Eco's Lodge

Discussion in 'Members' Systems' started by eco4560, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Messages:
    5,925
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I can't promise to be a regular with updates as Mischief - but here's a description of my place and how I got here and where I might be going.

    I built MY house almost 2 years ago - the first I've built from scratch (well I had a builder build it that is), and had fun doing it MY way. So it is energy / light efficient - and it actually works. There's no aircon and I really didn't miss it last summer. I have gas cooking, solar hot water and a 1 KW back to grid system for energy, a Nubian grey water system, and lots of rain water tanks - and I'm on town water and electricity. I have a see through roof over my bath tub so I can lie there at night and see the stars and the moon.

    The house is on 1750 m2 of land on the side of a hill - high on the west and sloping down as you go east and south. The soil is pretty good, rocky and slightly on the clay side of loam. As the build was well under way I started (pre - permaculture "aha" moment) to think about what I was going to do with the garden....

    A little vege patch in one of those cute rain water tanks, a little herb garden by the back deck, some gingers and strelitzia's, some native shrubs, a cactus garden, a water feature and a place to sit I thought. I worried about how much time I had to devote to it all, and didn't want to have to mow up and down the hill.

    THEN the moment happened - I was in a shop and Linda Woodrow's Permaculture Home Garden book said BUY ME NOW (books do that to me...) I couldn't put it down! I kept interrupting other people's conversations and saying - "let me read you what she says about pests - this is so good". And I knew I had to do it!

    My architect just happened to know a landscaper with a PDC, who came and sat and helped me come up with a plan - that involved lots of rock walls to get me level areas so I could have my chook dome and matching circular garden beds, and the removal of all the grass which was replaced with mulch. I distinctly recall telling him that I couldn't imagine that I'd want more than 10 fruit trees (I think I'm up to 40 now....)

    So the way the system works - looking straight up the hill from my back deck the lowest level has a herb garden on the left and my daughter's cactus collection on the right, with strawberries just as you step off the deck on either side. The next level has 4 circular beds in a straight line (I don't have enough flat land to do the pretty circular mandala), with citrus trees in between each, and a fledgling rhubarb plant.

    Then there's another narrow level - which I want to plant medicinal herbs into eventually - but the soil is quite poor there, so at present I have put straw bales along the lower edge and back filled behind them with compost ingredients and have planted nasturtiums in them. Once it rots down I'll try my herbs.

    Then there's another wider level that is under the shade of a big tree. There's a bath tub pond on that level and 3 more circular beds. Then another narrow level with fruit trees in it. Then another wide level with another 3 beds, then above that yet again more fruit trees and at the very top a 20,000 L rain water tank. I've also got a few pigeon peas tucked in where I can fit them.

    On the south side of the house (shady) I'm working on a fragrant garden as that is under the bedroom windows. Gardenia, jasmine, frangipani, geranium and pineapple sage are in there so far. I've just completed planting a long edge guild at the very south edge of the property with arrowroot, lemon grass and vetiver and comfrey.

    On the north sunny side I have more fruit trees, and I'm starting to add some flowering natives to bring birds into the garden. There's a new big wooden fence along that edge that I'm going to grow a choko and whatever else I can cover it with. There are some large existing trees long the fence line at the top of the hill so I'm trying to find stuff that will do OK in the shade. There's another pond in construction on that side too - for frogs I hope. I don't get any in the bath pond.

    At the front there's a steep slope down to the neighbours which I've started sweet potato on. The purple top weeds are thriving there at present... I've got to get another edge guild going there too.

    I have 2 worm farms and 8 chooks in my dome. The spend 2 - 3 weeks on each of the 10 beds so it takes them 6 months to do the loop around and get back to where they started.

    When I started dreaming of gardens I worried about whether I would find the time, or resent being tied to it, but I have found so much pleasure in it that I've turned into quite the home body. A good weekend now consists of about 15 hours of undisturbed garden time!

