Tag Archives: Aquaponics

Upcoming events

Class at the Indiana Flower and Patio Show – Introduction to Permaculture Thursday 3-13-14 1-3pm

Class at the Indiana Flower and Patio Show – Aquaponics  Sunday 3-16-14 1-2pm

FREE class at The Point Church and Community Center – Introduction to gardening and food production 3-22-14 10am-noon

A few updates

Now that we have had a little of warmer weather is seems as things are going full speed ahead. I wanted to give a little update on several of the projects and activities for anyone following.

Indianapolis Flower and Patio Show

I will be presenting Permaculture Thursday 3-13-14 and Aquaponics on Sunday 3-16-14. More details.

Website

We will be migrating our website to a different host to be able to give more features, benefits, and more freedoms. There may be a bump in this transition. You can always follow us on Facebook as well.  If you are wanting to schedule a class, or consulting time check out the available time/dates on the calendar.

Greenhouse

The greenhouse is 70% dismantled. I decided to tear it down this winter due to the inability to expand it, heat it, and cool it in summer. I decided to build a hoop house instead over the existing pond and growing area.

Hoop house

The V1.0 of the hoop house was an utter failure big lesson learned. It was a test, and using materials I already but didn’t stand up to the 10” of snow we got in one day. I used PEX tubing, and some rebar along with clear 6mil plastic sheeting.

The version 2.0 was another big lesson learned. I used 10’ PVC pipe and attempted to connect with “T” fittings in the middle and bend the 20’ sections into an arch. Well the pipe would bend, the “T” couldn’t handle the stress and I shattered 3 trying to make the hoop.

Version 3.0 was to make it in an “A” frame just to get something out and plants in the ground. So far this is holding. Version 4.0 I am on the lookout for metal “T” fittings and try it again. Pictures of all will come when I write them up.

Podcast

In the near future I and another individual will launch a new podcast. We are focusing on topics we hold important and highlight local small businesses in the process. There will be podcasts of each of us on various topics, podcasts of discussions (we both have the gift of gab), interviews, and even Q&A from listeners. We modeled a lot off what Jack Spirko has done with TSP. He paved the way for a great podcast. We wanted to focus on things locally that impacted us here in the Midwest as well as highlight local small business owners. If you are a small business owner and would like to discuss being on the show let me know. There are some requirements before we ever put an advertiser, local business, or recommend anyone or anyplace to listeners. If you have a topic that you think people would be interested in again, please let me know. More details when we have everything in place probably in the next week. We are both very excited to get this out. Not everyone can attend classes, so we can reach more people while in their commute, at work, doing dished, or just hanging out at home.

Logo

Our new logo is back at the designers. 1st round comments went back and we are waiting on the revised images.

Alternative Gardening MeetUp

I ran a poll on the Alternative Gardening MeetUp site and we are now adding Homesteading to the mix. It just flowed since you would need to do something with the food you produced, and most of the people in the group were already interested in the topic. If you are not a member, we are building meetings all the time. Here is the new site. http://www.meetup.com/AlternativeGardeningHomesteading/

Tour of our place

We will be scheduling tours as soon as our property dries up and some green starts to show again.

Midwest Sustainable Education Conference

We had to cancel the conference due to lack of interest. We didn’t meet the minimum number needed before the deadline at the resort. This was a tough decision, but had to do it. If you were interested in attending, but didn’t register, I would love to know how we could have improved it. We will look to offer another conference in fall. Spring-Fall is the busiest time for all who were involved.

Indiana Homesteading and Preparedness Conference Feb 22, 2014

I recently scheduled a series of classes here in Indy. We are calling this the Indiana Homesteading and Preparedness Conference. This will be the first we hope of many in the future. We have a lineup of other great presenters in the future. Things like cheese making, soap making, goats, rabbits, back yard chickens, upcycling materials, improvised weapons, baton training, NRA training, and so much more. Want more leave a comment on what you want to see.

Here is the schedule for the Permaculture and related classes. Two of them are the same I gave during the MSE conference; one is what will be given at the NEXT MSE conference in March (estimated), held in Kentucky. We will be bringing it back here to Indiana this fall

All are pre-pay registration. This is to ensure we have seats, and the seats are filled. Too often people RSVP then don’t show.

