Tag Archives: Update

Wolf-Beach Farms updates

My posts here on my blog have been irregular at best. Many irons in the fire at the moment, but follow me on Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, or through e-mail and get the latest updates. Here are some of the current happenings and publications. If I am not writing here I am writing for one of the places below.

 

November 23rd full day homesteading class.

 

Midwest Sustainable Education Conference – As a co-founder, and presenter for the January conference, I have been helping get all the ducks in a row and organizing the space and materials. I have also been writing blog posts for the website and Facebook. Helping manage multiple websites, and social media accounts can take a drain on time resources.

PREPARE Magazine – PREPARE is a digital subscription which is free to sign up. I have had a couple of articles published here and even made the cover story once. PREPARE has stories on becoming more prepared for a variety of situations, as well has becoming more self sufficient, self reliant, and different how-to articles.

Aquaponics Survival Community – I have written a few articles for this paid subscription magazine which focuses on becoming more prepared and harnessing the great food production process through aquaponics. Articles on different techniques, problems, and solutions to what many aquaponics growers face.  

Brink of Freedom – Brink of Freedom is an online community page with a variety of contributors on topics of personal defense, permaculture, self reliant living and self sustainable lifestyles in addition to off-grid living. Brink of Freedom is now moving to both a online article community to a digital magazine publication as well. I have an article in the 1st issue, and one of my online articles we trending as #2 as most popular. Given some of the contributors, it was a shock to me when I looked at the stats.

New food project – No name for this project yet, but throwing some ideas around. I am working with a local chef to put together a class on using your food stores to make edible meals. Many people are starting to store some longer shelf life foods, for any number of reasons, but do they know how to make edible meals out of them? Rice and beans may store for a like time, but have you ever tried plain rice and beans? Have dehydrated or freeze dried foods? Can you make a decent meal even the kids would eat if the internet was down or you had no power? This class and possibly cookbook is the answer. What foods you should store, how to store them, what not to store, and then how to prepare them, even if only using a singly burner stove. Interested? Let me know, so we can start moving this project up on the list. You don’t have to wait until a situation requires you dive into the food stores. You should be rotating them as part of your every day meals. Eat what you store, store what you eat.

Permaculture consulting – Responding to projects, design questions and e-mails add up. I am consulting on a project in Central Florida, and a new project that a friend is starting up there. Consulting on a 300 acre farm here in Indiana, another 6 acre farm transformation and doing some experimenting with different techniques, plants and concepts here on my 0.2 acre property.

Be Prepares Series – Designing and construction of the individual sessions for the Be Prepares Series has taken some time. So many topics that could be covered in any given series they are really starting to add up.

Then there is the day to day here. Finally finishing off storage and preparation of the 500lbs of apples we picked this year. Apple fruit leathers are the latest preparation. Basically it is the dehydrated applesauce recipe using one of our food dehydrators. Tearing down our greenhouse for a new hoop house this spring, fodder system in the garage, milking goats in the spring, aquaponics in the garage, and making more food and supplies for scratch, and that is just some of the latest projects. Apparently everyone loved the home made pretzels this week. 4 trays of them were gone within 24 hrs. Super simple to make with easy ingredients. The home made croissants and buttermilk biscuits went over well, although I cannot claim them. The wife was on a baking kick last weekend.

If you ever have questions feel free to ask.

Planting Barrel V 2.0

So I took the time and redesigned what was a strawberry barrel and no came up with a planting barrel. You can put so much more than just strawberries in them. If you are limited on space, you just want to maximize space, or wanting a new way to display your flowering plants this could work. And bonus it has a built in composter/fertilizer in the center. In 2′ garden space there is not 60 different planting sites.

All of the steps are available for sale.

I started with a 55 gal white food grade barrel with the top cut off. These are available for $20

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Next I drilled drainage holes in the bottom. Also available for $20 and can be used for a potato barrel. You could probably get 3-4 layers of potatoes in one barrel, around 30-60 lbs of potatoes.

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Next pilot holes along the outside edge for cutting the holes.

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Using a jigsaw  I cut approximately 9″ lines between the holes but not connecting them.

