Here is a link to "Birdies" U.S. products website. A small amount of options compaired to what they offer in AUS but hey... it is a start.
The three color coating options are Merino (White), Mist Green, and Slate Grey.
I currently have some old homemade 2' tall wicking beds that I made and the soil in those things is rocking now after only a few years. What is cool about having a super tall bed that's lip sits about 3' high off of the ground is that you can let shorter vining plants just fall naturally over the sides without having to do the extra work of adding a trellis and such. If you have the beds on a hard paver patio, concrete slab, or well mulched pathway... you can let longer vining plants grow to the ground and keep going. Freeing up some taller plants in the middle of the bed (If wished).
The beds themselves get insanely heavy though as the soil inside breaks down and starts holding tons of water like a forest floor. I am planting them out with perennials now and likely will never have to water them again. I get 45 inches of rain here every year though.
I can bet that the same thing would happen with these "Birdies Raised Beds"!!!
I just realized that the mfr. that makes the raised beds from the "Epic Gardening" website is actually "Birdies".
Birdies is the #1 mfr. of raised garden beds in Australia and is using the Epic Gardening website to test the waters and see if there is a market for them here.
In the video below you can get a better look at the quality of the beds and how they have been standing up to the test of time with the gardener in the video. I see that he also has problems with what looks like Bermuda Grass like I did @ my last home.
The complete lack of cracks in the design of these particular beds leaves no open spaces for Rhizomes to slip up through and climb their way up through the bed. I kept having a major issue with that on my old raised beds. Which required me to dig down into the beds to pull/harvest out the rhizomes. Then dig up the old pathway to get those out/away from the beds. Then pull up the landscaping timbers and re-dig them deeper into the ground. Which, ended up not helping. lol
sorry you failed in your first attempt at hugelkultur.
at permies, we are a group that sort of focuses on asking what caused us to fail.
Why did you allow bermuda grass to overgrow your hugelkultur bed?
How did you allow bermuda grass to overgrow your hugelkultur bed?
How did this overgrowth actually cause it to fall?
Please post pictures of your fallen hugelkultur bed so we can diagnose your failed building technique.
Are those corrugated galvanized pipes??? Please google how handlers of galvanized pipe must wear gloves or they get galvanized poisoning....please also see the precautions welders of galvanized pipe must take. Look up the MSDS on galvanized pipe....do you really want to grow your food in this???
I tore down my hugelkultur bed a long while ago. Sold that home almost 2yrs ago actually. Had to clean up the yard for the sale.
I am currently on the hunt for a new home once my wife and I are finished stashing away enoug cash in savings. We want a home with a much larger lot next time. On a plus note the home sold in just 3 days with 3 offers all over asking price!!! I edible landscaped that home and others seemed to love it.
I live in suburbia. My yard was a mixed cool/warm season grasses with a heavy dose of bermuda. That is a species of grass that spreads via risomes that can cover large distances under ground befor popping back up somewhere new. Even my raised beds out in the garden had bermuda travel under landscape timbers that were 4" buried... under a 1ft walking path... and then up the 1ft of soil to the top of the beds to begin the envasion. I was able to keep that at bay (with a LOT of work). However, after just 1.5 years the beds were eaten alive with termites. Which are also prevalent in my area. Bermuda grass is weak against cold, and shade... neither of which the hugle bed offered. It had extra sun esposure due to shape and was extra warm due to orientation maximisation (For garden plants).
For answers to your questions about the metal used to mfr these beds... please watch the video I attached to the first post (On purpose for this very reason).
He answers some of the questions you asked @ about the 5min mark. I just went back and skimmed around in the video for you since you don't have the time.
You can also check out the link I attached in the first post. If you click on any of the variations of bed that they offer you will see that they are steel.... with a aluminum/zinc protective corrosion coating... that is then powder coated.
I have seen college studies that state things like heavy amounts of lead in soil does not accumulate in plants. It accumulates ON plants via splashing of the soil onto the plant during rain events. I have no concern of contaminants at this point.