Attending any of the classes? Hang out at Black Swan after the conference, socialize and build some community.   Everything is held on Feb 22 out in Plainfield Indiana at the Cambria Suites.

8-9 Introduction and starting your garden

9-11 Introduction to permaculture

11-12 Canning water bath and pressure

1-3 Applying Permaculture Principals

3-4 Dehydrating

4-6 Aquaponics

6-8 Medicinal Herbs

RSVP through the Alternative Gardening Meetup. http://www.meetup.com/AlternativeGardening/

I have partnered up with a pair here in Indy to offer some great security and personal defense classes. Very knowledgeable people.

8am-12pm Utah Permits

1pm-5pm Refuse to be a victim

5-7 pm Introduction to preparedness

The RSVP on Meetup http://www.meetup.com/Indiana-Disaster-Preparedness/

What a year!

                This week I received a congratulatory e-mil for having my site for one year. Many things have changed, evolved, grown, since that first month. While the site has been up for one year, it wasn’t until June that I began putting real content.

                During the entire month of November 2012 I had only 102 hits to our site. While I still don’t have the total numbers for November as of yet, in October it was 1,621 and November is trending to be bigger than October.  My average hits for November 2012 was 4 hits per day. Today, November is trending at 69 hits per day. Although most of my earlier hits were where I checked to see how updates looked and navigate the page.

                A year ago I was not posting regularly, had no Facebook presence, no twitter presence. I was actually opposed to Facebook but decided to use it to reach more potential readers in June of 2013. That is about the time I started to regularly publish blogs and information. I have integrated my site to post updates on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn each time there is a new article. You can follow, like, or + on any of these social media sites and I encourage you to like, and share. Help me reach more audience members. Adding these social media outlets has allowed me to reach people, and make new friends whom I normally might not have come across some local, some as far as Singapore, London, and Australia.

                A year ago I was working full time, trying to farm and garden, blog about it, and spend time with the family. I was spreading my time too thin across everything in my life. Today I am at home with the family, building more relationships, and focusing more time on building the farm, and educating others. I used to dread getting up each day, driving into work, and couldn’t wait for the weekends. I wake up each day happy and looking forward to “work”. When you do something you love it really isn’t work. I love teaching classes, I love expanding people’s knowledge and sharing what I have learned.

                This year I scheduled my first full day class on Homesteading. Up until 1391797_568973436507889_510742523_nthis point I had been giving smaller classes to help a small business grow. I gave my first Trade School Indy class with more planned for next year.  I also collaborated with two other presenters Jason Akers from The Self Sufficient Gardner, and Darby Simpson from Darby Simpson Consulting for my first 2 day conference on permaculture and sustainable agriculture and cofounded Midwest Sustainable Education Conference. Both of which still have openings, but are having seats filled almost each day.

                After learning about permaculture and beginning to implement at my property five years ago, I was finally able to achieve my Permaculture Design Certificate. Due to the distance, and time constraints I would have probably 001never been able to take one of these onsite at a location and especially from Geoff Lawton himself. I was able to be part of Geoff Lawton’s online PDC. I think I actually got more from the online class than I would have gotten from an onsite course. I can and have reviewed the videos on a few topics. There was the Earthworks bonus DVD, Soil DVD, Edible Forrest I and II, then all the bonus Q&A videos. I estimate the 72 hr course was really more like 120 hour.  Some skills and principals I had learned over the years, but the course put things into a different perspective, and I understood why the principals worked vs. just knowing that they worked.

                A year ago I had one aquaponic system which was an ever evolving design. Today I have 4 systems in operation. A year ago we had 8 laying hens, today we have 25. Not all reside at our suburban home however. A year ago we would have never let people tour our property. Today we have regular tours and help show people just some of the possibilities of what you can accomplish in a suburban back yard. A year ago we had three fruit trees on our 0.2 acre lot and had not gotten any fruit thus far. Today we have 8 fruit trees, numerous fruiting bushes, and vines climbing all over. We now also have access to 20 fruiting trees, berry bush patches we nurtured over the last year. We were able to can over 100 jars of homemade applesauce. We harvested peaches, pears, raspberries, blackberries, and a variety of apples this year. Normally we would have bought all this fresh fruit. We reduced our water bill significantly by using deep mulch and water collection through rain barrels.

