Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

In this thread, Andy the unhandy man, outlines his progress and learnings as he builds his own set up.  

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Comment by Andrew Cumberland on Friday

I'm going in!

Tomorrow, I start building the tank.  It will be 1157 liters (to be precise).  Approx 2.4 meters long and 1.2 wide.  I've elected to go with a good looking wooden design built from sleepers that will match my planter chair and other items I intend to install.  The liner will be a dam/pond liner.  Well, that's the theory... I'll let you all know and perhaps post a pic when this first stage is done.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on Saturday

Frame for the tank is up.  I misjudged the height - it was actually .8 of a metre (4 sleepers high) so I halved the width.  I want to put a few more steel bracing brackets inside to make sure it can take the load of the water, but essentially the wood part is done.  Cost to date is about $150 covering wood, steel brackets and screws.  I am also debating whether to put a wooden bench on the front of it.  I think I will because it can double as a step to make sure I can reach everything in the grow bed (which I haven't even begun to plan). 

Sand added to the base of the tank.  Weed mat added around the sides to soften any brackets or screws (so they don't pierce the liner).  Liner in but not yet secured properly or done neatly enough.  

Additional cost $120 for liner and $32 for sand and weed mat.  That makes the current total $302 and I haven't begun the grow beds or pump.  

LESSON 1:  The IBC solution is definitely MUCH cheaper. I could have prettied it up with cheap bamboo screening around the base.  I'm still happy, because I'm doing this myself and it fits my garden decor perfectly. 

Pics to date will go up tonight or tomorrow.  

First set of pictures:

Okay.  These images are at the stage where I have built, put the sand down on the base and weed mat around the sides.  I have not put the liner in at that time.  This is really a construction view taken side on:

Front view:

Another front angle shot with Louie (and a wheel barrow) providing some sense of scale:

Little Louie said, "The foundations looked fine to me Dad."  (He is half blind tho.)  He also said they smelled pretty good.  

For those who check my blog on this site, the structure has been designed to match my Rozie's garden seat. 

Looks great I'll be watching for updates with great interest!

I lost a few days work due to the flu this week.  (You can't tell because I posted pictures of previous work mid-week.  But, normally, I can plan the garden mid week and work on it on Fridays). Of course today, I'm feeling better and am ready to go, but I couldn't do anything due to the weather.  

So, I am just updating the cost issue.  I did buy some dressed, treated decking pine to cap the tank (and secure the lining) at $25.  Then I bought some drainage lines which will serve as my grow beds/lines.  They are 2 metres long but I will need to silicon the join in the centre of each grow line (they are $14 for 1 metre but join really easily).  I have two at two metres long and can add a third, if I want.  Worked out how to get a tilt on them so they flow using just scrap wood that doesn't look just too ugly. I think it will work well for a constant flow system. 

I still don't have the liner in, but no rush when I don't have the pump and it is raining. 

So, total cost now to date:  $302+25+56= $383

I was happy with my grow bed alternative because it was pretty cheap at $56 (I'll post some pix soon).  However, the pump is going to give me quite a hit.  I reckon I'll lose another $200-300 on that.  I want a solar one with electricity back-up.  

Risks;  I have no idea if my grow line idea will really work - but the hydroponic shop at Alderley seem to manage well using downpipes.  The tank is long enough and deep enough, but I worry about the width.  I wish I had have made it at a metre rather an 60 cm.  (I was worried about ugliness.)  Finally, getting the liner in will be a real bugger.  It's fine on the long sides but the short sides have tons of excess liner that I need to fold and silicon down like giant darts in a skirt or pants.  

Any progress?

I'm afraid not.  I can't work on it in the rain on weekends and I am busy in the week. The capping and stuff is nicely cut to size, so she is ready to go.  As expected, I did play a bit with the liner and it will be a bugger to install.  Mostly just because it has to be folded neatly and then siliconed down. 

I realised that I also should have bought deeper drainage pipes for the grow beds.  Having said that, I think it will work okay so long as I stick to plants like lettuces, herbs and the like which was my intention anyways.  

I am hoping to get the liner in on Saturday or Sunday (provided the rain holds).  That will be an achievement and my biggest hurdle. 

All the green leafy vegies ( spinach, silverbeet, celery and the various chinese greens. Beans and tomatoes grow well and peas too.

I keep seeing that Christine.  I'm still dead keen, just been a tad distracted making cheese. 

Sounds amazing, my mouth is watering. Here are some pictures of the new beds in process, liner then insulation for them, insulation and then liner for the tanks, actually there is a large tank not unlike yours that is fiber glassed, my husbands first experiment in tanks, cost a small fortune compared to the timber ones, that will be the main one for these new beds and then a small one for weed and shrimp or something underneath. I have added photos for you to see.

I went... I saw... I commented.... and I was most impressed!


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