Let me know if you have any more questions! I can find links for you if you wish.
I dipped my toe into the Hugelkultur realm about 5 years ago.
Although my planting was a great success for the first year or two my bed quickly became overwhelmed here on the Mid Atlantic with things like Bermuda Grass and such. Rendering it useless and causing it to fail.
I think I have finally found an alternative!
1. These beds are raised high enough to keep pests like possum, racoons, pet dogs, etc out of the beds.
2. They are also tall enough to both keep Bermuda Grass out AND also stack some seriouse wood scraps in there before adding a healthy layer of top soil.
3. They will last for decades.
4. They will save your back due to being so tall @ 30"
5. They will be easier to keep the fast growing grasses cut clean/neat around them... making them much more acceptable to your neighbors if you live in a suburban area like me.
6. You get all of the fertalizing/water holding capacities that come with Hugelkulture. As well as a no-till/no-dig garden bed. The soil will warm quicker and cool slower during the changing seasons.
7. Heck, you don't even have a need for composting anymore. Just bury your scraps directly into the garden soil like Ruth did!
I also already have large concrete paddio that would hold several of these beds. Which would require No weeding/cutting grass and would make great use of a wasted space. I would never be able to do hugel normally on just bare concrete.
What do you guys think??? Anyone have any experiences with them already???
The big ones in my area (Virginia 7b/8a)... the ones I see in 1 out of say 8 homes here in the suburbs... that are completely neglected and still produce are...
Just let them grow in their natural form in full Sun and they will be either a medium to large bush depending on type. They make 2 crops a year too!
The other big one would be mulberries. The black varieties have the most flavor. Just be sure to keep them away from where cars will be. Well actually, birds love them too. So a little further away than that. Dwarf everbearing seems like a good one to plant under a field of say pecan trees or some other large nut bearing tree. The berries will bring in the poop/fertilizer. Mulberries are immune to the juglone that black walnuts and their ilk produce.
I figured I should put my face up and took a selfie before taking the next harvest off of the plants.
Just topped her off with rainwater and fish feed to the automatic feeders.
Since the water has gotten so much cooler the fish have slowed way down on their feed rates. I now only have to add water and fish feed about once a month. Harvesting a little every two weeks or so.
I keep wondering how many plants you could clone in a system like this each year. If you were to give say 6" plant spacing... it would be a LOT of fig, lemon, mulberry, and goji berry plants (things that I have easily cloned so far).
Talk about a system that would easily pay for it'self!
Brian Rodgers wrote:DId you move from Alabama then? What was it like moving the cart? I'm getting my head around the idea of rolling it up on a truck. Well, then you have really tested the portability of your system. Good work, thanks for posting the updates.
Our system is the exact opposite then, being build of masonry, I hope it'll be here for generations.
Now all I have to do is get my adult children interested in keeping on with some of my "projects." Smiles
Yes. I am now living in Virginia Beach, VA. My system held up well.
The only trouble I had was getting it through the muddy yard after several days of hard rain. I ended up having to remove the gravel beds and set them to the side. When I first rolled off of the concrete slab I thought the wheels fell off. Nope, the system just sank into the ground that fast. All the way up to the frame(water removed). Just took the gravel beds off and she rolled just fine though.
I transported it in my 6x12 cargo trailer though. So there was a nice long ramp to roller her up onto.
I plan to go big/permanent one day as well! That is a dream of mine. I will hopefully be getting a home in a few years to where I can build a large greenhouse.
I plan to build something that will last long term also. Just build it once while I am young..ish and then be able to pass it on.
Brian Rodgers wrote:Lookin' great8
I am glad you have shared this here as well as BYAP. This is a very nice system setup And it is portable!
Thanks Brian! I am enjoying it a lot.
In the end... I am SOOOOOOO glad I made it portable! Since I had to move across country about 11mos after building it and all. lol
I learned that lesson on my first system. It was a major pain to tear down and move... mostly falling apart during the move. This one is tough.