                A year ago we were spending thousands of dollars on child care. This year we have none. A year ago 90% or more of our food came from the big box stores. Now it is less than 40%. What we don’t produce ourselves, we buy or barter with other local producers. A year ago we paid big bucks to bring dangerous chemicals into our house in the form of soaps, laundry detergent, and toothpastes etc. Today we make our own from natural alternative at a fraction of the cost and without the harsh chemicals. As a result we feel out health has improved.

                A year ago I was working on a job I hated and worked 40+ hours a week, spent a great deal of time in the car during a commute, and had not much more money in my pocket if I had not been working. After gas, child care, and other related expenses, I wasn’t really bringing home that much more money. While at home, I spend more time with my family, I can get more chores done around the house, make my own soaps, grow my own food, and make more home cooked meals. What I save from doing these activities makes up for what little money I lost by working full time.

               I have started writing for a variety of publications such as Aquaponics Survival Community, PREPARE Magazine, Brink of Freedom, and Midwest Sustainable Education Conference in addition to what I publish here.

                I think I have come a long way in just a year. This is not to brag about all that I have done. It is a way to journal, and show what you too can accomplish. This is just after one year. 2014 will be better yet. We have more classes, more growing activities, more tours, and more expansion of our microfarm. Many plants that were planted this year will be producing next year such as Kiwi, Goji berries, hops, and grapes to name a few. With new partnerships, new friends, and new connections I can reach more people, teach more people, and share more on how you too can accomplish things like this. While it is only November, think about what you want to accomplish next year. Is it to grow more of your own food? Is it to have your own back yard flock? Do you want to learn how to can some of your own food? Do you want to free yourself from harsh chemicals in your home? Do you want to free yourself from the 40 hr work week? Do you want to learn how permaculture and sustainable agriculture can help you accomplish this? Start thinking about how you can take control of your life and stop letting things and others control it for you. Attend one of the upcoming classes.  Or contact us for how we can help.

November 23 full day on homesteading

January 11-12 Sustainable Agriculture which is for both urban and rural properties.

Build an aquaponics system for under $50

Recently I hosted a tour from the great folks from Aquatic Design. A local company that sells, installs, and services ponds and other waterscapes. They are beginning to enter the world of aquaponics, and wanted to see some real examples from the area. Granted my system are no commercial operation, nor are they often pretty to look at. I mean, I use kitty litter boxes as biofilters. It was cheap (free), I felt accomplished, I did it myself, it works, I can replace parts easily and inexpensively (free).  

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The tour was a learning experience for both I felt. I shared my experiences and lessons learn, often the hard way, and what I, as a new consumer, or someone just getting into aquaponics might be asking, looking for, and solutions to some problems I encountered. I have been a past customer of Aquatic Design and probably continue to be. It was a great feeling when they asked me to come see their new building which will house their aquaponics examples and configurations and maybe give advice as they were setting things up. I felt like all my lessons learned the hard way, shortfalls, and set backs were for a reason. I didn’t need to go to a course, an educational institution, or pay a big chunk of money for the education I had experienced. So when I tell people you don’t need to spend a ton of money on videos, books or classes, to learn about aquaponics I come speaking from experience.  

 While they were here I talked about the largest system 4500 gal outdoor down to my smallest system 30 gallon. As of now we have 4 systems in operation. 4500 gal outdoor pond, 3000 gal currently in a greenhouse but being converted to hoop house, the newest a 275 gal poly tote in the garage – still under development, and the 30 gal inside our kitchen/dining room. This 30 gal is something many people can put into place for inexpensively, it is a great conversation piece, it is entertainment, it is educational for kids of almost all ages, and in my mind, it’s really cool.

 

4500 gal system

4500 gal outdoor system

3000 gal greenhouse system
3000 gal greenhouse system
275 gal still under development

275 gal still under development

Tubs on top of the 275 gal tank. Using Raft grow system

Tubs on top of the 275 gal tank. Using Raft grow system, romaine, celery, and azola growing

30 gal indoor system

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Romaine from purchased head

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Romaine 3 days later

I made this system a continuous recycling flow system. I got the aquarium from a friend who was throwing it out. Free. You can look on Craigslist, Goodwill, or friends and family for aquariums. Many times people would love to get rid of them. Bonus if you get pumps or other stuff with it you can use later.

