Could you add a nitrogen fixing tree or shrub? Comfrey is very shade tolerant and the tree/shrub would mulch the comfrey with fallen leaves... Also, I always leave the last 'cut' of comfrey on the plant - the last cut I take away would be around mid September here.
Love your idea - anything that gets bunnies off wire mesh is a plus in my opinion
I wonder - why not use the 'escape areas' as well? Or are they actually used for something else, just dog proof?
Be prepared for the does to make and use their own burrows instead of the crates you have buried for them
make sure there is plenty of shade and shelter for them - one piece 6x4 might not be enough. and several crates above ground as bolt holes if a hawk flies over - rabbits are a bit naff from a survival point of view, just the shadow of a hawk can give them a heart attack if there is nowhere for them to hide.
Also, if you can, introduce feed plants outside that also offer shade and wind protection. You can cut armfuls and throw over the fence.
Plus TOYS!! they don't have much to do in there except eat and dig, so they will dig.... toys are easy - apple branches to chew, things to roll or throw around
You can see I am coming at it from a bunny welfare point of view, but I am sure you want to have happy bunnies as well as safe ones
Chris it sounds like you've already made a good start!
As your trees grow, they will dump leaves right where they are needed. In the meantime, I echo the above advice for woodchips and making use of every scrap of organic matter that comes into your home. Also though - ask people for more! Neighbours, your workplace for instance - I used to get great buckets of tea bags, fruit peels and coffee grounds from the office I worked in - autumn leaves, rabbit hutch cleanings... there will be loads more than you think and who cares if people think it is an odd request, if it all adds to the fertility of your garden
First off - what do you want from the space? Food growing is a given, but I assume you want it to look lovely as well both for yourself and from the neighbouring buildings So make a list of things you would like to use it for - you might want a space for entertaining for instance, but if you don't then you could build more raised beds around the edge of the terrace - where the pots are now for instance.
Planting - It's hard to tell from the photos how long those beds are, or where the windows look out onto, but I would say you have room for more than one tree Choose things on dwarfing rootstocks as there's not a great depth of soil. Having decided where your tree(s) will go, add some fruit bushes - group them together so it looks natural. The rest of the space can then be filled with perennial or annual veggies, herbs and flowers. Think about what you like to eat, and for flowers, choose things that are easy to maintain and if they seed themselves around are easy to pull out.
You might also want space for (eg) compost bins.... with that depth of soil, you will need to add a nourishing mulch every year.
The greenhouse is big! Set aside some space for raising seedlings etc, but you could also have raised beds in there. I assume the roof can take the extra loading - usually with roof gardens raised beds (the weight) is arranged round the edge of the roof, but here they are more central, so I'm assuming the roof is capable of taking the weight. If you're not sure please check!!
If there's a view you want to screen (all looks beautiful in the pic, but you never know) have climbing plants growing up a trellis by the edge of the terrace.
There is a fabulous permaculture roof garden in Bristol, UK. If I can find it I will post a link. That might also give you some inspiration
Hi Juniper - bedding definitely, if only because they love to dig could be straw, sawdust, leaves.... and yes, there will be some random poops everywhere - that is how they mark their territory, but on the whole, most poo and all wee will be in one (or two) corners. You can even put pans there and they will then go in the pans. once you know where they want to be, hang their hay racks just above the pan - they love to eat and poop at the same time.
I also thought maybe - could you plant climbers (grapes eg) so that they can grow above the structure for shade? Any kind of green, growing shade will be better than tarps and shade cloth, and do try for air movement underneath.
Rabbits need to eat about their own body volume in hay every day, plus only a small amount 10% each of greens and rabbit food pellets. This might be a bit different if you are raising them for meat, but happy, healthy rabbits might taste better anyway
I have a steep bank on my allotment and some years ago, terraced it with timber. These have had it already and I am thinking linear gabions instead. I know the ancients managed all their terraces with rock walls, presumably dry stone, so I'm thinking gabions will work fine! The only disadvantage that I can see is the width needed for stability.