There are literally only two things I would change
1. Is making it about 4" wider so I could keep the beds strait when turning it into a greenhouse. However, if I had done that... it would not have fit through the fence gate to get it into the back yard where it currently sits. No big gates for this yard.
2. Is using solid cast metal wheels. I am keeping it on bricks(with wood wedges to level it). However, the solid concrete deck I had it on originally was pretty darn level. The rubber membrane on the wheels settled out into flat spots after some time. Making it hard to move around. On another side note... the wheels I used work just fine. I just only use them during transport now.
I have never used black granite and cannot answer the question on that one. A good place to find that out would likely be an aquaponics dedicated forum like backyardaquaponics.com. Run the gravel through the gambit for PH neutral testing before purchase. Vinegar test and all.
I have, however, used lava rock from the big box stores. It worked wonderfully. There are some insane amounts of minerals in lava rock that breaks down over time to feed the plants. Which is why volcanic soil is so awesome for gardening.
What I did in my old system in a 12" or so deep bed was put the bottom 2/3rd in lava rock. Then the top 1/3 in hydroton rejects I got for cheap on Amazon. It worked great as a anchor for heavy plants with the lava rock down deep and as something I could push my hands through easily for planting up top.
The downside was when pulling large plants out the roots were latched onto the rough lava rock and I had to push them back through to the bottom... which was easy. Cleaning out the bed in 5 years will be harder as well. And the lava rock came in massively large size... which meant more water was being pulled into the bed on each cycle. AKA more water level drop in the sump tank on cycles.
A few months ago after the move I found that there is a new vender on Amazon with much cheaper and near perfect hydroton that was the same price as the rejects. It has been working great. I still like the characteristics of the rejects more. They had chipped surfaces and got wet/settled faster.
I would love to have beds filled with small lava rock about the same size as the hydroton pellets. Easier to dig/plant.
Hope I helped!
It is indeed a learning curve... but... like learning to read... is well worth it. Even if you are not perfect at it at first. It takes time.
Here are some pics of the growth I currently have going on in the system right now. Mostly Swiss Chard and Kale.
Lots of other little things like Meyer Lemon tree cuttings, Parsley, and Strawberries here and there as well.
I just finished converting my open system over to a greenhouse. I still have to seal her up but she is chugging along well as she is... this time of year anyways.
I put in 4 Lemon Cuttings... and 4 survived. I will likely just pick the best positioned one and leave it in there permanently... and pot up/sell the other 3 for $5 - $10 each by the end of next Summer.
My yearly power usage is around $21 to $27 dollars. I figure that will pay for most/all of it. lol
Turns out that Aquaponics is definitely super good for making clones!!!
So far I have had a 100% Success rate for Cloning Summer Cuttings. Where you basically just cut off this year's new growth after it has had a chance to get stiff/tough... but the skin is still thin or even green still. Just leave about 2 leaf's on there and make the twig long enough to get a node or two below the water level in case it is a type of plant that can only root from a node.
Anyways, so far I have tried Fig, Mulberry, Goji Berry, and Meyer Lemon. 100% Success on every twig ever stuck into the gravel!!!
If I were to save JUST ONE bed for making clones... and I spaced the clones 2" apart in rows 4" apart... I could clone around 144 trees and shrubs in there every few months! How much money does that save per year in a tiny system like mine?
I ended up moving back to Virginia this Summer. So my system will soon be turned into a greenhouse. Sold the old fish for $100 which paid for the fish, fish food, and power for the year easily.
This time I got more expensive gold fish. Paid $3 for each of the fish from craigslist. The kids seem to be loving their new pets. These Comet Goldfish can on occasion get up to 18"... which I bet is more likely in an aquaponics system since they are being fed a ton more than usual... about 4 times a day! The red and white ones are Sarassa Comets. The Calico ones are Shibunkin Comets.
As stated in the title that got you this far; I recently discovered a piece of equipment that can increase a permies quality of life, health, and food.
