Godney Aquaponics

Godney Aquaponics
In the village of Godney, with the beautiful back drop of the Glastonbury Tor, Melv and Sal are embarking on a new venture. Fed up with the poor quality of veg in the shops, they have the ambition to set up an aquaponics system to provide fresh vegetables and salad crops for the village, and with a little help from their hens a supply of fresh free range eggs too.

What is Aquaponics??

What is Aquaponics??
Aquaponics is a sustainable method of producing quality food with minimal external inputs. It is a system that combines conventional aquaculture (e.g. fish in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. Water from the aquaculture system is fed to the hydroponic system where the by-products are broken down and are utilised by the plants as nutrients, and the water is then re-circulated back to the aquaculture system.

Saturday, 7 May 2022

Home grown

Now normally with our horticultural hats on when we talk about home grown we are refering to vegetables. But for the first time since we have been keeping chickens we can relate this to our new bouncing Brahmas. Our reliable 'mother' Carpet has recently hatched out a full clutch of eggs. But they were no ordinary eggs - they were home produced Brahma eggs.
Courtesy of our Brahma ladies
and Big Boy our spectaular cockerel
we had 6 fertile jewels of new life.
After 21 days of dedication we had our first glimpse
Then to our delight our clever little bantam had managed to hatch out not just 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 BUT 6!!
Six lovely little bouncing brahmas, from our very own flock - something I have always wanted to do... We have watched how different the temprement of hens is when they are hatched and raised in the flock, so for this alone it has been an aspiration.
So cute...
In true Brahma style their rate of growth is incredible and just 11 days old they are outside foraging and running cirlces around their mother - that's little'uns for you!
However, come evening time - exhausted from a day of activity and learning, the warmth of mum's feathers will always be top of the list

Saturday, 12 March 2022

Every storm has a silver lining ...

Well we have certainly having some stormy weather of late and the wind!!! 

We were dreading the weather forecasted, especially with 4 polytunnels ...

But we certainly escaped lightly and I am so pleased that the only gripe I had after the event was why does it always fall on someone else's fence!!

A large willow had managed to go crashing on to our neighbour's boundary balanced precariously on their wooden fence, holding their horses in.

Despite being a little daunted by the job ahead, as soon as the weather calmed we didn't waste any time. We didn't want the tree to fall any further and damage the fence beyond repair.

Melv set to work with the chainsaw and Sal waited on hand to shift the debris.

But it was the digger that was the god send, it shifted the long, broad limbs safely and effortlessly.

And as we are not getting any younger we were very appreciative that it took all the hard work out of things!!

And so did the 'Pickaroo' to shift the logs, an invention Melv found off the internet and fashioned out of an old drywall hammer, it picks up logs beautifully - with no need for back bending - excellent!!

Then with a little bit of effort and a few hours work - look what we've now got!!

Two winters worth of firewood to heat our little cottage.

Lovely ...

Saturday, 5 February 2022

Godneyaquaponics.com goes live

Godneyaquaponics.com goes live ...

The Covid pandemic is responsible for many things - good and bad, a positive for Godney Aquaponics is that it has encourage us to develop new products and join the new world of the web. The winter is the perfect time for us to do both of these as such we have recently launched our new website to promote two new exciting products. Both are designed to be sold on line and posted out to customers.

Black Garlic

Black Garlic is a unique product with a fig-like texture. With a completely different taste to the pungency of white garlic, it is both sweet & savoury with a flavour of liquorice, tamarind & balsamic. It is mild and delicious and adds real umami to countless dishes.

This very distinctive product is made through the Maillard process, by heating white garlic at a low temperature with high humidity for many weeks. The slow cooking turns it black, and converts the allicin, which gives white garlic it’s pungent flavour, into a mild, sweet, sticky, delicious ingredient. This process also substantially increases the number of healthy compounds much higher than found in white garlic, such as S-Allylcysteine, a powerful antioxidant.

Godney Aquaponics are now selling this both via select retail outlets and online.

Sold in linen bags, each bag has two large black garlic bulbs

Oak & Bay Smoked Large Garlic

Gently smoked for 8 hours in the traditional way, to give the garlic a lovely rick smoky flavour with a hint of bay.

Sold in Kraft paper bags, each bag has two large smoked garlic bulbs.

As well as our new products the website provide info on our enterprise together with how to contact us, and also hosts this blog - so why not take a look ...

Sunday, 16 January 2022

A little sign of spring

At this time of year it is always very welcome to have signs that spring is on its way and today we had just that. It wasn't your usual indication - far from it and would only ever be experienced by a few folk who are lucky enough to own a certain breed of chicken. 

 Mmmm - sounds intriging hey... 

