February – March 2014
Plants: Mallow, Sea Buckthorne, Sapodilla, Blackcurrant, Gooseberry.
Creatures: Utah the Doggle (a peculiar cross between a dog and a fraggle)
In this instalment, I work on improving the food pond by adding a DIY swirl filter made from a dustbin / trashcan and a simple gravel filter / growbed for kangkong, watercress and other plants that don’t mind being constantly flooded. There’s still room to expand with more beds in the future, as well as floating island planters. The medium for the growbed is volcanic rock gravel from my land. The swirl filter uses a modified laundry basket lid at the bottom, and although I forgot to show it in the video, there is a T connector at the end of the hose under the laundry basket lid to send the water in two diferent directions.
I also show off a quick bench I made out of a pallet, some uses for rocks including simple terracing, and I release some geckos into the house for pest control.
Putting my new camera to use around the homestead. My new pond should give me greens all year round, and when I have enough fish I’ll expand further into outdoor aquaponics & grow all kinds of fruit and veg in the water on floating foam rafts. If this experiment is a success, I plan to put more ponds between the trees in the orchard.
I made a path (hand-mixed concrete poured over a hacksawed rebar frame joined with wire) and new raised beds to go with it. Hopefully some of the visiting bees will take up residence in the very basic beehive I put together. It doesn’t have trays so harvesting of honey is a no-go, but bees need the honey they make to feed their young, so that’s just fine.
Mosquito fish are likely the best fish for hot climate aquaponics systems, especially if you’re not interested in eating the fish (tho they are edible if you’re so inclined). They can survive all kinds of calamities unfazed, don’t need a pump, breed like flies (they’re one of the few live-bearing fish), and even survive in a few cm of wet mud when the waterways here dry up in the summer. The ideal permaculture fish. Tho I’m trying other fish in the pond, I’ve kept mosquito fish most of my life and doubt anything can top them.
I sunk holed bricks and cages filled with stones in the pond to allow fry to hide. I also added some driftwood.
It’s December 25th. The tomatoes have completely overgrown their beds and are almost ready to be pulled, the celery is loving all the rain, and the sweet winter fruits are ripening. I find a surprising new source of free fertilizer right under my nose. Papayas I planted from seed just a few months ago are growing and flowering in their raised bed (compost over gravel).
I then venture into the wild looking for olive trees, and find plenty. Avoiding the ardent mushroom pickers down below, I also stumble onto an old abandoned olive grove on the mountainside.
Please excuse the poor video quality, the new phone I’ve been using is really not cutting it – Had to leave a lot of great stuff out because the video was too dark/grainy/motion blurred, making this a personally disappointing instalment. I’ll try to get another video device before continuing.
This is the companion video to the ‘making quick water cured olives’ vid I posted earlier today. I decided to separate them since most people looking for olive curing guides aren’t interested in the other stuff.
I demonstrate another water curing method with olives I foraged for. This method is harder work than the previous method I demonstrated, but the olives will be ready to eat much sooner.
A lot of people don’t eat salt, so this is a healthier alternative to eating traditional olives.
The more you change the water, the quicker they’ll cure. If you only change it once a week, it’ll take at least 4 weeks. If you’re changing it twice a day, they’ll be ready much sooner. You’ll notice the water will change colour to purple very quickly.
When the water begins to remain clear for a couple of days, taste an olive and see if they’re ready. It’s up to you how much to leech them. I personally leech until all the bitterness is gone, but some people like them slightly bitter.
Different sizes and varieties might have varying results. The shelf life of olives made using this method will be much shorter than with other methods, so refrigerate.
Update: 6 months later, and the olives are still good to eat, stored out of the fridge in a dark place.
Tomato-avocado-cucumber-lettuce wraps, with figs and grapes on the side. I make wraps like these everyday, varying the ingredients depending on what fruit and greens I have available. For super large wraps, you can use collard greens or chard.
My trusty camera phone met with an accident, and the one I’m using now isn’t really cutting it. Sorry about that.
Cherokee Purple, Super Marmande and Black Cherry are 3 of the heirloom tomatoes featured in this instalment.
A video I started before this one is coming soon, I got set back by the loss of my camera.