The Pedal Driven Fishing Kayak (Or even a paddle fishing kayak)
This piece of equipment... like a bicycle(or better than because no tires to wear out)... does not create much pollution during its lifespan and can last a great many years if properly taken care of. It is very easy to transport(and store) and can open you up to a whole new world for exploring your local water ways Or provide a way to easily access the water features of your permaculture paradise design for water management and harvest of meats that required no physical labor to produce. You can let the banks go wild and only have to keep a single small entry point cleared. I have seen folks use them for Fishing... from Trout to Sail Fish. I have seen folks use them for Hunting for ducks... to Hogs.
These things are quiet and low to the water... giving you a feeling like you are a part of nature as you soak up the Sun.
It is low/no impact... so it is easy on the joints. In fact, I am out of shape, and after my first half-day on the water I covered around 5-7mi and my legs felt like they were made of rubber afterwards. However, I never got sore! ( I am old enough to stay sore for weeks after working out) It was like taking a walk for 5hrs (with lots of fishing breaks). In the days following I began to have more energy and for some reason my lower back pain has started to go away. It may be what I needed!
All pedal and some paddle driven kayaks have large comfortable seats with lumbar support for those long days on the water. They come in many different lengths, widths, and weights for different focused uses. I chose something light and moderately stable for fighting fish(I can still stand). So mine will be great for easy cruising with both pedals and paddles. The super stable ones are hard to paddle due to width. They tend to weight twice as much as well. Mine weights 85lbs with the pedal drive in and 65lbs without. 12.5ft long and 34in wide. Good enough for bay and open ocean fishing... and still OK for small streams.
A major portion of the kayak community is very creative. Simply using YouTube you can check out how folks use things from garbage to feathers to flowers to create fishing lures. Same thing goes for creating fishing equipment.
A pedal driven kayak can comfortably cruise all day long at 3mph using your largest muscle group (legs) freeing up your hands for work or fishing. Three mph is Great for trolling two poles behind you while you fish from the front BTW. You can also get a smaller child's kayak for almost nothing and use it as a truck bed to move brush out to areas in the water for small fish habitat.
This is a great deal too because it is a watercraft that you will never have to register, pay yearly taxes, have inspected, or mow the grass around. You can simply store it overhead on pulleys in the garage... on a wall... or under a porch. You can transport them by small car... hand... or even a bicycle if wanted. My small 4cyl pickup does not even notice it.
I expect to loose a ton of weight this upcoming Summer, to fill the freezer with fresh wild fish, crab, etc., and to have more energy and vitality. To be happier and feel more at peace.
I got mine a few weeks ago and just had to share my thoughts and experience so far. I have the cheapest pedal driven fishing kayak on the market. The Perception Pescador Pilot 12.0. They retail for $1799 but I got mine for $1499 on sale at Academy. The max weight capacity for them is 525lbs.
I am working my way to buy a piece of old farm land and plan to convert it to permaculture orchard/silvo pasture/ponds. In an area already filled with back water ways that are inaccessible by boat (Can with a kayak!) and great inshore shallows and offshore adventures. This is one boat for it all.
Thanks for sharing Jack. I always like your podcasts as well. I have a Rubbermaid Stock tank system too. A 150gal sump/fish tank and two 50gal flood drain beds. It was easy to build and very low maintenance compared to my previous (first) system. I put it on wheels for when it's time to move in a few years. Basically a micro greenhouse on wheels if I choose to close it. I integrate shelves to hold supplies and keep it clean looking.
It took me a long while to make this almost 40 min long video on YouTube... but it gets into everything for you. I measured the dimentions on all 3 of my bell syphons and took water flow measurements off of two of them so you can figure out how much water flow you will need to make yours super reliable! If there was a video like this it would have helped me out when building my first system a long time ago.
In the mini 6' x 8' greenhouse my first system was installed in the greenhouse temps would go from say 50s in the morning to upper 70s by the time the sun set. Before adding the thermal mass of all the gravel and water the greenhouse would start off in say the 30s and hit the upper 90s within an hour or two of sunrise. So the added thermal mass will both heat and cool the greenhouse in a way. That was my first system that was poorly designed too.