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Using a blowtorch I softened the plastic and inserted empty wine bottles to hold the shape until the plastic cools. Do this in a well ventilated area, and make sure the caps are off the bottles. Learned that one hard way. If the bottles heat up and the cork/lids are still on they can explode from the pressure.

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You have to keep the row above filled with bottles while forming the second one down. As you heat the plastic the upper pockets will start to close.

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Here is the completed barrel with composted in the center and filled with compost/mulch mix ready to be planted. I plan on making this into a salad/herb garden, with varieties of lettuce, cooking herbs, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes and radishes. I will publish and post once the plants start to develop.

These are available for $70 empty,

$80 full of compost/mix,

$90 with composter and prepopulated with worms.

$120 filled with strawberries and all of the above

$150 filled with salad and cooking herb mix.

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These are made to order and some plants may not be available. Allow 2-3 days from order to availability. There may be an increased price based on plants requested. Delivery is also available and there may be a fee based on distance from SR 135 and Stop 11.

To order or ask questions use the contact us page or the consulting page.

Morning strawberries

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While it isn’t much our strawberry barrel is already producing strawberries after only 30 days of going in. Next year we should be getting much more we hope.

Aquaponics, Then and now

18 months ago we started with a greenhouse and some barrelponics. Barrelponics uses 55 gal barrels for fish and growing in an aquaponics system. We then moved to a pond liner and the floor being dug out, and used 4″ PVC drain pipe to contain plants. This worked for a while but learned some critical lessons.

1) If you do not harvest the entire plant, the root system will clog the pipes and you will have a reduced flow downstream. Since we use a constant flow system, this created overflow and loss of water, since the linter only covered the pond.

2) we extended the liner to everything under the pipes. This way if there was a leak or a backup, the liner would catch the water and no water loss.

3) the pipes and greenhouse were not heated this year, and as a result large ice masses formed. These masses were too heavy to support and resulted in system failure.

How we fixed the problems. We switched to a grow bed system, which has its own issues and problems but were much more manageable. These problems were grow media, weight issues, and plant support.  The grow media was solved by using lava rock from left over landscaping. No increased cost. The weight was solved by adding additional supports and using shelves father than lashing to the support structures.

This is May 2012

May 2012 Aquaponics

This is July 2012 after putting in the liner

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Here is how things look today. We have actually increased our growing area quite a bit. Still have a few more grow beds to add too.

 

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Medicinal Herb Garden, Then and now

So time for some updates. It has been a year since we put in our medicinal herb garden. Not only have the plants thrived but we have some new additions.

 Here is the garden before we started.

Herb Garden day 0

Herb Garden day 0

Here is the garden in May-June 2012

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Here is the garden today. Much growth. We also took down the boxwood bushes in the background and added a pergola. We added kiwi, goji berries, and hops to climb up and on the pergola.

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In the herb garden we added nettle, wintergreen, sweet grass, dill, white sage, valerian and a few others. Thanks to Hobbit gardens at the Indy farmers market.

 

We have harvested quite a bit. Chamomile, calendula, horseradish, comfrey, various mint, catnip, basil, feverfew, lavender, lemongrass, yarrow, and evening primrose. We hope to harvest more this year.

 

We have lots of other updates stay tuned.

Farm update June 2013

There has been a huge delay in posting and that is mainly because we have been busy teaching classes, taking classes, and getting our own homestead up and running with spring. We now have some more time so look for new posts and we are trying for one a week, and with photos. For instance, making a strawberry barrel, what the homestead looked like 1 year ago and today, more chickens, new gardens, new aquaponics, rebuilding greenhouse aquaponics. Stay tuned.

I am now taking Permaculture Design course from Geoff Lawton. I should gain my certificate in design and teaching later this summer. Already learning lots of new techniques and principals. If you have never heard of permaculture and Geoff Lawton, check out www.geofflawton.com .

We are now offering consulting on getting your own homestead up and running. From apartment dwellers to the 5 acre homestead. Until completion of the class larger acreage I can defer to someone else running a beyond organic farm. Check out the consulting page, for more details. This is just a rough idea on what we can offer. We also offer tours of our own homestead to allow you to see some of the principals in action.

In addition to the consulting we are also offering certain items for sale. Strawberry barrels, raised beds, aquaponic builds. Contact us for your specific request.