Category Archives: DIY Articles

Coffee Roasting

Green coffee beans ready for roasting (and some roasted ones there too)

Green coffee beans ready for roasting (and some roasted ones there too)

Before I roasted coffee for the first time, I had never seen green beans before. They were smaller than I expected, heavier too, and they didn’t smell like coffee.

Home-scale double-barrel top-lit-up-draft biochar retort stove!

Biochar Retort

“Biochar can be made cleanly and effectively on a home-scale, using a biochar retort.”

Biochar is a desirable material for anyone looking to improve their soil. Buried, it acts as a water retainer, nutrient trapper, and home for beneficial bacteria and plant roots, and it continues to support life and fertility for thousands of years! On a home-scale, biochar can be made from waste wood or mulch, using a biochar retort.

Benefits:

  • Produces biochar – a permanent soil amendment
  • Burns clean and hot
  • Can be used for heating or cooking
  • Can be fuelled with waste materials
Design for My Biogas Digester

Biogas Digester

“Biogas is the perfect solution to modern sustainable cooking.”

Biogas is a mixture of gasses that are produced as anaerobic bacteria break down organic matter. It is flammable, capable of producing a clean flame for cooking and heating, and it can be derived from as simple a feedstock as your kitchen rinse water.

A biogas digester is a container holding water and bacteria, which can be ‘fed’ organic matter to be broken down, and which collects the resultant biogas, to be tapped off either to a collector for storage, or directly for burning.

Benefits:

  • Creates flammable gas
  • Creates fertiliser
  • Runs on kitchen rinse water
  • Safe and Clean

Rebar Fence Trellis 02

Rebar Fence Trellis

“Make a self-supporting post-less fence trellis out of rebar!”

In Spring 2011 I wanted to make a fence across the backyard for three reasons; to enclose a chicken run, to grow fruit vines, and to support a future pvc arbour I had planned. Traditional fencing options were expensive, but I found a way to do it using only rebar steel mesh. The result exceeded my hopes.

Benefits:

  • Creates Vertical Space
  • Encloses Chickens
  • Supports Vines
  • Lasts 10 Years

Sugar cane mulch is great for vegetable beds

Mulching

“Make your soil as healthy as a forest floor, by mulching!”

Mulching is the covering of soil with organic material. It is much the same as what naturally occurs in a forest when leaves fall to the floor. Mulch suppresses weeds and prevents evaporation, which allows the topsoil to remain moist so that earthworms and other creatures can live there.

Benefits:

  • Saves water
  • Builds soil life
  • Suppresses weeds
  • Becomes fertiliser

Inside a Worm Trough - Food is always added to one side

Worm Troughs

“Create masses of worm castings, and breed up masses of worms, with a worm trough!”

A worm trough is a large and long container which allows for a different system of feeding to a worm farm. Worm troughs can breed up a large population of worms who can process a large amount of material. A properly managed worm trough will allow you to access fresh castings any time, and to feed the worms just as easily as with any worm farm.

Benefits:

  • Creates lots of fertiliser
  • Breeds an abundance of worms
  • Easy to manage
  • Cheap to make

A worm tower with a PVC lid, installed close to a tree

Worm Towers

“Create an instant home for worms in your garden, with a worm tower!”

A worm tower acts like a high rise hotel for worms, allowing them to enter, stay, eat and leave, always below ground away from predators. It creates a suitable home for composting worms (who don’t like to travel much), and for the various types of earthworms in your area. Worm towers can be used instead of worm farms or in conjunction with worm farms, and can be dug up and moved around the garden to help build up worm populations and soil fertility.

Benefits:

  • Improves soil
  • Encourages earthworms
  • Takes kitchen scraps
  • Easy to make

Eisenia fetida - an excellent composting worm

How to Worm Farm

“Let the worms do the work, with worm farming!”

A worm farm will take care of your kitchen scraps and turn them into some of the richest organic fertiliser known to man. At the same time you’ll be breeding up a population of worms that can be introduced to areas of your garden, or used to start new worm farms for your friends and family.

Benefits:

  • Great for soil
  • Great for seeds
  • Great for plants
  • Easy to do!

Earthworms chillin' in some compost

Encouraging Earthworms

“Earthworms are a gardener’s best friend!”

Earthworms burrow through your soil, digesting organic materials, creating tunnels for air and water to percolate through, and distribute their castings as rich ready fertiliser for your plants. Encouraging them in your garden is important, and it’s easy to do.

Benefits:

  • Aerate soil
  • Break down scraps
  • Create fertiliser
  • Distribute moisture

A cardboard bulk box makes a perfect compost bin!

Cardboard Compost Bins

 

“Get composting quick, easy and free with a cardboard compost bin!”

Cardboard bulk boxes are used by people dealing with bulk fruits and vegetables. They are made of extra thick cardboard, and are a perfect size for composting in. They can withstand weather, and eventually can be composted themselves.

Benefits:

  • Instant compost bin
  • Withstands weather
  • Can be composted
  • Free!