Be sure to go around 200 to 300 gallon or more for more temp stable water. The fish prefer to feel protected/covered so you can mostly cover the tank with grow beds so as to not waste that valuable space.
Raising the beds is easier on your back and enables growing vertical easier... by just growing down.
I currently have my second small Aquaponic system going right now.
I see Aquaponics as nothing more than one tool in my kit to get me where I want to be.
These systems are great when used at the right place and time and the right way. The water in these systems has a great thermal mass and the larger the more stable. They are a complicated tool but very easy once you understand them. Like reading for instance. It just comes naturally after a while.
Build your first system small and simple to learn from and keep it. Use it later for experiments so you only mess up small. Little details will make the maintenance, reliability, and function greater.
Either local fish species or species that could become local (invade) are they way to go. Omnivorous fish are easier to feed if looking to produce it locally. I am going with simple goldfish and koi for this reason. They can overwinter under ice and are good up to around 95 degrees F. Not harvesting fish will ease my learning curve and help keep the nutrients more constant as I learn. If you harvest too many fish or plants the nutrients can swing one way or the other if the stocking density is high.
You are basically and literally growing food in compost tea.
For every 1 square meter of plants you want to feed about 60 to 100mg of feed per day to not add supplements. HOWEVER, you can go down to 13mg of feed per day and be able to keep the nitrates high enough. Just have to use gravel media and no filtering or swirl tanks so nothing is wasted. You can even brew compost tea and introduce it to the water! Sustainable.
Figure how many plants you want to grow and design your system from there.
Also, as a tip to save on the power bill(besides not having to heat the water due to having local fish)... a Bell siphon has a specific water flow to function properly. So a bed the size of a football field or a 50gal Rubbermaid Stock tank will need the same amount of water flow to function.
My 25W "ponics pump" can operate 3 to 4 bell syphons at a 3 - 4ft head height with the mods I made. It costs $21 a year (24/7) to operate here in Mobile Alabama. Learn it on the grid first and then go off grid later. That also adds a massive expense and complication. Totally doable though. My first system ran the same water flow on a 15W 12VDC pricy water pump... a large single deep cycle battery... and a 100W solar panel with a 10A charge controller. The deep cycle battery could run the pump for 3 days with clouds be for the battery died. Just took a few hours of sun to reset the clock. Would need a larger panel in your area.
If you are really going to have that many fish in the system you are most certainly going to want to have some form of solids removal.... or a TON of grow bed space. Usually a good standard is to have 1 to 2 pounds of fish for every five gallons. Each goldfish will get up to a pound. Just some FYI
The best way to calculate the amount of fish to get is first figure out how many plants you aim to grow. For every square meter of plants you plant to grow you will need to feed about 60 to 100 mg of feed per day in order to not add supplements in the form of kelp extracts and whatnot. If you are fine with adding a little bit of supplements you can go all the way down to 13mg of feed a day and still have enough nitrates for the square meter of plants and be able to grow. Just add some supplements once a month or so.
In my 150gal system I have 13 goldfish, 2 koi, and 1 butterfly koi. They may be too much as they get bigger. I can sell them to my local pet shop (at a massive profit on the koi) and use the money to buy more feed.
I only have flood/drain gravel beds. No filtration otherwise. Would add filtration to a DWC if added later on. Just worms in the beds.
The bonus of gravel beds is their innate ability to mineralize EVERYTHING. So you can often get away with the 13mg rate in a gravel system with NO SUPPLIMENTs once the system matures after 6 - 12 months.
Check out the "aquaponics god" and "bright agrotech" video channels on YouTube. They have great info. on this kind of thing.
Here is a link to my series I am starting on my system...
Got the gravel in yesterday. The system will need to settle for a few days before adding a couple fish for cycling.