    I have a big patch of Singapore Daisy that ticked me off for a while. But I've now got a really good system in place and I'm starting the worry about the day when I run out of it! I pull it out by hand and run it though the mulcher. Then it goes into a plastic bag on top of the rain water tank in the sun for a few weeks. Then I stick it in a large plastic bucket and soak it in water for another 2 weeks. I decant the resulting weed tea and use it diluted around the garden as a tonic - don't really know if it does anything but it sure smells like it should! The left over solids then go in the worm farm - they seem to like it. After a few weeks in there I tip it into the compost bit as I reckon that after all that it won't sprout again!

    I've also discovered that making compost heaps is better that psychotherapy, and cheaper. I had little plastic ones at first, but they just didn't cut the mustard. I now have 2 BIG heaps affectionately called the Purple Pear Patented Permaculture Pine Plank Pile (the details are over at Mandala Town with pictures), as well as my two little plastic compost bin piles. You can never have too much compost!

    All it really needs now is time, and more of what it already happening to fill in the empty bits of ground. I can't wait until the fruit trees reach maturity and I can stop going to the shops.
     
  2. helenlee

    helenlee Junior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2006
    Messages:
    1,519
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    We want photos!!!
     
  3. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Messages:
    5,925
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    0
    God you are fast! I only just hit Send!! There are some in Groups at Mandala Town. I'll try the photo bucket thingy when I get time.... It's off to bed time for me now though. 11:17 pm local time YAWN.
     
  4. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Messages:
    5,925
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    0
  5. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,676
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Don't do photobucket, put them on photoblog, then just link it back here each time you add more piccies.

    I very much enjoyed reading your descripiton and it prompted questions and comments which i am going to try to remember now.

    Fragrant Garden - please plant more frangipannis. You've got to have more than one. They are glorious trees. I've got a box of cuttings on the go now. I don't know where I will put them all. I just know i want a lot of them. I think they are my favourite flower. I was reading a lovely book at hte library all about them the other day. Apparently they are easy to grow. And if you can find trees to get cuttings from you won't have to spend any money buying them.

    Singapore Daisy. I don't like this stuff either but I was told very recently that it does good things to the soil structure. So maybe you could consider it a useful ground cover unless like me you don't like it either. But if you don't want to do that but you want to keep on having enough to rip up and make compost tea from, you'd better grow a special patch of it which you could call your compost tea farm.

    You've done a lot of work on the rock walls. I hope i don't have to do anything like that.
    Anyway thanks for telling us all this. And keep us posted occasionally on new developments.

    The pleasure of working in the garden - I know! Isn't it the most wonderful thing. I think its partly because its creative work, partly because its being involved with nature, partly because it holds within it a certain degree of suspense and expectation, partly because of the phsyical aspect of it, not forgetting that it produces things you can consume, save you money. Its just so good for the soul. For a minute though I was stuck on how you could find composting better, even akin to psychotherapy but i guess you mean you can express your angry self in it. Is that what you mean? I like making compost but not for that reason. In fact it never occurred to me. I feel good doing it beucase its like cooking a really healthy meal. It makes me feel virtuous making compost.

    Chook Tractors - its interesting that you are doing that. I haven't got plans to do that yet. Its hard enough making any chook pen. Maybe i will think about it later on and for now I've let my ducks run wild in a pen where hopefully come winter, I can create a second mandala garden for my european vegetables.
     
  6. helenlee

    helenlee Junior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2006
    Messages:
    1,519
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Cool. I love the stone wall & I LOVE the single sunflower's cheery little face :)
    Will check the photos at Mandala town later ... have to get my head into "going to town" mode now so I don't forget anything. I just had to check in for a quick peek this a.m before getting ready ... I'm SUCH a desperado! If you don't hear from me for a few days it'll mean the laptops in the shop, so say a prayer for me. I'll be sitting at home in severe withdrawals wondering if you & Mark & Rob have scampered off to paradise without me :)
     
  7. Tezza

    Tezza Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2003
    Messages:
    1,585
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    do it this way folks its easier

    This is my vege/stroke aquaponic area taken may 2009
     
  8. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Messages:
    5,925
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks for dropping by guys.
    Sunburn - I have 2 frangipanis - a pink and a white. I think the idea of ripping stuff out that I don't want in my life, topping it off with poo and turning it into something productive (compost) is a really nice metaphor.
     