Today we had a sign that the day light hours were extending - now noticeably lighter at either end of the day, both in the morning and evening. As a result the chickens are seeing a little more light, out scratching around by 7.45am and not turning in until 5pm. The reward for this is that we are lucky to have an increase in their egg production and with a variety of hen types we then get a more varied selection of shape, size and of course colour. 

Well today our Cream Legbar, Denis (named after Denis Waterman - Minder, as she looks after the bantams) laid, for the first time in many, many months and this means one thing:

a blue egg - how lovely and how special. 

Bring on the spring - and all the usual signs - new green shoots, warmer temperatures and of course the dawn chorus - can't wait... 

 Happy New Year!!

Saturday, 27 November 2021

There aint no drama with a Brahma!!

On a bitterly cold winters day, one of our lady Brahmas brought a ray of sunshine. Let me introduce you to the lady.
This is Buffy the Brahma and today was a very special day for her - she laid her very first egg!! It is lovely to think that she is 'one of our own', hatched out by Carpet our lovely bantam mother.
We watched her grow with her siblings, through spikey tails, bad hair days and fluffy bottoms.
Being a large breed of chicken their growth rate was incredible and they were soon in the outside coup using the perch and bigger than their foster mother!!
However one grew more than the others - let me introduce Buffy's brother
This is Big Boy - our Brahma cockerel - he's getting up to 40cm tall, but he is so soft he is lovely and a joy. He too had a special moment not so long ago - he started to crow!!
They certainly are very special hens in many ways - looks and temperament just to name a couple.
And certainly a very welcome addition to the flock and now of course their eggs are soon to become a very welcome addition to our egg boxes.
Bigger than a bantam but not yet hen size, Buffy's first egg (top middle) looks like porcelain, with a gorgeous pinky tinge - beautiful, just like Buffy and her brother and sisters.

Sunday, 1 August 2021

Its in the Chiller, Chiller Now...

Wasn't that a song that Michael Jackson sang, well kind of, with a bit of artistic licence?!?

With now so many demands on our time, largely generated by the ever changing pandemic rules, in and out of lockdown, changing opening hours and moving from takeaways to inside seating, we have recently been unable to do our local delivery.

So as way of small compensation we have finally managed to set up a glass fronted fridge at our Godney cottage ready to be filled with lovely fresh produce, so local people and visitors alike don't miss out.

In true Melvyn style, give him a building project and he is in his element and constructing a produce hut was no exception.

We were soon putting the finishing touches in place - two blackboards either side listing the produce available.
Together with a sign at the end of the fence to attract customers who may not live in the village.
Melv made sure it was all stocked up with runner beans, fine beans, pink fir apple potatoes, courgettes and a selection of tomatoes, for starters.

With the recent hot weather, the fridge is a must and having a glass front means that customers can see what is on offer from the outside.
Complete with honesty box, we are all set up, ready for whatever the weather - customers can now enjoy what we have to offer when they need it.
It will be stocked up everyday, for as long as we have produce available, so if you are passing through the village and fancy fresh veg, why not take a look...

Friday, 28 May 2021

Mealworm Magic

 Our 'Hotbox' used for growing unusual garnishes such as sweetcorn shoots and sweet pea shoots has recently been put to another exciting enterprise. Found dumped on a drove just outside the village the hotbox is an upright fridge freezer that we have recycled, cleaned up and adapted. 

With the installation of a small heater, we use the appliance to grow plants which like warmth and need to be in the dark, the freezer became a sealed hotbox.

Micro sweetcorn shoots flourished and were popular for both sweet and savoury dishes. Used as a unique garnish, they provide a rather special taste. The first bite gives a sweetness of traditional freshly picked sweetcorn, which is followed by a taste probably best described as intense sweet bubble-gum that lingers in quite a remarkable pleasant way. 

However it also provides the perfect conditions for something completely different...

Meal worms - although eaten in some countries, not popular in the UK, but the hens' favourite and fantastic for the development of the newly hatched youngsters. For the older birds, we currently use dried meal worms, they find them irresistible. In terms of flock management they are an excellent way to bring the flock together and if needed in for safety. This is a technique we use with all our birds as a reliable way to call them round however long they have been with us, young or old. However buying dried food of this nature is always done with caution, to ensure they are of the best quality. But the hotbox presents an alternative - breeding our own!!
All we need is a box, oatmeal, vegetables and live mealworms...
Place the worms on the oatmeal and cover them with vegetables, and place them in the hotbox 
and watch them feed and grow...
By the next morning they had pulled all the vegetables below the surface and the oatmeal was a live with activity.
By the end of the day they were on to their second helping!

Maintaining a constant heat of 22'C - 25'C by the third day they had started to pupate, which will in turn become beetles, which then lay their eggs to produce mealworms...

Then sure enough the next day there was a beetle - it truly is mealworm magic that will win the hens' hearts!!

Home grown

Now normally with our horticultural hats on when we talk about home grown we are refering to vegetables. But for the first time since we hav...