The rocks on the bottom of the tank are landscaping lava rocks. Mine were free. The previous owner of my current house landscaped with it. I hate the stuff in the yard. Again free. (well, if you count the $10 I pay kids to collect if they want to earn money). Fish habitat or hiding spaces I used left over PVC pipe from another project. Find them at building sites, or look around. It could be old Tupperware, or food containers just something for the fish to swim in and out of.

I actually paid for the submersible pump. But it was 75% off so I think I paid $10. Some big box stores will clearance pond and fountain pumps in fall and early winter. Just watch for sales. Or it may come with your aquarium you got for free. You can watch Goodwill and I have seen fountains or other pumps on occasion. Worst case $30 or so retail price.

The grow beds are wash bins. This was a Goodwill special and I only paid $0.25 each. Dollar Store has them for a buck. The grow media, lava rock again. Do not pay for the extruded clay. Not worth the extra money in my opinion. I drilled holes in the bins and had the pump take water from the tank, pump into the bins, and out the drainage holes in the bottom. It is important to add more holes than you think is necessary, because over time roots and other gunk can fill the holes and it will overflow. Another important lesson, add overflow holes below the lip. VERY important, if you don’t, and your drainage holes become clogged, your tank will overflow, and all your water will go onto the floor. Want to know how I learned this?

Because of the location in my house the system doesn’t get enough direct light to support plant growth. So I added a florescent light. The light, the stand, and the bulbs maybe $30. I made the stand out of PVC pipe and fittings. I could have just as easily hung from the ceiling and saved the cost. I use this system sometimes when I to talks or presentations and the stand is needed for display purposes. You need to use a bulb that will hit 2700K to 6500K, read the labels on the bulbs. Choose a T5 over a T12 type of bulb. T5 is higher intensity over T12, and more efficient use of energy. The fixture should match the bulb type, T5 bulbs fit in T5 fixtures. You could use HID, or LED. But for the money and energy I found fluorescent was just fine. HID gives off too much heat, and LED was too expensive. With fluorescent lights you want them 2-6 inches from the plants. The light needed for photosynthesis loses its intensity after 6 inches using fluorescent bulbs. HID can be several feet away because it is a more intense light (and 2-6 inches will literally cook your plants).  

We have some kale, some medicinal plants, and a philodendron, which are poisonous, but we can split and propagate to other containers to sell, or help purify the air in the house. We always leave the main plant so that there is always a plant purifying the water in the system. We have had tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach, parsley, basil, cilantro, marigold and more. You can get plants from what many people think of wastes. We have started planting the bottoms of romaine lettuce. It was originally just an experiment, but now we are just harvesting the leaves for food. Celery is another plant that can be planted from the hearts when you buy them at the store. Here is another list of plants you can plant from cuttings when buying food. You can also regrow scallions, 3+ years of cuttings from the same plant.

Regrow

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Celery, this is the 4th regrowth for this plant

I got feeder fish from the pet store $0.12 each. I got a plecostomus (sucker fish) to eat the algae off the sides so I didn’t have to do it. $2.00. I feed the fish azola or duckweed I grow myself. So feeding them is free.  From an educational standpoint there are so many things to learn. From the 2 year old feeding and watching the fish, to adults and learning about the nitrogen cycle. There are lots of lessons to be learned. Want to learn more. Contact us, or follow us here, on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.  Or come see us in person November 23rd for a full day class on homesteading, growing your own food, preserving your own food and more! Ensure your spot is reserved by registering and prepaying for the class. Schedule your own series of classes with the Be Prepared Series.

Full day homesteading skills class

Thanks to everyone who completed the survey for what people are looking for as far as education here in Indy. Here is the first response to that. Based on the survey results this is what most people wanted to see.

Full day homesteading basics class. 8 full hours plus free samples to take home. As of now here is the breakdown of the class. This is for people from apartments to rural areas. I will give examples of how you can implement in just about any situation. I will bring examples, what materials I use, photos, and a CD/DVD of resources I use when I need additional information.

