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
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.
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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 – 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.
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.
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.
In this previous post I used a plant cloner to propagate cuttings. While the cloner works well, it is a bit of maintenance with having to keep it clean and running a power cord for the pump. While browsing around for other methods to clone using cuttings I came across the idea of using a sandbox. Does it work as well? See for yourself in this short video:
The tray and sand cost about $20 from Home Depot, be sure to get the small tray which holds 100 pounds of sand. I’ll continue to use this tray for more challenging cuttings and post an update with those results.
If you haven’t already done so, please subscribe to my youtube channel. Most future posts will be videos so that is the best way to get alerted when something new is added, plus I need to get to 100 subscribers for youtube to let me have a custom web address (url) for my page.
Recently I got a bunch of free sugar cane cuttings from an ad on Craigslist, while I already have some sugarcane growing it’s nice to have several different varieties. In this video I attempt to get cuttings growing using several different methods and locations.
In summary, the bucket method and in ground had about the same results. There was no success in ground with pieces grown vertically, all that sprouted were horizontal or at about a 45 degree angle.
Have you ever planted a bunch of stuff then forgot what was where? Maybe not if you are new to gardening but that day is coming. I quickly learned the value of labeling everything that goes into the ground unless it is absolutely unmistakable. It’s also handy for when spouses or friends go roaming around so they don’t have to ask what every single plant is. In my case, I’ve got hundreds of things planted around three acres so there is no way I could remember everything.
The challenge I had was to find an inexpensive but durable way to label things as they went in. A lot of plants die off so the labels need to be able to be reused and easily changed. Metal and wood products are out, they simply don’t last very long in the ground here or are too expensive. Oh, and one more thing, my handwriting is awful so I want to be able to print them out.
The solution came bits at a time but I now have a system that works and holds up for years. I make plastic labels, print adhesive labels to go on them, then fasten them to plastic covered stakes (solid plastic or fiberglass stakes are very expensive).
For the plastic labels, I tried several different things and finally found what I believe is the best solution for the price. I use plastic rain gutters, they sell for around $5 at Home Depot or Lowes for a ten foot section.
These gutter sections are thick plastic and UV protected. They are designed to last for many years in direct sun and weather extremes so are ideal for this purpose. You can make around three hundred labels from a single piece.
It may be hard to tell from the photo but these are thick! They also have several flat surfaces which can be cut for the labels. I don’t like to waste but I think the longevity of these makes up for the plastic that will be disposed of. To make it easier to work with, I cut these into shorter sections first (around two feet) then use heavy tin snips to cut out label blanks.
The blanks are about an inch high and three inches long. Once I have a bunch of blanks cut, I use a soldering iron with a big tip to make a hole in one end of each. You could also drill a hole but I think melting one through keeps the label stronger.
The holes get a little dirty and messy from the iron getting crud on it but that usually scrapes right off.
I’ll prep a whole bunch of blanks at once then do the finishing as they are needed.
To finish, I print a label from a Brother label maker, I strongly suggest getting one that includes an AC adapter as these things can eat batteries.
I haven’t had any of these labels fade out from the sun yet, the ones that are two years old now actually look as good as the day they were printed. If you use the genuine Brother tape refills it would be expensive, I use a generic version of TZ tapes. Using a 1/2 inch tape holds two lines of text nicely.
As you can see above, for a finishing touch I like to clip the corners and trim the label. Trim it pretty close to the hole so when tie wrapped to a stake it doesn’t try to wrap around. I like to use the short plastic coated stakes from Lowes, the three foot ones are right at a dollar each. For temporary applications I’ll use bamboo stakes but they only last about a year.
Of course you can put several labels on each stake to save even more cost, I do this when plants are close to each other. I hope this is helpful for someone, if you have any other great ideas for labels please let me know!
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