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.

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!!

Sunday 23 May 2021

Cute and crazy chicks

Our new recruits are doing very well and we now have three generations of chicks all at different ages and it is fascinating to follow their development.

Our first hatchlings were the Cream Legbars and we moved them out into a pen amongst the main flock at 3 weeks old.
Now 4 weeks on we opening the pen up and they have been doing a bit of mixing, looking all grown up they are starting to mature into smart little pullets.
The brahmas were 3 weeks behind and they too have been growing fast and due to their size as a breed they have grown at a greater rate.
Now 4 weeks old they are very special looking little lovelies, 

With rather bizarre plumage and very long legs for their body size - certainly guaranteed to raise a smile, even on these wintery days that we have been 'enjoying' lately!

Our final new recruit is another Cream Legbar, but a little girl. She hatched under just 2 weeks ago - but is doing incredibly well, with a very dedicated foster mum.
So tiny, a day after hatching she could just be seen pepping from underneath mum's wing.
She soon ventured out of the nest, but still not that steady on her feet.
With regular helpings of live food she is growing fast and now quite a confident little thing.
Now she enjoys the comfort and warmth of mum, but is constantly on the listen for treats - favourite are live meal worms or wire worms - which has initiated a new enterprise - the subject of the next blog!!

Saturday 1 May 2021

Bouncing Brahmas

Our Brahma chicks continue to do well - today, out and about enjoying the sunshine - how lovely
In the meantime the chicks in the Cream Legbar eggs are pipping and preparing to face the world!!
The chick in the egg front right has made a start - how exciting!!

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...