Class will be $40 per person or $60/couple. If bringing the family or more than 2 please contact me for other arrangements. Pay in advance or at the door. Cash only at the door. You will save the cost of the class alone if you just adopt and use a few of the topics mentioned.  Due to the limitations of Meetup payments (can’t do discounts based on number of people) contact me if you want to pay in advance with cash or use electronic payment.

Register through one of the Meetup groups below although not required. There is a limited number of seats but should accommodate a larger class size but to guarantee a seat registration is recommended.

http://www.meetup.com/AlternativeGardening/

http://www.meetup.com/Indiana-Disaster-Preparedness/

Here is what is being offered. I can add additional topics if time and my experience permits. Seats, and tables provided along with two large overhead screens for notes and examples. There will be breaks and a lunch period as well. Bring your lunch or visit one of the many local places.

  1. Backyard Grocery (fall is one of the best times to start this)
    1. Mini Orchard
    2. Vegetable garden
    3. Edible landscaping
    4. Aquaponics
    5. Backyard Chickens
    6. Goats
    7. Bees
    8. Rabbits
    9. Vertical Gardening
    10. Potatoes
    11. Container Gardening
    12. Medicinal Herbs
    13. Composting and mulch
    14. Water harvesting and rainbarrels
  2. Food Preservation (what to do with everything you harvest)
    1. Canning
      1. Water bath canning
      2. Pressure canning
    2. Dehydrating
    3. Freezing
    4. Smoking
    5. Fermenting
  3. DIY
    1. Laundry soap – how to make – free samples 5 ingredients or less
    2. Tooth paste – how to make – free samples 3 ingredients or less
    3. Bar soap – how to make –(free samples if cured in time)
    4. Fire starters – how to make
    5. Homemade bread – very simple steps <5 ingredients. Way more healthy for family
    6. Homemade pasta – very simple steps <5 ingredients. Way more healthy for family
    7. Make your own ethanol
    8. Battery backup for emergency home power use
    9. Make your own generator from your car with an inverter

Permaculture multiple diciplines all in one

                Many people are just starting to learn about permaculture. I wrote an intro a while back. While some say it isn’t rocket science, it is a combination of many traditional disciplines from school. I recently received an e-mail about a job that is opening up, Urban Agriculture Extension Specialist. I thought wow; this may be just up my alley. I just completed my permaculture certificate and I wanted to specialize in suburban and urban settings. No luck, they wanted a Masters degree and several semesters of agriculture classes, but why? Permaculture is so much more. In my opinion, it is way beyond anything I learned in school. Here are some examples of how the sciences are blended, and some common terms that are thrown around in permaculture circles and my own interpretation of what they mean.

Agronomy – science of soil management and crop production. This is one of the fundamentals of permaculture. Without rich soil it is hard to grow anything.

Anatomy – The study of organisms and their parts. To fully understand the relationships of plants, organisms, animals you have to understand how they work, and then how they work together.

Anthropology – The study of the origin, behavior, and the physical, social, and cultural development of humans. While it is not in much detail, learning about how previous civilizations and cultures worked the land, gives insight and we are now often repeating some of their practices.

Bacteriology – The study of bacteria, especially in relation to medicine and agriculture. Definitely here used in permaculture. Bacteria are in the soil, in aquaponics, in circles of organisms used in permaculture designs.

Biochemistry – The study of the chemical substances and processes in living organisms. How to the plants and animals interact, nitrogen fixing, and bioaccumulation.

Biology – The science of life and living organisms. Basically all of permaculture relates to biology in some way.

Botany – The study of plants. You will get to know plants on a whole new level.

Cartography – The art or technique of making maps or charts. Designing maps, layouts for properties, how to read various types of maps and layouts. Designing your own maps and layouts is a key aspect in permaculture design.

Chemistry – The science of the composition, structure, properties, and reactions of matter, especially of atomic and molecular systems. From chemistry of the soil, to chemistry of plants, chemistry of nutrients in feed, to aquaponics. Chemistry is all over.

Ecology – The study of organisms and their environment. This again is basic permaculture. Before I heard about the term permaculture, I had considered going back to school for ecology. Glad I didn’t. It is just a small portion of what I have learned.

