Garden update

So after a week away at this crucial period of the year, how is the garden shaping up?

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Well, the potatoes are doing very well, the rucola needs to get its arse in gear, the cabbages under the cloche have done well, some of the radish have arrived (we ate the first one today actually!) and the beans and peas are a disaster.

In terms of seeding, well not much is growing so i planted a new batch of squash and courgette today.

Also we moved the cloche and put in spinach, peas, boerkole and rucola. Let’s see what grows, if anything!!

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Still waiting on the marijuana….

The hops and mint in the front seem to be lapping up the sunshine. In fact, the hops need more bamboo to be trained along, reminds me of the vine in Brighton I had, as long as you provide the sun and the training, those vines just go for it.

Was supposed to rain today but didn’t, did a bit yesterday. In the week we were gone, the IBC filled up about halfway so luckily there was some rain.

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I did manage to fall off a ladder today, that was fun!
[I can say that because i walked away unharmed]

A useful reddit answer

mrCloggy said:

Just in case you are not familiar with electrical stuff:
Energy (Wh) = Power (Watt) x time (hour), needed for battery capacity.
Power (Watt) = Volt x Ampere, the momentary drain of the battery.
Example for a phone:
Phone battery is 3.7V, 2000mAh.
Energy storage is 3.7V x 2Ah = 7.4Wh.
Power needed to charge in 2 hours is 7.4Wh / 2 hr = 3.7W, to charge in 4 hours it would be 1.85 Watt.

If your computer uses 20 Watt, and is in use for 8 hours, you need 160 Wh to charge it again, 160 W in 1 hr, or 40W during 4hr.

You not only need the total Power (your 250W), but also the time it takes to charge them, to calculate the solar panel and big-storage battery.

To find out how much solar energy is available at your location, you can use http://pvwatts.nrel.gov/ (use the worst case nov/dec values) to get an idea of the panel size.
(It gives kWh/kWp per month, divide (by 31) and with your requirements in Wh/day to get the panel size).

You don’t want to drain your battery completely, (very short life span), and there may be some cloudy days you want to cover, the battery capacity (ideally) is > 4 x ‘daily Wh’.
Example:
Daily use is 700Wh, battery voltage is 12.5V, battery capacity is 4x 700Wh/12.5V=224Ah.
Assume 80% efficiency, choose the next bigger one.

The total ‘Power’ you use dictates the 12Vdc-to-120Vac(?) inverter size, you don’t want to run it at 100% (it gets too hot).
If 250W (at the same time) is your use, choose a >300W inverter.

Sight

On Thursday evening i was chopping some brambles and i moved towards a bird cherry tree to take out some of the brambles growing into up through it. I walked straight into a branch and it went directly into my right eye.

I immediately dropped the secateurs and for a moment I thought I had really fucked up my eye. Luckily though I could still see and although it was streaming it didn’t hurt so much. I was probably a bit in shock so i carried on doing stuff and then started off an admin session, which quickly got derailed when my eye kept on flaring up.

It got to the point (familiar to me because of my recurrent corneal erosion syndrome) where it was painful to keep my eye open, therefore i shut it and had to shut the other one also, thus making me blind. I had a really painful night, sorry H. Then I was blind pretty much all of Friday, which sucked since I had stuff to do but I was completely incapacitated. It really sucks not being able to see. All I could do was sleep and piss. After a while I managed to find some radio documentaries on my fone.

Luckily after 24 hours i could see again!

Visit to a squatted catalonian city garden

Another informative visit! These people doing a cool community project in a neighbourhood where the neighbours weren’t so active had some help from an architect firm interested in artistic community intervention. This meant they had loads of shit on wheels! And thus much inspiration for the wheelbarrow project…

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Wow do they have a lot of sun for the veggies…

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Visit to a 12 volt catalonian social centre

It was cool to visit a squatted bank today which was offgrid and using a few tricks I have pioneering further north. I was also inspired by some innovations!

Lights were set up with LED strips connected to the preinstalled light switches, with a battery bank in the kitchen which went into the 240volt breaker board (that’s good to see, since i’ve been pondering doing precisely that instead of wasting my time looking online at boat websites and bothering auto shops looking for DC breaker boards). The clothes line clips were a blast from the Teuge past as well. The lights were apparently quite cheap so I need to look into them again, maybe the ones i saw in the shop were more expensive for some reason.

The water was held in white plastic containers for flushing the toilet and big clear plastic containers for drinking, a handy separation (which of course it took me a while to work out). There was also a big 25 litre hard plastic container hooked up with rubber tubing to a tap for handwashing. The tap to turn it on/off was so hidden as to make it almost unusable, I think you would need to be shown how to use it first, and of course it was empty since it’s an arse climbing up to throw in a container or two of water, but it’s still quite an elegant solution for a space which could be used by a lot of people all at once, since I do see my system of having a basin in which I wash my hads over the course of the day is both confusing to others and not particularly hygenic when more people are around.

Collecting the water was a pleasure and a lot more easier than at our place… We took a shopping trolleys full of empty containers and trundled around the corner 200metres to a drinking water tap on the street and filled up there. That was easier than at our place, where a bike ride is involved. I’ll ask about how they heat in winter.

ADDITION

Darn I asked about heating and apparently they don’t need to heat in winter. I guess that’s why loads of english crusties move to spain jejejeje.

Visit to Can Mas Deu

It really ticked a box on the longterm todo list to visit Can Mas Deu, I have wanted to see it for ages. It’s an amazing place right out on the edge of the city in the hills, with well developed community gardens and a lovely social centre space. We saw some excellent examples of sustainable living like a 13 year old solar water heater and a self-built cob house which seemed very energy efficient.

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They are also (for a long time) on mains power and have two washing machines. The (for me) famous washing machine bike is still there, rusting away. X who was doing the tour said that it was only for journalists. I remember it since when I was in BCN in 2001 for a terrible anti-civilisation gathering Y went on to stay there and was so enthused when he came back to Teuge that he built one himself. Unfortunately the foto I took was rubbish, but of course the internet delivers!

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[While seaerching for the foto, I found the washing machine bike described as world famous!]

I was always interested to build a twelve volt bike generator at Teuge but of course I didn’t since it’s easier to think about these things than to actually do it. There is some trick I cant remember to put resistance in the circuit so it isn’t hard to cycle. To be fair when you are living without electricity, then welding isn’t really possible. That also stopped my tallbike ambitions at the time.

Anyway, returning to the subject, they did also have some nifty 12 volt watering stuff going on at Can Mas Deu….

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