One bed has about 1/3 scoria/lava rock(depending where you are from) and the rest is hydroton that I saved from my old systems so it is already fertilized and inoculated.
The other bed is 2/3 lava rock and 1/3 river rock up top to reflect light/keep the system cooler down here and to bed easier on the hands when digging. Heavy gravel is also better for those taller plants that won't stand up in hydroton. Like corn, peppers, fruit trees, and tomatoes.
The hydroton bed is about 1" above the water line and the pebble bed is about 2". This serves to keep algae away, conserve water(uses about 10% compared to normal gardens), and keep the water temps more stable.
Lava rock has a surface area that makes bio char look weak.
Two 00' 1500 Chevy Silverado's
2WD, extended cab(almost as much space as crew cab Colorado but the clam shell doors were painful and the Colorado's seats are deeper), 5.3L V8(first gen.), Automatic Transmission
One had Short Bed the other had 8' long bed.
MPG = 14city/19hwy
HP = 285
Tq = 325ft-lbs
Payload = Long Bed-1757lbs / Short Bed-1965lbs
Towing = Somewhere between 7000 and 9000 for the 3.73 rear end. I don't remember because I never got close to maxing it out but once on a cross country trip. Towed a double axle cargo trailer maxed out @ 7000lbs no problem. Good for towing.
The 8ft bed on this thing was pretty low and easy to load/unload. The bed was around 3ft longer and 1ft wider than my current truck. It swallowed anything I ever tried to put in it. Queen size mattress fits fine. 4'x8' plywood would stack in the bed (between wheel wells)with the gate closed just fine.
Pretty good truck. I had well over 200k miles on the 8ft bed truck when I sold it. It had been registered as a construction vehicle 2 times before I bought it on the cheap. I remembering pricing out a Jasper Engine(with 100k mi warranty) and it was $3,700 or so if I remember correctly.
I priced out a new engine for my 05' Colorado 4cyl at Jasper engine and it is $2,500. Would be a new truck if I did that. Or,....I found out a new head is $500 with 3 year unlimited mile warranty. So that will be an option some day too. You could do a head change just for preventive maintenance if desired. Just change it whenever you change the head gasket/and timing chain.
Speaking of which, I cannot find a recommended timing chain and head gasket change interval for my 05' Colorado anywhere. I may follow my grandfather's advice and change it soon to keep it reliable. He used to get a new Chevy Suburban every 5 years for his business(Towed a lot). By the time he sold the vehicles they ALWAYS had 350,000mi OR MORE on them. They always looked and ran like new. He always had a new chain and head gasket thrown on every 150k miles.
However, my current engine is solid aluminum (Head and Engine Block Both). Older engines had an Iron Block and Aluminum Head(They expand as they heat at different rates). Also, my current truck is newer with tighter engine tolerances. So I think I will let it slide to 250,000mi.
My timing chain is drastically longer as well. As in around 3 times the length of chain. So I will let that slide till 250k mi too.
I am about to tow across country. I may end up on the side of the road with a blown engine. We will see. lol I need to dig into online forums about this truck to see what everyone Recommends
This post will cover the comparison of my 05' Colorado to the other trucks I have owned.
Two 00' S-10's
-Both had 2.2L 4cyl motors with 5spd manual transmissions w/2wd.
-120HP/140ft-lbs tq (felt like half the power) They had a hard time maintaining freeway speeds in hilly situations. Even when empty.
-Rated 20city/26mpg Hwy(almost impossible not to get 29MPG fuel economy! (road trips)These things sipped fuel for a truck)
-Both were Reg Cabs/2 doors with mid length beds.
- Rated 1100lbs payload/2000 towing
-Ride quality - was much better/smoother than my 05 Colorado. My Colorado sacrificed in this area for more work capabilities. Cornering is about equal.
I once put 1200lbs in the bed of one of the trucks and the suspension was Bottomed out. As in the axle was sitting on the bump stops on the frame almost. Light loads seemed fine though. Towed a 3500lb boat over a mountain in North GA. That was a mistake. Think Semi-truck speeds and having to turn on heater to keep the engine from overheating. I did not have a choice at the time though due to constraints.
