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PostPosted: Nov 16th, '13, 17:50 
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I have played around in the garden a little bit and after some last night tried to put together a blue drum wicking bed.

I want to use it for some chicken forage and a comphrey plant. First I thought I build two or three of them and place them inside the chicken run with covers so I could lock the chickens out when the plants need a break to do some growing. But now I go with cutting down the plants, I hope to get some more growth out of them and don't have to start all over again after the chicken go berserk in the grow beds.

The bottom layer is a 90mm storm water pipe with a small air stone inside and shade cloth at the ends to keep the gravel which surrounds the pipe out of it. The system is connected to the aquaponics system and I just have to open a tap to top up the water in the reservoir. With all the rain at the moment, which plays havoc with the beneficial bacteria and I get big spikes of ammonia and nitrites after a decent train shower, it keeps the tanks at overflow level. I think the lower pH of the fish tank water will better than the pH 8.2 bore water. Over the gravel is a newspaper layer (the only good use you can get out of NTNews) and on top some layers of used mulch hay from the rabbits and chickens and garden blend (sand, potting mix, cow manure) and a little bit seed starter on top. The whole lot is covered with clear corrugated sheeting to keep the rain out. There is also an overflow in line with the top of the gravel.

Can now somebody list the faults I got in the system? :-D

If this one works I will make another one out of half an ibc for the stuff which is not doing well in the aquaponics system.

Cheers

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Last edited by Gwydion on Nov 16th, '13, 18:04, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Nov 16th, '13, 18:00 
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And some pictures...


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Follow our farm on Facebook (soon updated to new minituare Farm)
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PostPosted: Nov 16th, '13, 18:01 
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one more...


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PostPosted: Nov 16th, '13, 21:14 
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Gwydion,

That's a fantastic idea with the plastic cover……I assume that the corrugations allow for airflow too which is brilliant!!

I can't quite work out your setup with the pipe and the plumbing. Are there holes in the pipe or just the shade cloth at the ends? What is the small white riser pipe for? I assume that you fill directly into the PVC pipe in the bottom of the barrel?

I have got a couple of barrels surplus to requirements and the moment and might give this a go!!

Cheers,

Gags


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PostPosted: Nov 16th, '13, 22:03 
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Hello Gabe

There are lots of holes in the bottom of the pipe plus the shade cloth. The standpipe is for easier nutrient addition, I.e. seasol of even dynamic pellets/chicken shit, that is also the reason for the air stone.

I got some old computer fans, maybe I will add a 50mm 12v one to one side if the temps are too high. That can run of battery/solar later.

Cheers

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PostPosted: Nov 17th, '13, 11:07 
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Gwydion, that's a great little system you have there. am also doing some conversions on blue barrels for wicking beds, just cutting them in halves as I was to use them for small fruit trees. IBC's also make great wicking beds if you can get them at a good price. Will throw a couple of pics up of my barrel set-up when one is finished!

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PostPosted: Nov 17th, '13, 11:11 
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Thanks myst.

I found a small problem this morning. I underestimated the weight and flexibility of the drum.

The drum is resting on two 50mm box sections welded on an angle to the side of the container roughly 500mm apart. This morning I had to lift the full drum up again and lay some 100mm angle over the ends of the box section to spread the load better.

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PostPosted: Nov 17th, '13, 17:51 
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Well, I shamelessly ripped off your idea this afternoon and put together a very similar system using a blue barrel that I had laying around.

I had a similar issue that you had in regards to the barrel flexing and so I put it hard up against the sleepers on one of my raised garden beds and then I drove in a couple of 3 foot lengths of steel reo bar to hold the sides of the barrel in place.

I also used 90 mm PVC and just put in an elbow with a short standpipe section (and cap) that I will use to fill it.

Thanks for the idea Gwydion!!

Gags

Attachment:
File comment: Starting to go together
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Attachment:
File comment: Rocks and shadecloth in and checking the water level.
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Attachment:
File comment: Finished product - put in a few spinach, a chilli, a couple of capsicum, and some radish seeds.
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PostPosted: Nov 17th, '13, 18:29 
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Looks good, I got the idea from a seed starter setup here in the forum.

I like that barrel, the grooves helped to keep the pipe in place, didn't they?

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PostPosted: Nov 17th, '13, 18:35 
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If you like spinach, try some Kang Kong - water spinach, that grows like weed in my aquaponics and so far I put 6 seeds in it as well and all of them came up after 3 days. I actually started to cut seeds away so the plant doesn't take over the grow bed. My chickens and rabbits also like it. I tried it in some stir fries.

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Follow our farm on Facebook (soon updated to new minituare Farm)


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PostPosted: Nov 17th, '13, 19:12 
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I love this idea :)
Look forward to trying it.

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PostPosted: Nov 18th, '13, 17:55 
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48 hours after planting the seeds.

The top looks a little bit dry. But it's using lots of water...


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Gwydions chicken (all eaten)
BSF Composter (was great but discontinued)
Gwydions second system (didn't go past planning phase)
Follow our farm on Facebook (soon updated to new minituare Farm)
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PostPosted: Nov 19th, '13, 04:11 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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It doesn't do any harm to give them a top water I know always top water now
But I wouldn't publicize it you will get the purists that will say [you cant call that a wicking bed]

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