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)

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).

Dragon Fruit Support Build – The Movie

Dragon fruit support

I’ve previously blogged about building a dragon fruit support, these have worked well and I now have a total of four in the yard (one is on a palm tree trunk). I’ve also given a few to friends and relatives since building several is only a little more work than building one.

In this video I cover the materials and tools needed plus the build process itself. It’s a bit long so I sped up parts where I’m using power tools and this also reduced the noise.

The most difficult part is notching the 6×6 post, if anyone has suggestions on making this easier I’d like to hear it. In the meantime, let me know if this was useful.

Happy building!

 

YouTube – Three of my favorite Florida Bloggers

I’m constantly watching videos related to homesteading and raising food in Florida. There’s so much to learn and I’m always adding to my lists of things to do and plants or trees I’d like to add. Rarely do I subscribe to a particular blogger but these three caught my interest for very different reason. Check them out, especially if you are in the south! In no particular order:

Pete Kanaris

Pete Kanaris – Green Dreams Florida
Pete creates professional level videos from food forests and gardens all over the place. He also runs a company (Green Dreams Florida) that specializes in edible landscaping. If you want to see variety and some of the best food forests around check out his channel.

Rob Greenfield

Rob Greenfield
I actually found Rob’s page through Pete.  Rob is doing something unique – he’s living for a year completely on food he forages or grows himself in Orlando, Fl. It’s interesting to see how much work it is to feed a single person this way. Once the one year challenge is up who knows what he will do next but you can always look back through his video library to see how he survived the challenge.

Food Foresters

Donto & Amy – Food Foresters
This couple does a little of everything. What I really like about their channel is they show it all – challenges, successes, failures, and a lot of personality thrown in. I see them working with a lot of the same problems I deal with such as flooding, bugs, and weeds to name a few. They grow vegetables, fruit trees, raise livestock and even show processing and cooking their harvests. This is what I’d call the down to earth realities of homesteading with constant updates.

If you have any favorite southern homesteading YouTuber bloggers feel free to make a comment below. I also have a few worldwide ones I follow but not as closely as a lot of their methods don’t apply here in the subtropics.

Enjoy!