Spring 2020 Florida Food Forest Tour – Part 2

Property tour 2020-04-02

In this second part of the spring 2020 food forest walk through we take a look at the back yard and what is growing there. Here you will also see some ideas I’ve put to use such as using logs as path borders and my yard trash cans (mulch bins) that second as a climbing support.

I’m going to start doing walk throughs twice a year, one in spring and another in the fall. In each video I’ll highlight what is new and what has signifigantly changed and also include other completed projects. I’m hoping to have a new garden area created by this fall. Stay safe everyone!

Spring 2020 Florida Food Forest Tour – Part 1

Property tour 2020-04-01

Finally, a property tour! Since spring is here and I’m getting to spend a lot of time at home (thanks to the coronavirus) I’ve finally had an opportunity to do a food forest walk through. This is broken into two parts, the first one is the front yard and includes the chicken coop, the second one is the back of the property. In the video I added annotations of a lot of the plant and tree names in case you can’t hear the audio, please let me know if this makes the video better or if I should leave them out.

The second video needs to be edited but is otherwise ready, I’ll have it posted in a few days. Hope everyone is staying safe!

DIY Inexpensive Seed Starting Rack

Seed starting rack

Here’s a video on how to build a seed starting rack, I use this exact setup and it works great. It cost me around $120 to build (which includes everything) but the cost has gone up some since then, maybe around $140 now. My success with this has been far above any other method I have used for starting from seed.

Affiliate links for items used in this build:
4-Tier Greenhouse
Barrina LED Grow Lights
Reflectix Insulation
#16 Single Jack Chain – (probably cheaper at local big box stores)

Going Two Directions

Gardening Solutions

I’ve noticed on my YouTube channel I get a lot of activity on garden how-to posts and other informational subjects but very little on things related to the property. On the other hand, posts on this site seem to do very well when property related.

That being the case, I’m going to focus this blog on property related happenings and the videos more on the how-to items. I’ve renamed the YouTube channel to Gardening Solutions to better reflect the content that will be there. I will still post videos about the property (including a full tour coming up for spring).

If you haven’t been to the YouTube channel please go check it out and subscribe if interested. When I get to 100 subscribers they will let me get a custom url (web address). I’ll continue to cross post to both locations but the video posts will be short here (mostly a link and description of the video).

There’s a lot of cool stuff coming up this year, spring is right around the corner!

DIY Simple Drip Irrigation

Drip watering

Automate your garden! I use a lot of drip irrigation, by setting this up I have one less thing to think about. Drip irrigation can be used to top off EarthBoxes and keep plants in pots watered as well as your in ground garden or raised beds. Put the water where it’s needed most without waste.

This video shows the items needed and procedure for putting together a basic system. I also show how easy it is to reclaim most pieces for use in other drip water projects.

Amazon referral links to products I use and recommend, using any of these links helps support my blog.

Orbit hose timers, I’ve had good luck with these and I’ve tried several other brands that didn’t hold up as well or ate batteries too quickly: https://amzn.to/36hJDpA

1/2″ pipe punch tool, this is the one I have and it works pretty well. Don’t get one of the simple punches or you will end up crushing pipe and getting frustrated: https://amzn.to/37t9KKc

Pressure regulator (one required per hose). This drops the water pressure to 25 PSI: https://amzn.to/2MNOQh8

Garden hose adapter (one required per hose), adapts your garden hose to the 1/2″ drip main line: https://amzn.to/2MMBD82

1/2″ pipe, 100 feet. This is inexpensive and gets cheaper per foot as you buy more: https://amzn.to/2uaVqI4

1/2″ pipe end fitting (one per hose), this is the inexpensive foldover type I demonstrate in the video: https://amzn.to/2QduNuu

1/4″ tubing, the flexible version I like. If there is a Lowes near you it is cheaper there. https://amzn.to/39A8FCu

1/4″ barbs. I like the ones that have a wide center so they are easier to grip: https://amzn.to/35f755m

1 GPH drip emitter, the basic all purpose size: https://amzn.to/2tpMspL

Cable cutting tool like I use. I got mine at Harbor Freight but I don’t think they sell it anymore there: https://amzn.to/36kE75m

Happy growing!