  9. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Messages:
    5,925
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    0
    https://www.photoblog.com/eco4560/

    I've made a start on telling the story in photos. I'll keep adding to it as I get time. It's been a worthwhile exercise to look back at the early photos. It feels like nothing changes in a hurry, but the garden is a whole lot different to 18 months ago!
     
  10. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,676
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Its interesting to imagine what my place might look like in 12 months. If you have a the luxury of working in teh garden every day, its really quite a lot of work one can do. Then its just a waiting game isnt' it.

    Its great to see you on pblog. I'll be working on a new entry tonight.
     
  11. Tezza

    Tezza Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2003
    Messages:
    1,585
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    taken August 2010...
     
  12. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Messages:
    5,925
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Nice wattle....
    So the water gravity feeds down the hill from pond to pond? Do you a pump to circulate it around again?
     
  13. Tezza

    Tezza Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2003
    Messages:
    1,585
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    not a hill, but a slope none the less,runs 24/7 6000 lts per hour pump,does a great job and keeps 3000 lts nice n clear
     
  14. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,665
    Likes Received:
    94
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    s/e
    Location:
    South Waikato New ZeLeand
    Climate:
    Cool mountain
    Eco your garden sounds fantastic.
    I update so often cos I use it as my diary otherwise I never remember things and using a book diary doesnt work for me.
    Looking forward to hearing more .
     
  15. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Messages:
    5,925
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I finished the meditation dome today. Pictures here - https://www.photoblog.com/eco4560/2010/09/15/

    The base of the dome is 3m. I used 3 x 6 m lengths of PVC piping and bent each one over and slipped it over a reo bar stuck in the ground. It is reminiscent of my chook dome.

    How fast does a passionfruit grow?

    My daughter is worried about my moral sanctity (she goes to a Christian school) and think it should be called a prayer circle instead!

    I've planted some pigeon pea seedlings, and seeds for beans and corn today. I have cassava cuttings that have been sitting in a styrofoam box covered in compost for what seems like an age since I lifted the one cassava plant that I have and I noticed today that there are little leaf buds starting to poke through. Hmmm where will I put the cassava? Hopefully I'll get a dozen plants from the cuttings. The arrowroot that I divided in winter and planted along the southern edge is starting to put up tiny green shoots too. Must be spring!

    On a sad note - Chocolate the chook went to heaven on Tuesday. She was a beautiful big brown friendly thing. I don't know why she died - just found her dead in the chook run at the end of the day when I got home from work. No signs of previous illness, and the other 7 girls are all alive and well. They all stay in the dome so nothing gets it to attack them. I dug a ruddy big hole to bury her in - which is an act of love in itself because I hate digging! It wasn't really deep enough to stop something from digging her up so I plonked a pile of rocks over her like a little cairn. Sigh... I hope I don't have to do that too often.
     
  16. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2008
    Messages:
    2,215
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Fast as.

    P.S. Loving the Meditation dome!
     
  17. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    Messages:
    2,456
    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Farm manager/ educator
    Location:
    Hunter Valley New South Wales
    Home Page:
    Climate:
    warm temperate - some frost - changing every year
  18. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,676
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Passionfruit is pretty fast if you feed it a lot. Plant several unless you have to buy it. You can try germinating seeds from a fruit you like though.

    Why not take the chook for an autopsy? If its not too late. She must have been sick. Heart attack? Or maybe she ate some thing poisonous. Or maybe a spider or snake bit her?
     
  19. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Messages:
    5,925
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Mum has bought me a plant and I'm trying to get some to germinate that I saved from a store bought fruit last year (no luck yet....)
    She's in her final resting place now, and I don't feel like exhuming her! I guess a snake might have got in under the edge of the dome - where it currently is isn't quite flat and one could have got in. Who knows. I think it is easier to just accept that chooks die.
     
  20. Tezza

    Tezza Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2003
    Messages:
    1,585
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Great Meditatin Dome Eco...Great pics on your site..Excellent stuff thnx

    Tezza
     

Share This Page

-->