Engineering – The application of scientific, economic, social, and practical knowledge in order to design, build, and maintain structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes. From building, dams, waterways, bridges, houses, water catchment. There are all sorts of engineering concepts at work.

Entomology – The scientific study of insects, both beneficial and harmful insects. What bugs like to eat your plants, and what bugs like to eat the bugs eating your plants? Who is a good pollinator, and who will make you cry when it is harvest time.

Forestry – The science and art of cultivating, maintaining, and developing forests. From edible food forests, to orchards, to harvesting trees for fuel or other properties, trees are a big part of permaculture.

Genetics – The study of heredity and inherited traits. Breeding your own plants, what plants will cross pollinate. How to get a species to grow in your area with your soil makeup, your temperature, be disease and drought resistant, and produce a good edible product?

Geography – The study of the earth and its features. Using the features of the land to work with your design, rather than making the land features what you want. Learning about terrain, and natural makings of the earth’s features are a key component in permaculture.

Herbology – The study and use of medicinal properties of plants. The vast majority of today’s pharmaceuticals aka drugs came from plants. There are some many beneficial medicinal plants out there, you will learn quite a bit.

Horticulture – The science, technology, and business involved in intensive plant cultivation for human use. While this is permaculture the big schools have made this into monocroping and how to grow corn, soy, and wheat and not much else, and adding lots of chemicals in the process. At its base, horticulture is permaculture.

Hydrology The study of the properties and effects of water on earth. Here again, a base fundamental of permaculture. Hydrating the soil and making the most of the water.

Ichthyology The study of fish. In ponds, streams, and aquaponics, knowing what the appropriate fish for your application are, and what ones to avoid are important.

Medicine The science of diagnosing and treating disease and damage to the body. Similar to herboilogy we can grow so much of our own medicines; we could potentially put the pharmaceutical companies out of business.

Meteorology The study of weather and atmospheric conditions. Studying the weather patterns, winter sun, summer sun, and rainy seasons, are an iatrical part of permaculture.

Microbiology The study of microorganisms and their effects on other living organisms. From under the soil, to in the compost bin the various microbes in the soil are an important part of permaculture.

Mineralogy The study of minerals, including their distribution, identification, and properties. Knowing what minerals are in your soil is important, but what is also important is how to obtain lacking minerals, where are those minerals found, what plants can harvest certain minerals, and how to use them.

Mycology The branch of botany that deals with fungi. From breaking down toxins, to making new soil fungus is among us in permaculture.

Nutrition The study of food and nourishment. What plants produce what nutrition? What does your body need, what plants and nutrients to the animals need? What nutrients do the plants need? It is all related.

Thermodynamics The study of relationships and conversions between heat and other forms of energy. From making greenhouse, to heat sinks out of rocks, to how to design you house or structure so that you are using less energy to heat or cool. Understanding thermodynamics and how it works is important.

Toxicology The study of poisons and the treatment of poisoning. Some plants are toxic, some are beneficial in small amounts but overdue it and it is death. Some species thrive in toxic environments. But like herbology, understanding how much of a good thing to use before it becomes something bad.

Zoology The study of the structure, physiology, development, and classification of animals. Lifecycles of plants, animals and insects, or when to introduce chickens into an area to break the invasive insect species life cycle is part of permaculture.

 

“Chop and Drop” – Chop and drop is a means to get green compost. It simply means to cut living plans and drop whey they lay or apply to another area.

“Contour” – The parts of the property all at the same elevation. Think of a hill. If you were to take a giant samurai sword and cut through the entire hill all at exactly a level horizontal line, that would be a contour line. Now, keep slicing up and down every few feet. You would get a topographical map. The lines on a topographical map are all on the same elevation.

“Food forest” – This is an intentional planting of trees, bushes, plants so that once established will need very little maintenance and will continually produce food for people and animals.

“Middle story” – The middle layer of tree or shrub growth part of the forest.

“Monocrop” – Growing only one species of crops in an area. What you see conventional farming. This required large amounts of chemicals to be sustainable, which it is not, and is killing the soil.

