Thursday, November 07, 2013

How to avoid having to water your veggie garden

I've been meaning to get into the wicking bed thing for a while.  I also wanted to find a use for our old bathtub since I realised that aquaponics is probably just a little too much commitment for me.

Plenty of great ideas were forthcoming by googling "bathtub wicking bed".  Our bathtub is quite shallow, so I needed to make sure the gravel reservoir part of the wicking bed wasn't too deep.  Around 30cm of soil seems to be good according to blogs etc, but the whole bathtub was 30cm deep in this case.

First I set up the overflow through the plug hole with a small piece of pvc pipe siliconed in.  Then I created a watering pipe / distribution pipe combo with some more PVC pipe.  Once that was siliconed in place I used a couple of bags worth of drainage gravel in the bottom to create the reservoir.  I then used some weed mat on top of that, followed by some sand, and some more weed mat.  I'm not sure if that was all overkill - as I've read in a few places that you can really do the same thing just by filling the whole thing up with soil.

After the second weed mat layer I filled the tub up with mulch and good quality soil, heaping it up in the bathtub to maximise the depth.

The worm pipe was an afterthought.  Again, plenty of info with a bit of googling.  Basically, just drill some holes in a PVC pipe and stick it in the bed.  Add some composting worms and drop some scraps in there once in a while and they will distribute their worm poo goodness all over the garden!

The watering hole (vertical) with distribution pipe coming out of it (horizontal):

Looking down the watering pipe you can see the overflow pipe poking up out of the plug hole:

 A closer shot of the distribution pipe:

A look into the worm pipe:

Photo of the freshly set up wicking bed:

Around 4 weeks later - I've only watered it once!  It rained once and it gets a little bit of overflow from watering the pots above it: 

Finally, a diagram of the whole thing:

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Some RC Plane Fun

I recently got around to fulfilling a childhood dream of learning to fly a radio controlled plane.  I'd always wanted to have some fun with it, but was turned off by the expense, and the ratio of the time required to build the plane vs the instant it would take to destroy it on its maiden flight.  Through a work colleague I became aware of how cheap the bits were for electric planes these days and how the foam aircraft are nearly indestructible.  So, less than $200 later, I had all the bits and I was up in the air with my Bixler.  Briefly.  Then after fixing a few things I was up in the air again.  Briefly again.  Now however, I have the hang of it and last weekend I sent my old Nexus One phone up in the plane so I could enjoy the view.

So here is some of the fun...

Flight #1.  I hit a tree.
Flight #2.  I hit a tree.
The Nexus One setup:
I usually take R with me on an early Sunday morning.  He brings his medieval party tent along.

Some still shots from my Nexus One: 

Finally, video from my Nexus One (it gets more stable at about 3:29 when I cut the engine):

Monday, February 25, 2013

Classic Teen Albums

On Triple J this morning they were talking to Blink 182 and played an old track (Josie).  This is a band I have ignored for about 15 years, but I was taken aback by how, well, taken aback I was when they gave it a spin.

It got me thinking... what are some of my favourite unashamedly teenage albums?  Those albums that bring back the angst.  Those albums that make me want to jump around and cry.  The ones that I had to replace because the CDs got so scratched.  The ones that I ripped as soon as MP3s were invented... that I shared on Napster.  The albums that I played from beginning to end on my bass when I should have been working on a uni assignment.  Yes - most of them represent a single musical genre.  Most aren't the albums I would pick as 'most influential' in my musical history.  Few of them would make my 'greatest albums of all time' list, but  if I hear them now, they hit me in the gut in a uniquely teenage way.

In no particular order:

  • MxPx - Life in General
  • Blink 182 - Cheshire Cat
  • Reel Big Fish - Turn the Radio Off
  • NOFX - Punk in Drublic
  • Rancid - And Out Come the Wolves
  • Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dream
  • Greenday - Dookie
  • Ghoti Hook - Sumo Surprise
  • The O.C. Supertones - Adventures of the O.C. Supertones
  • The Porkers - Grunt!!!
  • Ben Lee - Grandpaw Would

That's some of my history.  If you don't know them, don't bother looking them up.  They're sure to sound crap through the ears of a 35+ grown up.

I reserve the right to change this list at any time of my choosing.