Backyard to food forest

JoshW

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I'm getting them through Doug Dyde's produce store on David st. I think they are $29 each from memory.

I'm ok with the price, because the service was great. A real old school shop, he was happy to share knowledge & offer suggestions, not just point at an isle like most places these days :)
Thanks - yeah I get my avian medicines from Doug (and feed when I can't get to Parkside). Are they full blood Australorps? Or crossed with Rhode Island Reds? Almost grabbed some Hyline chicks this weekend past
 

AndrewB

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They are full Australorps.

I also found some bees locally after a bit of a hunt around. Getting a full hive this weekend if all goes to plan & will transfer them into my flow hive.

Additionally, I'm getting a solar power system installed on Monday, so it's all happening at the moment!
 

AndrewB

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Started work on a pond today & almost finished it. I need some more big flat rocks for the island, but the landscaping place is shut tomorrow & I won't be able to get there until next weekend now :(

I also need to get/build a filter to take out the sediment that came off the rocks, it's rather muddy at the moment!

I'm not planning on getting fish, it's just for wildlife- frogs, lizards, birds, bees, etc.

I got some native water plants & will be planting some of my medicinal herbs around it as well.

I picked up & put the bees on the island tonight, they are not in the flow hive yet, but should be ready to split into it in a few weeks time.

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AndrewB

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Turns out the landscaping place has just switched over to summer hours, so they were open.

Still got a bit to do, but it's almost there.

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The bees are very happy on their little island. They are nice & calm, I had quite a few land on my hand as I was moving rocks & planting things.

They will seriously reduce my productivity though, I reckon I spent a few hours sitting there watching them today :)

 
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Robbie

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Andrew what you are creating at your place is nothing short of awesome you have to be proud of yourself. I do like the look of the flow hive could you give some feed back on it after a few months, I've heard some mixed reports on it here in Tassie manly in the colder areas.
 
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JoshW

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Thanks Andrew, I'll go see Doug next week. I hope you're proud of what you've achieved, bloody fantastic mate
 
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AndrewB

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Thanks guys, I hope it can inspire others to do the same, even if it's on a smaller scale.

Robbie, I'll let you know how it goes. One of the local farmers here is getting some Layens hives made up. They may be worth looking into. They are a horizontal hive, with thicker walls (at least double of a standard langstroth or flow hive), which help insulate against heat/cold much better & make it easier for the bees to maintain temperature.

If a flow hive is failing in a cold environment, it could be that the bees were not left enough honey to over winter. You could fix this by adding another brood box, or just removing the queen excluder when winter arrives & letting the bees into the super.
 
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AndrewB

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Busy week & weekend.

I got a solar system installed on the house, 10kw, with an 8kw battery system.
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Finished fencing the chicken run, I plan to get some temporary fencing as well so I can get them to target certain beds/areas. I pick the chickens up this coming Friday, can't wait!
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Did some more work on the pond & split the beehive into the flowhive. The water is still pretty murky, those orange stones were a mess. If I use them again, I think i'll go to the car wash & give them a good rinse first!

Still have some work on the edges to do. I need a creeper that I can plant it the water that will climb up onto the rocks. Cress may do the job.
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Found this little guy, not sure what variety it is, but it's now making a home on the rocks around the pond.
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Lots of flowers & growth happening at the moment, we are on the edge of spring. It's still been a little chilly over night with the occasional light frost, but hopefully the worst is over.
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AndrewB

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Chickens have arrived.

It was interesting watching them test things out once they settled down & realised that I wasn't going to eat them.

One tried to force her way through every hole in the chicken wire trying to get to the kale on the other side, then gave up, jumped on top of the hutch & was planning to jump the fence before I grabbed her. I still have a bit more fencing to go yet, so hopefully it won't be an issue once I'm done!

I'll be spending a lot of time with them over the weekend helping them settle in. They are pretty cautious when out in the open, but very calm when being held, so I think they'll get used to me in no time.

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Charity

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Your place looks great. Such a huge change from the empty lot just a short time ago.
 

Vicky

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Chicken coop is assembled & in place. I have some fencing to do next weekend. I'm going to give them a run all the way around the fence line so I don't have to weed it & let them into the rest of the garden under supervision so they don't eat things to the point it won't grow back!

Have you heard about the deep litter system that you can use with Chickens Andrew? You'd fill their run with wood chip mulch and just throw all your scraps and garden goodies in there for them, it keeps it from smelling too much, and drying out and also flooding. After 6 months or so you can dig up and sieve some beautiful compost to use in your potting shed or garden. Might work well there?

The hive came up good with some oil & paint. Would be nicer if the finish was more consistent, but the various wood components are from different batches I assume, so stains differently. I need to figure out where to put it now. I have a lot of ants around that i'm worried about, so I'm thinking I may surround it with a pond/stream so it's isolated on it's own little island.
That looks awesome!! The only drawback with flowhives that I have heard about is if the honey candies while in the hive, then you need to take out the affected frames and work out how to get the honey out of them without breaking them. I thought it would be a good idea to have a few spares on hand for such an occurence. We have canola planted around us and someone has put hives out in the paddock, it would be interesting to know how they go with candied honey!!

Fruit trees are flowering. It's been raining, so no frost for the last week, but it's something i'll need to keep an eye on for the next month or so.
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I have a heap of planting to do to increase plant diversity, but already the beneficial insects are moving in. I have dozens of hoverfriends flying about :)
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Not sure why some of my comments are in the box above and some are here ???
Everything is looking sooooo much better than when you started and is already looking productive, thanks for keeping your post alive :) If you get yourself a couple of containers of live mealworms, you'll have those girls tame in no time. It is really quite low maintenance to get a mealworm farm going too :)
 
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AndrewB

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Thanks Charity, it's starting to really fill out now that spring is upon us.

I will probably do a deep litter system in the future Vicky, the current coop isn't really big enough for it & they won't be spending much time in there once I get all the fencing in place. Realistically, the entire garden is a deep litter bed with the amount of wood chips I'm using! Makes it very easy to clean up after the dog.

I have heard of that issue with the flow hives, but it's dependent on what the bees are harvesting from. I don't think there is much around here that would cause issues. Being in suburbia, there is too much diversity.

The chickens have accepted me as one of them, or as a perch, not sure which. I had 2 of them in my lap arguing over who gets pats & the third jumped on my shoulders.
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Indi is fascinated by them, I no longer need to keep an eye on what she's up to. Her entire saturday was spent staring at chickens.

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JoshW

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Thanks Charity, it's starting to really fill out now that spring is upon us.

I will probably do a deep litter system in the future Vicky, the current coop isn't really big enough for it & they won't be spending much time in there once I get all the fencing in place. Realistically, the entire garden is a deep litter bed with the amount of wood chips I'm using! Makes it very easy to clean up after the dog.

I have heard of that issue with the flow hives, but it's dependent on what the bees are harvesting from. I don't think there is much around here that would cause issues. Being in suburbia, there is too much diversity.

The chickens have accepted me as one of them, or as a perch, not sure which. I had 2 of them in my lap arguing over who gets pats & the third jumped on my shoulders.
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Indi is fascinated by them, I no longer need to keep an eye on what she's up to. Her entire saturday was spent staring at chickens.

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You would not believe Andrew, I have virtually the same picture with one of my Australorp X a few years back - I'll dig it out
 
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AndrewB

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They certainly have personality. I got three, I still struggle to tell them apart, but there are pretty distinct differences between each. The smallest hides in the coop a lot, the biggest will lead the others around exploring & i think its the middle one that loves getting hand fed sunflower seeds. She growls at me when I run out.
 
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