring. Do you really need a swale, or just mulch up around the plants like we do? If I had a swale above my food garden area I would lose a lot of plants in the normal, wet season and would have to grow my trees on metre high mounds so they would not die from super-saturation in those mad wet weeks of summer we can get here. In my Mother-in-laws rainfall records about 15km from here she recorded a fall of 300mm in 12 hours in the mid-70's, when downstream Brisvegus flooded badly. Bring on the real rain, not just this patchy storm stuff, but a real tropical low I say! We are overdue for it.
     
  19. Chookie

    Chookie Junior Member

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    Your right very similar weather but not as high rainfall, the rainfall the last couple years ranges from 750mm to 1000MM and most of its during the summer and the winters are quite dry. Same problem with super saturated soils during summer as well. This year not so much, it's been pretty average here as well!

    I like the idea of the mounds Curramore1, it'll work much better and makes more sense. I can then just build make up the mounds as I get tree's to put in. Cheers for that, great idea :y:

    Not much else going on besides watching seedlings grow. Getting tired of constantly changing the chickens water as they scratch around and flick dirt and rice hulls into it, especially when I have a few pens on the go during breeding time, so I've been working on a new system. Got this idea from 'robbobs backyard farming' channel on youtube. It's just some pvc piping with water nipples screwed in and that hooks up to a sealed water container. Should save me some time and be a cleaner water source for the chooks.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Chookie

    Chookie Junior Member

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    Today I was working under a very large Bunya pine which I have no experience with, except that it drops these long leaves that are like razor blades and picking them up or stepping on them is very painful. Well in addition to this, today I was trimming some grass under it and these enormous HEAD sized nuts came crashing through the branches with brutal force, missing me by about a metre. I scrambled out of there and immediately began moving the seedling table which was under this tree. As i was shifting the table I heard another one crashing down! I bolted and ran out of there with my hands above my head like I was in a scene from platoon. As I ran I heard a loud thud just behind me, again a Bunya nut just missing me and the table. This tree scared the living daylights out of me, not keen on this tree at all :shake:


    Has anyone had any experience with preparing and eating fruit? My partner tells me it has some cultural significance and aboriginals would hold festivals were this fruit was eaten. I'm hoping there is more to this tree then just stealing my light, causing me pain and the odd near death experience.

    [​IMG]
     

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