News from the ‘Mews’ – March 2015

It’s been a busy month on our new property just north of Geelong in Victoria, Australia. We live in a ‘Mews’ and I decided that my monthly wrap up will fittingly be called ‘News from the Mews.’ So here’s to the first instalment where I share our sustainable living tips each month.

I’ve previously introduced the concept of ‘Permaculture’ – you can read more about it here. In these monthly wrap ups I hope to show you how we’re using permaculture principles on our property to reap great rewards – think eggs, fresh veggies, savings through recycling.

So, this was March 2015

+ We set up the greenhouse and replaced our old corrugated iron water tank. I cut down the old tank to make 3 raised veggie garden beds and a compost area for the chooks to scratch around in. We want to re-use and recycle where possible.

recycle, recycling, water tank, sustainable living

+ I am also setting up our Aquaponics System. It’s made from two 1000 litre ICB containers. The grow beds are full of media (I chose to use washed 14mm scoria & grow stones – they’re made from recycled glass. Using the mix of scoria & grow stones keeps the cost down) and I am getting the ‘nitrogen cycle bacteria’ established before I add the fish (rainbow trout) and plant out the veggies. We’re very much looking forward to fresh fish and veggies from the system.

aquaculture tanks, sustainable living, auaculture

A quick walk around the veggie gardens sees:

+ The last of our tomatoes and beans. They cropped really well and the tomatoes were lovely & sweet.

+ Onions are also coming to a close.

+ Sweet Corn was phenomenal, best crop I’ve ever grown. Plenty of sweet, juicy cobs were enjoyed!

+ The capsicums were a bit of a disappointment; the bushes grew well, but fruit did not get much bigger than tennis ball size. Not sure why?

+ Plenty of zucchini, baby squash and strawberries!

+ Silverbeet and spinach also did well. I will continually plant silverbeet, as we enjoy it and it’s a great green supplement feed for the chooks – they love it.

+ We purchased some “Dine A Chook” (Australian made) feeders and drinkers for our chooks so we can go away for a few days and the girls still have fresh feed and water. The chooks are in various stages of moulting and their egg laying has slowed down – this is normal seasonal behaviour.

+ Our ‘Sproutwell’ greenhouse is up and running and I’m growing plenty from seed to eventually plant out into the veggie beds and Aquaponics system. It’s amazing how quickly things grow from seed in the warm & humid environment – it’s great to watch it unfold. I still have to build some tiered racks in the greenhouse to better utilise the space in there, as I want it to be productive over the coming winter months.

greenhouse, gardening, seedlings, sustainable living

+ Also, as you can see in the photo, the chooks have been put to work clearing out the finished veggie beds. Its a win-win situation –  they get to scratch around and eat whatever they like and they fertilise and cultivate the soil in preparation for the next crop. Thanks girls!

backyard chooks, backyards chickens, free range chickens

I’ll be wrapping up what’s been happening at our property each month to show you how we’re incorporating permaculture, beehives, aquaculture, backyard chooks and more. I’m hoping this shows you the wonderful benefits of connecting with the earth – whether it’s wonderful fresh produce on your plate, or time outside in the sun working on new projects. There are endless possibilities and you can make your time in the elements your own!

Till the next ‘News from the Mews’ wrap up – Pete

Did you get outside during March? Maybe you tended to your veggie garden, or your favourite flowers? Maybe you went hiking or bushwalking?