“Nitrogen Fixer” – a plant that absorbs nitrogen from the air and through a symbiotic relationship with bacteria deposit the nitrogen into the soil at the roots.

“Over Story” – The upper part of the canopy or forest.

“Swales” – Ditch with a hill on the down side of a slope. A swale can be any number of sizes it all depends on where it will be used. From a few inches across and deep to large enough to drive a large tractor in. It is a ditch, with the dirt piled on the downhill side of the ditch. The goal is to trap water, allow it to seep into the ground as opposed to running off the property. Trees are typically planted in the piled up earth.

“Understory” – The lower part of the food forest. Ground level.

“Water flows at 90 degrees to contour” – What this basically means is water will run downhill. If you were on a contour line, and emptied a pail of water it would run 90 degrees to the line. Or another way of saying it, it would try to dun downhill. But when you are trying to map out a property, and keep the water on the property as long as you can, it is important to know which direction the water will go wherever you are standing. A common way to say this is it will run 90 degrees to the current contour line you are examining.

“Water Harvesting” – This cam mean several things. But basically you want to collect all the water you can. From rain water, to runoff, to creeks, etc. water is the backbone of your permaculture project. You must have water to feed the microbes, which feed the soil, which in turn feeds the plants. Harvesting can be in the form of rain barrels, swales, or dams and ponds.

Eating local

This harvest was grown with no chemicals, no man made fertilizers and cost little to nothing to produce. 100% organic, and traveled just feet from my door. How far did your food travel today? What was used on it? Do you know where you food has been? How much are organic apples, tomatoes or organically raised meat, running in the stores these days?

apples

This is from just 1 hour harvesting from some of our apple trees. We have two 55-gal drums full of apples and only started to make a dent in the harvest.  More picking this weekend. Each bin weighs about 150 lbs.

Tomatoes

two plants one harvest. All this came from only two plants in our aquaponics greenhouse in one day. This will go great into the home made v-8. using almost entirely things from our gardens.

Barter meat

So we are not currently producing our own meat, other than eggs. But I was able to barter some meat for apples. Some really nice brats, and package of chicken from a local farmer (Simpson Family Farm). I literally helped raise some of these. I knew exactly how they were raised and where processed. I know the farmer. I have been “interning” learning the ways or organic meat production in return for labor.

So our meal tonight, home made pasta, brats, salad, and baked apples, I know where 90% came from. As I either grew it or had a hand in producing it. The exception is the flour for the pasta, and oils in the dressing. Majority of ingredients in the salad came from our back yard. The cheese, the local farmers market. Hopefully we will be making our own cheese in the near future. Croutons, I made from home made bread. 5 years ago I wouldn’t have thought all this possible. Today, I am thinking what can I produce next?

Suburban Farm Tour 9-21-13 10am

If you are local to the Indianapolis area we are hosting a group tour to see in person and ask questions some of the things we have used on our micro farm in the city. See the three aquaponic systems in action, back yard chickens, medicinal herbs, water harvesting, edible landscapes just to name a few. Ask questions, tips, techniques and see some of the items we have for sale. This will be scheduled through Meetup Alternative Gardening group. If you are not already a member of Meetup there is a link below. We are having it on Saturday September 21st 10am.

Group Tour info

Backyard Gardening for a Sustainable Lifestyle – Class Scheduled

Summer is dwindling down and fall will soon be upon us. Come find out why this is the perfect time to start planning and even starting your productive gardens. Landscaping and gardening doesn’t just have to be about pretty flower garden or doesn’t just have to be about vegetable gardens. You can combine them. Come learn about aquaponics, back yard chickens, medicinal herb gardens, edible landscapes, water harvesting, permaculture and much, much more. Recent graduate from Geoff Lawtons Permaculture design course and willing to help you turn your space into a productive one. Reduce your grocery bill, turn your hobby into an income generator, reduce your dependency on pharmaceuticals. Live in an apartment, or rent, you can garden too! Come learn how. This talk will be a broad coverage of many topics, and more in-depth class on topics will be scheduled for interested people.

Meeting at the Franklin Township Civic League
8822 Southeastern Ave. Indianapolis IN 46239

Meeting to start 7 pm

Alternative Gardening

Indiana Disaster and Survival Preparedness