Archive for the ‘Farming’ Category

The aquaponics trial system

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

I may have been banned from building it until the house is done, but that doesn’t stop me from thinking about it or collecting bits and pieces as they come along.

While doing the negotiating on the solar panels and electrical control gear for the house I purchased the panels and electrical control gear for the aquaponics set up as well. The shed will run an identical control set up except it will be 12 volt based rather than the 24 volt of the house system. 2kw in panels, control gear and an 1100Ah 12 volt battery bank has cost us under $5700. We will eventually plug in a couple of wind turbines to this system as well giving us ample power to expand the operation as we need to.

Most of the components of this shed will be running 12 volt.

Current farming activities

Friday, May 11th, 2012

As you may have guessed, with 140+ acres at our fingertips we also are partaking in some farming activities.

You may have also guessed when the weather for building is not suitable we’re busy working on other projects for the farming side of our enterprise.

These projects are conventional at the moment but we soon plan to introduce some of the unconventional.

We have several woodlots planted across the block with hundreds more trees scheduled to be planted late in August this year. The trees will be part of a managed forest so we are able to reap benefit from the trees through selective harvesting for firewood and lumber. There will also be many stands of high quality fodder trees planted allowing us to continue feeding fresh material to our animals long after the feed in the paddocks has died off into summer. With the tree lots will come bee hives and honey will soon be available.

At the moment we are free ranging quality beef and sheep in conjunction with one of our neighbours. We would soon like to add pork, ducks and chickens (meat and egg) to that list of free ranged livestock. We also have plans for rabbit and quail although these will be intensively farmed to protect them from predation and the rabbits confined to mosquito proof housing to protect them from the calici and myxoma viruses.

Part of the unconventional will soon include an aquaponics setup. Aquaponics is the combination of hydroponics and aquaculture that delivers a symbiotic benefit to both systems. With fish present this also means chemicals such as synthetic fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides CANNOT be used, making the end produce as good as organic – without the certification of course. In this system we will be able to grow a variety of delicious heirloom veggies, bringing back true flavour to the dinner plate.

On the fish side we hope to soon be able to bring native perches and freshwater shellfish to the market.

Once this is all in place farmgate sales will be ready for retailing produce direct to the consumer.