My current Colorado is on a whole other level/class. It is rated for 1300lbs(crew cab the reg cab is 1700lbs). I have nearly maxed it out before and it was still sitting pretty close to level. My ride quality just gets smooth. Cornering actually gets better when loaded for some reason. It glides over rough stuff like a Cadillac when under heavier loads.
06' Nissan Frontier
- Had 2.5L 4cyl w/5spd manual transmission 2wd
- Rated 20city/23hwy (COULD NOT get above 21.5mpg. I even drove through an entire tank of fuel cruising @ 50-55mph just to get that. My V8 Silverado got that under those conditions)
- 154hp/173ft-lbs tq
- Extended Cab
- Rated 1000lbs payload/ 3500lbs towing
- Ride quality a little better than the Colorado. Never got to load the bed down heavy. Towed a 3,500lb boat across Georgia just fine. Left it in 4th gear and had no issues. Good for towing.
- Felt slower than the Colorado during empty acceleration. I was in control of gear shifts though. So I didn't shift the same way my automatic does. Plus the engine was smaller/less horse power. Less fuel economy too. I have no problems getting around 25mpg in the Colorado when cruising slow hwy speeds for a whole tank. Got 26.7mpg last year on a trip to the Outer Banks actually. That is with a 1.5hr stop/go traffic jam!
Two 00' Silverado's comparison coming up. My lunch break is over....
I am starting a thread/YouTube video series on my truck. The goal of this thread is to log everything that it is capable of... to assist others on making their decisions on what is best for themselves to meet their goals. The video series will have videos covering towing light loads, heavy loads across country, general maintenance, how to understand your vehicle to get good fuel economy, and how to keep your vehicle reliable even when it gets extreme miles on the odometer.
I have seen everything from Giant old beater Frankenstein trucks down to hatchbacks with their rear hatch permanently removed used on pretty sizeable farms and homesteads. So to start off... pretty much anything will work.
This particular truck has been great for me and will continue to be great for me as my life changes and I adapt to meet my final goal (of ending up with many acres of management) with this being my main vehicle. My goal has been to pay as little for a vehicle that can still tow/haul almost anything I will need(including 02 kids)... get decent fuel economy... easy to work on myself... and still be reliable for a 100mi daily total commute for a few years until I can move.
I have in the past owned (in order)...
1988 Toyota 4Runner
1988 Toyota Camry
1995 Chevy Suburban
2000 Chevy S-10
2000 Chevy Silverado
2003 Toyota Matrix
2000 Chevy S-10
2006 Nissan Frontier
2000 Chevy Silverado & Wife's 1999 Honda Civic that I sold to by my current truck and have money left over.
Most brands have been pretty darn reliable. This current vehicle is my favorite(By Far!) for it's low purchase price, cheap parts, and ease of maintenance.
Vehicle: Purchase Price - $6,900 out the door
2005 Chevy Colorado Crew Cab LS with Z85 suspension(Base)
Currently 215,000mi on the odo (09Apr2017)
2WD with stock Eaton Auto Locking rear diff. (G80 on sticker in Glove Box)
Rear Diff ratio = 3.73 (best for towing)(GT4 on sticker in Glove Box)
Fuel Economy Rating = 18city/25hwy (I will show how to fluff it easily to low 30s!)
Automatic Transmission/ 4L60E - This is literally the same transmission used by Chevy for decades. It is the same transmission that was in BOTH of my old heavier Silverado trucks stuffed behind a V8 with much more torque and hp. So in this truck that weighs in around 2k lbs less and nearly half the horse power... the transmission should last nearly forever.
Max Payload: Varies... for Crew Cab = 1300 lbs to Regular Cab = 1700 lbs(well into full size territory)
Max Tow Capacity: Varies depending on many variables including Cab config, suspension type, rear differential gear ratio, engine size and in 09' some small things were upgraded so that tow rating almost doubled.
