Possum-Proof Raised Pallet Garden Bed With Easy Access

I was pretty stoked to see some of the vegetable seeds I had planted come up. They were struggling a bit being winter and me not giving them as much water as they’d probably like. I’d also neglected to do any weeding and so the infestation of Wandering jew  had crept into my designated garden bed area as well as the usual scattering of cobblers pegs, the bane of socks and pants everywhere.  I had just restarted using my Bokashi bin and there was a heap of juice ready to be used so I diluted it and watered the few vegetables that were poking their heads up.

When I went to check the plants four days later, quite a few had grown three time their size! Bokashi magic! A few days later, almost all off them had pretty much been decimated by possums. Not happy.  The idea behind the netting below is that possums don’t like unstable surfaces and so won’t climb the netting. I had used tent pegs to keep it to the ground but I’m guessing they were probably jumping into the patch from nearby trees or getting under.

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Carazy Composting Method : No Turn, Self Aerated, Quick Hot Composting System – Part 2

For those of you who’ve come late to the party here is part 1

Carazy Composting Method : No Turn, Turbo Charged, Self Aerated Hot Composting System

After building the self aerated composting bin the next stage was to fill it with organic matter.

I chopped up a whole heap of dry sugar cane mulch, leaves, horse manure and began to fill the bin to the top pausing every 15-20cm to give each layer a soaking with the hose.

When placing the material in there do not compact it. You want there to be small passages of air to allow the aerobic process to occur. The wetting process will make the material heavy and compact it to some extent. If you are putting small sticks or woody material, place the layers at various angles to each other to give more opportunities for air pockets to be created.





Given my one person household doesn’t turn over much in the way of compostable food waste, I had a chat with the owner of a local cafe and asked if I could get her food scraps and coffee grounds. She was happy to oblige so I bought a brand new black garbage bin and tied a laminated note to it specifying that it was for composting materials only and my contact details. So twice a week I get a phone call saying my compost is ready and I duck down to the cafe and grab my bin. I can’t believe how excited I am to be picking up someone else’s garbage!

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Installing A Water Tank And Are Rainwater Tanks Worth It.

A few years ago Brisbane was going through a mild drought. I say mild because realistically it was just water restrictions and the introduction of pay per use water. I’ve seen what real droughts do to rural areas and having to wash your car using a bucket and no longer being able to use sprinklers was hardly devastating to our lives. With the restrictions on water use came a wave of water tank sales buoyed with a govt rebate scheme in 2008. It is amazing how many people jumped onto that bandwagon without really thinking about it. Free govt money! The cost of a tank today is pretty much the same price as the cost (after rebates) back then, so I’m guessing tank installers were taking the rebate as cream.

At the time I thought it might be a good opportunity to get one so I checked out pricing and crunched some numbers. I based it on a 3000L tank as it would be the only size I could realistically manhandle down my hill and it was the minimum size required to get the rebate. (There were other stipulations as well such as getting it plumbed to your laundry or toilet which added extra costs not to mention the large costs of concrete/gravel or sand base)

The price of water was around $1.20/1000L so a full 3000L water tank had around $3.50 of water in it. I think at the time my out of pocket costs would have been $800 for supply only then the cost of me creating a bed for it etc. So based on that I would need to drain a full tank 228 times to recoup costs. In a perfect world of raining once a week and using the full tank over the remaining 6 days it would still take nearly four and half years to get the money back.

That may not seem so bad but the reality is Brisbane has around 110days per year average rainfall, most of which pummels down for weeks on end and then during autumn and winter we have 2-3 months of absolute dry. So during the 3 month rainy season you have no need to use your tank, then your tank remains empty sporadically for the remainder of the year. So even at optimal use you’re looking at a decade to get your money back. So back then I decided it wasn’t worth it.

From an economic standpoint, unless you experience water shortages, have costly water bills or the town supplied water is full of chemicals, then don’t bother. Your town supply water is essentially a giant water tank (usually a dam or natural waterway) accessible by everyone. From a permacultural perspective you do want it as harvesting and trapping the energy of that water on high ground is a valuable resource. Plus plants seem to do better when fed rainwater over town water, at least here in Brisbane.

Which leads me onto the next part.


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