Friday, January 31, 2014

Homemade Fogging Fumigator

Looper caterpillars invaded our tomatoes. This is an act of war, and so I needed a way to disperse toxic dust particles (Derris Dust) amongst the plants in a thorough and pervasive manner - though I should imagine the same technique could be used to fog with any dry powder. It certainly beats heck out of the little pepperpot holes on the end of the derris tub. Here's a shot of it being tested; it's more impressive when a lot of powder is used and great billowing clouds come out.

We have an air compressor system in the workshop, so I dragged an air hose outside to provide the puff at 80 psi. On the end of the hose went the air gun fitted with a ball inflator needle. That pokes into a piece of plastic tube on a 13mm (1/2 inch in old money) barbed T joiner from my hydroponics plumbing box. Into the upright of the T goes a piece of 6mm i/d stiff PVC pipe, wrapped with tape to fit. This only goes half way up the T. Blasting air through the needle causes entrapped air to be sucked up the 6mm tubing and blown out of the open end of the T, together with any dust it may have sucked up. Cool, eh?

Derris dust is organic, but so is hemlock so only use it when no cold-blooded things you want to see alive are around, mask up, and don't muck about with it. Testing of the fogger was done with plain flour.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Recycled raised planter frame

Suz said she wanted a big planter, raised off the ground so she could tend it easily. We have no actual dirt except for a small strip under the factory security fence which we've already planted with hundreds of peas and beans. So she needed a large planter to grow crops that don't like hydroponics.
The planter, part-filled with tubs.

I scavenged 8 x 20l polythene cooking oil containers (couldn't find the lids, buggerit) and hacked the tops off with a skillsaw. A couple of 10mm holes 50mm up from the bottom provide drainage, and a load of river pebbles hold a reservoir of water at the bottom of the container below the drains. The rest gets filled with potting mix. Planting tub x 8; 150 litres of soil where none stood before.

OK, so now we have a large plantable area, but it's not raised up off the ground. So I dismantled a couple of palettes and with the 2x4 from them and a length of preserved 2x4 from a previous project, built basically a bed frame. Suz didn't like the yellow colour of the tubs, so the frame is enclosed with scavenged timber. The bottom is slats, allowing drainage, which would have been hard to arrange without using the tubs.

The tubs also allow herbs with wandering roots to be kept separated, and things to be moved around individually if needed. I'll try to score some more identical tubs as backups.

As you can see, it needs a bit of wood preservative, but otherwise looks fairly functional. Another recycled success story!