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02-Dec-2016

So I’ve posted about many a project this year- hydroponics, the auto-greenhouse waterer, the ultimate greenhouse.. But have any of these projects actually worked?

Hydroponics
This worked to grow massive plants, but not much in the way of fruit. This is partly because I started all the seeds off far too late (all the plants in the hydroponics system were sensitive ones, tomatoes, aubergine, tomatillos, etc). And partly because I kept the same 30L of water in it the whole time, and it went rather acidic. This proves that the system uses little in the way of water- I only topped up the reservoir with 10L twice in a whole season. But this also proves that you need to change your nutrient solution occasionally, and keep more of an eye on it than I have been doing! It would probably also help to use tap water which has carbonate in to buffer the pH, rather than rainwater which has no buffer capability.

Irrigation
Has worked wonders, I’ve only filled the 100L water butt up three times all summer. I also water the greenhouse manually once a week with feed (twice a week in very hot weather), mostly to check the plants over.

Ultimate greenhouse
Haven’t built the top half yet… so there isn’t really anything to say yet! The temperature sensors are all hooked up, but obviously inside and outside are currently showing the same values. Build of the top half will take place next year, once Spring has sprung, because building in the cold and wet is miserable. Also, I have no money right now.



It's currently covered with tarps to stop things eating the styrofoam insulation.

Chickens
Are moulting and looking slightly bedraggled. They’ve supplied us and immediate family with eggs over the Summer, and been out in the garden every day. Now we’re back at work they’re confined to the run whilst we are out- and they complain about it! ‘Free range’ hens in the UK can have less than an A4 sheet of paper in space each (http://www.science-ethics-animals.org.uk/teachers/value/farm/suppinfo.cfm), mine have 12 square metres inside the run between 4 of them, and complain! We’ve been giving them cabbage tetherballs and things to keep them amused. Currently down to an egg every other day from Maureen.



Chicken Waterer
Bored of cleaning standard chicken waterers, I made a ‘better’ one. Time will tell how it fairs over winter (if anything freezes this winter).