Kratky Hydroponics – 4 Week Update

Kratky hydroponics

At 4 weeks the Kratky system is showing progress, not as much as I’d like but there has been some challenges with the weather (this is set up outdoors). Maybe we will have some harvest by the 6th week?

This is usually a dry time of year but we have about six inches of rain over the last two weeks, this showed me a big flaw in the initial design. Since then I have added drain holes so the boxes don’t flood over. Even with this a few of the plants are doing well and a few more have now sprouted. I’m liking this setup, very easy and inexpensive once the bugs are worked out.

Happy growing!

Earthbox Root and Veg Design Problem

Earthbox defect

If you’ve followed my blog you know I’m a big fan of Earthboxes, however the Earthbox Root and Veg boxes have a pretty serious design defect. The good news is that this can be alleviated pretty easily but it must be done before adding soil to the box. In this video I show some boxes that have been used without the fix and one that has been modified.

Overall I think the standard Earthboxes are the best. I use the root and veg for single, larger plants rather than their intended purpose of root vegetables. Because of their depth you may need to top water for a while until the plant roots can get down to the moist potting mix.

I’ve also come to the conclusion that Earthboxes should be dumped out and re-set up every year. I’ll post a video about this in the near future.

Happy planting!

Kratky Hydroponics – 2 Weeks Progress

Kratky at 2 weeks

If you haven’t already done so, please check out the first post Kratky Hydroponics.

We are now 2 weeks in and only a few things have germinated. Several ideas on what the culprits may be – old seeds, water level too high, water temperature. I’ll attempt to correct these as I can and follow back up in another week or two.

Items used in this build:
2 inch CZ net pots – https://amzn.to/2QIGvxW
1.5 inch Grodan rock wool – https://amzn.to/34b7V3y

3 inch CZ net pots – https://amzn.to/2KO9htd
2 inch Grodan rock wool – https://amzn.to/2XJ1NNl

Dyna Gro Liquid fertilizer – https://amzn.to/2rhaXVm

The Easiest Hydroponics – Kratky

Kratky hydroponics

If you’ve followed my blog then you have seen my opinion on aquaponics, it works well but I’m not a big fan of the maintenance required. In this video I’m taking a crack at hydroponics using the Kratky method. This method doesn’t require a pump or aerator, it’s very simple and an easy way to get started. If this works well here in central Florida I may switch the aquaponic system over to hydroponic.

Items used in this build:
2 inch CZ net pots – https://amzn.to/2QIGvxW
1.5 inch Grodan rock wool – https://amzn.to/34b7V3y

3 inch CZ net pots – https://amzn.to/2KO9htd
2 inch Grodan rock wool – https://amzn.to/2XJ1NNl

Dyna Gro Liquid fertilizer – https://amzn.to/2rhaXVm

Gaffers tape – https://amzn.to/34dJ8f1
Gaffers tape is like duct tape on steroids. It sticks better, flexes, and holds up to the sun and weather much better. Yes, it is more expensive but for the times when you need the extra performance it is well worth it (I used it in this video to tape the plastic on the buckets).

Infrastructure Upgrades Progress

Trench for electrical

It’s been a while since I have posted an update to the blog as most activity goes straight to YouTube, in this post I’ll link a couple of my latest videos. The infrastructure upgrade project is moving along nicely and I have a self imposed deadline to get a lot of it done. To recap what is being done:

  • Adding electrical outlets throughout the yard
  • Adding electric to the chicken coop and future garden and potting shed areas
  • Adding artesian well spigots around the property including the new garden area and potting shed
  • Extending house water to the new garden area and potting shed

The electric being added has both hot (always on) and switched (timed to go on at night) outlets. There is also two dedicated circuits, one for a future electric gate and one for a well water pump and pond aerator.

Here’s a video I posted about two weeks ago where the trenching had begun:

And here’s a more recent one:

I have a deadline of November 9th to have a majority of this in place, we are having a big house party and I want to have the electric working so the yard can be lit up. The race is on!

To save some cost I purchased a used trencher and will be selling it after the work is done, renting one would have cost around a grand since I am slow at it and have to trench when I find spare time. Once this phase of the project is done I’ll do a walk through of the improvements.

Back to work for me, gotta get this done!