Tag Archives: how-to

How to Breed slow-to-bolt Coriander for your climate

We love growing coriander for its many benefits and its flavor, but in our climate it just bolts so quickly, it’s a blink-and-you’ll miss it affair. Fortunately the fabulous Meg McGowan showed up at last weekend’s Aquaponics Workshop with a simple, doable solution to breeding slow to bolt coriander for any climate…

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How to harvest Honey from Natural Comb

Once you’ve harvested your natural honeycomb from your Warré (or other kind of top bar) beehive, it’s time to make get some of that goodness into jars! Fortunately, like many other aspects of natural beekeeping, getting the honey out of natural comb is easy and simple, once you know how.

We’re just at the start of our beekeeping journey, but still, even though we don’t have whizz-bang equipment, we found this a wonderfully tactile and rewarding experience. It’s prettymuch just a case of crushing the comb, sieving it, and bottling the results. 100% organic yum, with all the goodness of the honey still utterly intact.

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How to: create a Planting Calendar, Allsun style

I must say that while I’m finding this market garden experiment very exciting, it’s also rather daunting. What are we planting today? What are we planting next week? Where are we going? Who am i and where are my pants? The solution to all this is Allsun Farm’s planting calendar system.

Joyce Wilkie devised this garden card system firstly for her market garden at Allsun Farm, but happily she’s the kind of lady that likes to share. So she shared it with us. And now we can share it with you. It’s un-tangled everything and put us on the straight and narrow. Continue reading

Making a shiitake mushroom log

Shiitake mushrooms are the yummiest variety, in my opinion. They’re also the most expensive in the shops, and virtually impossible to find in an organic variety (at least where we live). Solution: grow your own.

You’ll be happy to hear that making your own shiitake mushroom log turns out to be very easy. It would make a great holiday project for any family, or a great skill-share workshop in your community. Here’s how you do it. Continue reading

DIY remote area internet

They say that one of the many blessings of country life is that you appreciate the little things. Like clean air, water and food. And I do. I also VERY much appreciate our internet connection, now that we’ve finally got it (kind of) sorted.

Our hidden valley is questionably blessed with being devoid of mobile reception. That means no mobile broadband internet.  An ADSL connection is also un-doable. Hmmm. Which leaves dial-up internet (please somebody kill me), or figure a system out for ourselves. Surely it can’t be that hard. Continue reading

DIY EarthBag Dome: building the foundations

This is the first post in a series explaining how we built our very first earthbag dome at Milkwood Farm. Earthbag is a natural building technique that uses bags of earth to build structures that have incredible tensile strength and a very low energy footprint…

The first step of the build was choosing the site. We chose a spot 2/3 of the way up our hill, above our tinyhouse, as we’re planning to use this dome as guest accommodation. The site faces due north so that, when the dome’s door is open in the cooler months, sunlight will flood into the space.  Now for some foundations! Continue reading

How to make a wicking box (mini wicking bed)

A wicking box is a contained, portable way to grow vegies (or anything else) with very little water. Essentially, it’s a wicking bed in miniature. Very cool.

Wicking boxes can be used either as part of an intensive water-wise growing system, or just a good way to keep those herbs alive that you usually forget to water. And you can make one yourself out of junk for next to nothing! Continue reading

How to make a mini rocket stove

Rocket stoves have become a part of our lives at Milkwood Farm. They’re hyper energy efficient, can be built out of rubbish and result in more usable heat that any other wood-burning system we’ve come across. Big love.

It doesn’t take long to be besotted – everyone who needs a wash at our farm heats the water for their showers using our fabulous rocket-powered shower water heater, which works a treat. So now we’re graduating to using rocket stoves for that article of post-shower bliss, the hot cup of tea. Enter the mini rocket stove. Continue reading

How to make ferrocement garden beds

No-dig garden beds with ferrocement edges all finished

Ferrocement (sometimes called thin-shell cement) is a construction technique where cement is thinly applied to a sturdy steel or wire frame. It is very cheap and relatively quick to do, and produces extremely strong structures.

While it does involve cement, which has quite a large energy footprint, the resulting strength-for-inputs equation means it is a suitable and ethical option for some structures, particularly those requiring great strength.

We’ve been wanting to have a play with ferrocement for years, but weren’t quite sure how to go about it, or what to build. Recently our friend Tom arrived at Milkwood armed with the right knowledge however, and suggested we update the kitchen garden at basecamp by incorporating some new no-dig beds with ferrocement edges. Continue reading

BioFertilizer Recipe #2: Lime Sulphur (Caldo Sulfocalcico)

Eugenio Gras, BioFertiliser maestro!

**Note: Please wear safety gear when making & using this mix as it is caustic to the skin. Ouch! Good for its intended purposes, though.

Okay so this one is not strictly a fertilizer (like our Biofertilizer recipe #1), it’s more an anti-fungal preparation. Still, anti-fungicides are something our agriculture pours millions, if not billions of dollars into every year. Some of the food you eat today will definitely have had anti-fungicides applied during the growing cycle.

So can you make a natural, low-cost version, which has no crazy side-effects? Yes, you can! And we did. While lots of people watched, who can now go home and make their own. Continue reading

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