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.

Tuesday 29 September 2020

Compost is key

 Although we have been making our own compost in conventional bays for some time now, which Melv increased the size of just recently, these by no means offer the capacity that we need. They are excellent at dealing with material produced on a day to day basis as we clear the odd bed or trim back growth, but they just can't produce the volumes we need and cater for the large amounts of material that are generated at peak times, such as clearing section of the polytunnels.

After the events of this year and becoming contaminated with Aminopyralid, through bringing material in from elsewhere, in we are now very wary about importing any material in, so Melv has been thinking about ways in which to address both these issues. Staying in control of the material we are using but also managing to produce the volumes we need. His thoughts then turned to our own fields and the large amount of grass that was being produced thanks to the ideal growing weather we have had this year - wet and warm. 

The current relationship with our local farmer is that he cut and bales our grass after it has set seed off the 10 acres that we don't cultivate and then after grazes the ground for us with a low stocking density, in an attempt to restore the fields back to good diverse grassland.

In previous years, in return we were taking farm material from him to add to our ground, however this year we have changed our approach and have decided that the best option would be for us to retain some of the baled material off our own ground and turn it directly into compost. At least then we would know exactly where the material had come from and how it had been produced. Although we needed to factor in the time this would take to allow the baled grass to compost down, it would ultimately be a far more sustainable approach.

So after a the late cut, all the bales - a total of 17 large rectangular, produced from our top field stayed on the ground and Melv had an ingenious idea about composting.

With the help of the excavator Melv set to moving the bales - large, and full of good grass, they were heavy and the machine was fantastic at manoeuvring them into to place.

The machine carried them into our fenced area and adjacent to the existing compost bays
Where he lined them up in two rows, their shape and size just perfect.

Next it was for the addition of the two magic ingredients - water and a bit of help from the girls...
big and small
and their daily bucket full of poo, spread over the top!!

The bales with their 'dressing' will be left over the winter to breakdown and come the spring we plan to plant next season's squash plants in them - which love enriched ground and are certainly doing well this year in the cow manure.
After which we will then see how composted the material is and continue to enhance this if needed. In the meantime we are now all set for producing the material we need and the aroma that fills the air in a small section of the top field is the delightful sweet smell of an elephant enclosure - the creation of fresh compost - lovely!!

Tuesday 22 September 2020

Secret Squash

Not so secret now!!!

Melv gave the well grown squash fruits some light by cutting back their leaves to allow them to ripen and didn't we have a lovely surprise.
We found some beauties, just waiting to shine in the sunshine. However there wasn't just one there were...
many, peppered all across the ground
All shapes, sizes and colours...

Quite amazing, they have quietly been getting on with doing what they do best, taking up all the ground has to offer and absorbing the suns rays and warmth they to grow into something just so beautiful and wowing.

Now if that isn't both special and inspirational then what is - the magic of growing something from seed and watching it grow, (with the added benefit of being edible!), brings an uncomplicated sense of reality to our existence, that will never change, however uncertain the rest of life in this world currently seems.

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...