Well it's now October and time for my for my end of summer backyard round-up post. But I have a confession to make first. I admit that I'm lazy when it comes to my yard and there's not really much to report on. When I started this website/blog I had a dream of more regularly writing about my backyard projects and feel that I've really failed on that front. I blame it primarily on my backyard hammock combined with a busy summer and cold beer.
There's just never enough summer weekends when you throw in a wedding and stag party, a few cottage weekends with friends and the odd family visit. Every week I'd say "I'll do it this weekend" but then all of a sudden there were no more summer weekends left and the work still wasn't done. Obviously yard work could have been done in the evenings through the week but that's where my hammock interfered. It comes down to the fact that after a long day of regular wage paying work, relaxing on the hammock is a much more attractive option then doing any work in the yard.
Over the past while I've had a few emails asking if I'd do a second WindowFarm video showing the system in more detail. Well now after many months of procrastination, I finally made the video this past weekend.
It shows the WindowFarm out of the water reservoir so you can see parts of the system that are usually submerged in water.
A few days ago I finally got around to setting up a more permanent base for the solar food dehydrator which is something I've wanted to do for a week or so. I used two concrete blocks as a solid, level base for the milk cartons and drying cabinet to sit on and then put bricks and large rocks in each milk carton to make a more solid structure. The only difficult part was leveling out the concrete blocks.
I also decided to try the new fan assembly on the underside of the drying cabinet instead of on the top of the heat collection box. So now instead of pushing hot air up the tube, it's pulling the air up.
The weather is finally warm enough to try drying some apples in the solar dehydrator so I managed to get some sliced up this morning before work. Unfortunately I only have 2 drying racks at the moment so I was only able to slice up a few apples. I’ve been using old picture frames with door screen stretched across them for drying racks but it’s difficult to find them in the correct size.
A few weeks ago a local organization, Transition Halifax, organized a berry bush and fruit tree sale so I decided to pick up a few bushes for the backyard. In the end I got one Patriot Highbush Blueberry and two Goji Berry (Wolfberry) bushes and put them in last week.
The Patriot Highbush Blueberry is actually a half-height cross between a highbush and lowbush blueberry and is apparently fairly adaptable to different soil types. In particular, it can withstand wet soils better then other blueberry types. This is good because my yard can get fairly wet.
It's the beginning of May and the garlic has finally popped up in the past few weeks after a long winter. The garlic was planted in the fall by "the Garlic Girl" as I call her. She had posted on a local garden mailing list back in the October that she lived in an apartment and was looking for yard space to plant garlic. As I wasn't planning on using my garden boxes over the winter, I offered them up. There are a few varieties and I'm looking forward to trying them out.
Since I've moved into this house a few years ago, my nemesis in the backyard has been Aegopodium podagraria, aka "Goutweed". Goutweed is an incredibily invasive plant that will quickly take over a lawn and/or yard if it's not kept under control. The problem above ground is compounded underground where it creates a massive root system that essentially strangles everything else out.
With the weather getting warmer I've been thinking about setting up my solar food dehydrator for another year. Unfortunately it's still not warm enough in this part of the world so to keep myself busy I build this little fan add-on that I'm excited to try out on the dehydrator.
I've now come to the conclusion that my worm bin revolt problem was not in fact due to environmental issues but rather my lack of attention in feeding them on a regular basis. At one time the worm bin was located in my kitchen which made it easy and convenient to feed them. But since I relocated the bin to the basement, I admit I have been lazy and not attending to them as much as I should have. Yes, I am a cruel worm owner. Please don't tell PETA!