My bank is roughly 8' high over 8-12' (it's steeper at one end than the other) and currently divided into 3 terraces but could have done with 4.... they're gonna be narrow aren't they... do any of you have any info on just how narrow gabions you can get away with?? I do NOT want to be doing all this again
Presumably you will be raising your rabbits for meat.... but could I please ask you not to keep them on mesh?? Mesh floors are easier for you, but very uncomfortable for rabbits - they will be better on cement.
Rabbits will choose a corner as their toilet. So long as you clean this corner out every day there should be no problems. If the toilet area is left dirty the rabbits will get fly-strike... look it up - you have to avoid this.
In terms of the heat - yes that is going to be a problem. Fans would help. Also, for the longer term though could you plant shade trees all along the side? I notice you have trees inthe rear of the picture, so maybe adding more might be an option. Although rabbits love to laze in the sun, hot summer temperatures will kill them. If there are only these few cages, I would also suggest cool pads of some kind - with hot air exhausting out the top of the set up of course..... If they are near the house you could even do this with cement slabs put in the freezer overnight and into the cages when it's hot....
Ensure they have access to fresh clean water every day too... they drink a lot.
ok guys you have me inspired I am going barefoot in the house and see how I get on with that first... well, socked but without slippers..... I think I may have poor circulation causing cold feet, but I will get my thyroid checked out - thanks for the tip.... also, I realise that subconsciously I have been choosing footwear with softer soles for some time (and no-to-very low heels) and my feet ache.... time for some more changes here
How do you guys cope with cold and wet?? My feet always feel cold and i can't imagine being barefoot even in the house except for a few weeks of 'heatwave' a year.
But i do remember, as a child, going barefoot as much as I could and have been known to walk home barefoot when I've had way too much to drink and have been wearing slip on shoes that just wouldn't stay on....
I also used to wear slippers that were just knitted. Nice and warm, but got wet and then cold.
I'm asking seriously - do I just practice? Do I just wear socks at home and change them when I stand in drips? How do I get started in a cool and wet climate?
love bartering too... in our area there are a couple of facebook pages specifically set up for bartering - for 'stuff' and also for time trades. They are not particularly active, but it's early days. I swapped a bag full of Kale for a half dozen fresh eggs recently
I'd go for the mix it all up together approach as well - and don't compact it! I'd suggest crumpling the paper rather than shredding it (keeps it better aerated), add some more greens, (grass cuttings, coffee grounds, everything from the bottom of the cages) water it with diluted pee as well if you can, then cover to keep moist....
Also though, can you somehow reduce the amount of paper in the birds cages? how many sheets do you use for each? You have a LOT to dispose of
I use the inners out of toilet rolls for slightly bigger things like beans, not sure if they would be big enough for your tree seedlings though....
Stand up a bunch of toilet roll inners in a seed tray, fill them with compost, plant seed, top up, water. You can plant thw whole thing, but as someone else mentioned, it is best to take the top of the 'pot' off before planting - it can act as a wick to draw moisture up and out of the soil
I've always bought one bag of potting compost for starting my seeds, but last year I did something different. I ran out and had to use garden soil, some home-made compost, a bit of leaf mould and the remains of the bag of potting compost. My seeds came up better than they ever have before
So this year, I'm going to use leafmould, and fine soil from one of my better beds, plus the best compost I have.... mixed about equal parts. Not buying any more potting compost ever again
I've not tried it yet, but leafmould layered with comfrey leaves is meant to make a good base too....
I feel your pain - so, so sad to lose a fur-baby.... the kindest way is for the vet to give her an injection and for it to happen at home, on your bed or wherever she feels the safest..... find the money to get the vet out to your house. Thinking of you
I think they also got a bad rep because it makes it so easy and traditional beekeepers think that people with a flow-hive will a) not check their bees for health, swarming etc and b) harvest too much of the reserves the bees need for the winter.
