dave collett

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since Jan 24, 2013
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Recent posts by dave collett

okay, well, the first post here: http://djsc18.tumblr.com/ shows some pics of the plants in the bed.

I hope my images show up here.
not sure what any of this stuff is- obviously there are a few nettles, there is a conifer tree, and a big evergreen bush. I am surprised to see some ground cover in there under the bushes- didn't think anything would survive with such limited light.
I have an area in my garden that was planted with heather and shrubs when we moved in 10 years ago, we haven't touched it so far.
I want to 'replace' this stuff with food cropping plants in a fruit tree guild (probably 2-3 trees). I have some perennial plants ready that would be happy in this guild.
Do I grub up everything in the ornamental bed and start from bare earth? that doesn't seem right, but what should I do instead? slash it all down and use for mulch?
I want to put apple and pear trees in, with rhubarb X2, cardoon X3, jerusalem artichoke (loads), lovage- I have all these plants on the property, they are well established already but poorly sited.

any suggestions on a dramatic reworking versus gentle guiding ?
I am in the same part of the world as michael cox, and I did the same thing- put them in a proper raised bed, which does defeat the point really. sepp holzer seems to use them as more of a pioneer plant- they don't need particularly good soil. the farty thing is due to the inulin, but your body does have the enzymes to deal with it, it just isn't conditioned to expect it. eat small amounts at first and you soon adjust, I have found that each harvest season I can eat large quantities straight away now with no ill effects. they are a hassle to prepare because the knobbly shape makes them difficult to clean, I dig a load up, prepare them en masse and freeze. best deployment of them seems to be as a pig forage, though i don't keep pigs myself.
interesting; I didn't realise they would need to be taught.
we have some chickens that were bought at point of lay and fed on pellets. tried to offer them good green veggies like chicory and some other stuff a few times and they never pay it any attention- perhaps I should try this.
7 years ago
I am in Kent.
studied architecture at uni, now doing an admin job. I am not actively doing any permie projects as circumstances don't permit- joined this site in anticipation of buying a place of my own soon and doing a bit of an eco-renovation.
7 years ago

Stephanie Newman wrote:
I've only recently ordered the book on rocket mass heaters and thought I would try to make a small one for a shed to make it into a spare room. Does anyone in the UK know what the insurance rules are about this.

RMHs don't comply with building regs and would definitely invalidate your building insurance.
It's so difficult to do anything here on a DIY basis- even for fitting heat recovery venting or new windows there's someone who's been on a course and has a limited monopoly in the form of governement certification schemes to charge you a fortune to do it.

I won't treat you to the rest of that rant, but no; RMH at home is a no-go unless you do it on the QT.
7 years ago

Seren Manda wrote:I'm getting chickens this year. After much debate of what will work for a residential backyard, I've decided to go with a south-facing hoop coop. I'd like feedback from the experts before I start construction

Thank you!

not an expert, but I built a chicken tractor a few years ago and started another recently. I was rushed into my first build and it was consequently quite poor- main advice: spend ages on the design and get it right, design the details and the experience of using it- how will you get the food in and out? how exactly will you design any doors- e.g. egg collection, acces for cleaning(especially if you are doing a sort of covered wagon design- can you take a side panel off there? if doors slide will the channels get clogged with bedding and chicken poo? will they expand and contract from summer to winter leaving drafty gaps in cold weather?
for my next tractor I will aim for lightness and wheels(basically a giant wheelbarrow)- for a stationary coop you should aim for cheapness and durability, the reason my first failed is that I saw southern US designs using chipboard and plywood and I took the form but used wood because ply wouldn't cope with our wet climate in the UK. The result is much too heavy- but has lasted about 3.5 years, has plenty of life left in it and was very cheap- this would make sense as a coop.
7 years ago
hi, just feeding back that what I think I need now is a vented condensing combi boiler that is fully modulating.
this is a common, not too expensive system that is tankless so doesn't take up much space and doesn't store hot water- no cylinder losses. the fully modulating capability is what will allow me to safely feed in preheated "cold" water.
7 years ago

Joel Hollingsworth wrote:It's also not too difficult to build an air-to-air heat exchanger. 

I can't find it today, but there's a how-to online for a system with two fans, one blowing room air onto an accordion-pleated piece of aluminum foil on its way outside, the other one blowing outside air onto the other surface on the way into the building.  If it's set up correctly, it recovers a huge amount of heat.

please tell me more! I am a DIY kind of guy, and a whole house heat recovery ventilation system costs about £2000 here. would like to do it, but maybe for about half that!

okay, I have been looking at a load of resources for this- pretty interesting. the heat exchangers are actually quite easy to build, it's a question of whether you really save any money after buying the fans and controller, and whether it will last as long as a commercial unit. seems like the sub-$500 american ones are quite a bit smaller than the ones I have seen; something tells me that to be worth adopting this as a strategy and making all the air-tightness improvements you need a really high efficiency, like 80% plus.
7 years ago