I think both these issues are simply resolved by using the flow hive responsbily. After all, even with a traditional hive set up you could simply ignore your bees all summer then pinch all the honey they made
I don't use any laundry detergent any more at all. My whites look a bit grey, but hey, i don#t itch I use a spoonful of washing soda crystals and hang out on the line any time the weather is dry. Our clothes smell clean!
Washing up? Yes, I DO use dish liquid - can't imagine how to do it otherwise - but always wear gloves (I need to avoid too much water on my hands) and always rinse off the dishes with plain water. Also, my hubby is a good washer-upper
face - no soap, ever. body, no soap, ever. Pits and crotch - you got it, don't care how gross it sounds, but no soap, ever. Hands - I use a tiny bit of very mild home-made soap only if my hands are actually DIRTY. I do rinse my hands OFTEN though - dozens of times a day probably. After bathroom visits - never at home, but if I have to 'go' in a public bathroom, I might consider the soap if the facilities are less than spotless.... but my skin really suffers for it... I DO still use shampoo on my hair - I've tried the no-poo regimen, but my hair just looked and felt utterly skanky. I hated it.
Eczema - such an awful thing - anyone who hasn't experienced it has NO idea.....
I know what you mean about the lard. I have managed to eliminate my eczema from all but one hand... and that patch really responds well to 'squeezing meat to make burgers' !!!
to get to this point however - we use NO soap powder, I use NO soap - and also limit exposure to water.... but we also now have no pets - all animals really upset my skin....
bricks made of waste paper - if you can get geared up for making a lot in one go .... and if you have somewhere to dry them... and can get hold of a lot of paper. You can also add chopped straw, sticks and sawdust into the mix.
I made a quite a few the year we got our woodburner, but I don't have the somewhere to dry them - they take a LONG time to dry out - so sacked it off as a poor use of my time. We burn scrap wood, so although we run low from time to time it is always available.
Also, get (or make) as efficient a stove as possible and as David said above - insulate to the max
cotton sheet material doesn't break down here either.... if it goes in the compost it does - and zips, elastic etc are easy to pull out later - but I did exactly what you were thinking of doing, using at as a base layer for a mulched bed, and it was still intact after several years. I don't understand how or why!!!
Anyhow, I now use cotton fabric offcuts as landscape fabric - works a treat
i've just made some dish cloths out of face cloths..... I've folded them so they have some thickness and sewed round the edges so that they have stiff 'corners' for scrubbing. My man isn't bothered about germs, but likes the sponge with the green scrubby on the back. My plan is to use these cloths just for one or two days, then into the washer. I'll need to make more so it doesn't become a chore. we tend to use the dish towels for wiping up spills so they need washing more often. I'm hoping this abosrbant washing thing will get used for that instead. We don't use paper towels at all. My man gave me a strange look, but so far so good
I've cut you scions of the Coe's Golden Drop from my mum's. Will cut Bramley, Worcester and Russet apples nearer the time. The plum scions are standing in water outside but I might put them in the fridge () Please let me know your UK address(es) and dates so I can send these at the right time
I don't understand the grafting of plums.... won't they just succumb to silver leaf if you do them over winter? I'd love to graft some more interesting scions onto my Victoria!!
I'm going to use scions from my mum's unknown Hereford apples to graft onto mine, so kind as your offer of French ones is, I'll decline
I do it like this:
fill a jar with fruit (for the damsons I jab them with a knife first)
add sugar - how much depends on how sweet and sticky you like it
top up with Vodka - no need for it to be good stuff but I avoid the cheapest
leave for several weeks, turning upside down every day
For quince vodka I would cut up the quinces first so they'll fit in the jar
The vodka could be any clear spirit really. I don't think it improves much after the first few weeks, but some of mine is for a christmas present so I daren't open it yet!!