The bed -in these mid size trucks is drastically less than in the full size with an 8ft bed. However, you can just get a trailer and carry those heavy things all while having an easier time getting things in and out.
-much lower and skinnier. As an average sized guy I can throw something into the bed and reach it from all sides without having a need to climb in. Making loading and grabbing tools super simple.
-I throw the kids in the back when unloading at a destination. Not having to worry about the other traffic in the parking lots.
Width - this truck is about 1ft skinner than a full size. Much more than a foot for some larger trucks. Making it easy to squeeze through gates and up narrow roads which is usually the limiting factor above even ground clearance when hitting back roads.
- parking is a breeze. Basically on par with a car. However, the crew cab doors have been Awesome for kids getting in/out of car seats. The rear doors don't even come close to hitting other cars that are even parked on the white line! They open wide and I can free up a hand from not having to hold it.
Katy Rose wrote:Thanks again for the additional info, Marty! The porch is indeed wood right now. However, our (tentative) plan would be to actually remove the wood, hopefully carefully enough that we could re-use it for a porch in a different location. Then we'd put down some kind of combination of rock and gravel to increase the thermal mass and build the floor level back up close to where the door into the house is. We could certainly consider pouring a small slab of concrete where the tanks would be located, which I think would be on the north side (against the house) to absorb heat from the house. We'd love to use the system to continue producing food through the winter... a tricky proposition here in Michigan! But such fun to think about.
Lots and lots of cold days up there for sure during the Winter! A good foundation would be your friend. Don't want a couple of cars worth of weight falling on anyone.
My single 330gal IBC I use to fill the aquaponics system in my 6' x 8' greenhouse is frozen solid right now.... so I wish it were in the greenhouse. lol I hope it thaws within the next 5 days or so or I will have to find a different source.
Other than a wood porch the only thing I can think of that would be a problem would be building codes. I tend to make things as a "temporary structure" so I can move them if I ever get asked. I hear it gets windy up there. You may want some good strong anchors at the corners if you don't want to concrete anything in.
You should do pics of your build and start a thread! I would love to read it.
Katy Rose wrote:Thank you for sharing this! Can't wait to look at it in more detail when I'm on a computer that can handle it. We have a south-facing porch that we're thinking of converting into a greenhouse, and something like this would be amazing to do.
Your welcome Katy! I hope you like it.
On a side note... if your porch is made of wood and is not a solid slab of concrete or well set pavers I would NOT put in the water storage or aquaponics system of the same design as in my drawing.
Each of those 6 330gal IBC water tanks would weigh approx. (8.35lbs/gal x 1980gal = 16,533lbs!!!) Plus the weight of the gravel in the flood/drain beds the IBC totes and such them selves... and not counting whatever the amount of water weight ends up in the rather larger sump tank I drew out.
A system of wicking beds would possibly do the trick for a wooden porch. I would keep the soil about 12" deep and the reservoir of water could be pretty shallow too if auto filled. Keeping the weight down. Of my two sets of wicking beds I have built so far I used sand in one base and peat moss in the other. The sand kept the PH neutral and the peat moss brought it down towards blueberry territory. I would build a few beds first and see if they would work(what the final weight is) for your porch before investing fully in the greenhouse.
Of course just having an awesome sun room would not hurt either on those cold winter days. Or if you wanted to get a jump on Spring every year.
I never did draw in the middle roof support(single 2" x 4" vertical on the middle running board) or the vents on the ends... or the cross roof supports. That will all depend on what type of greenhouse material you would want to use though... and what snow/wind loads you see in your area.
Though I absolutely do want to. I am about to move next spring. To where I do not even know yet (military).
I am going to totally build one of these though. Possibly with another 16ft addition either to the East or West walls... with tropical fruits and such that don't require chill hours... more water storage on the North Wall... and some more wicking beds across the whole thing. The fruit trees being in the ground will act as heat sinks/pumps as well once they get established. My deep soil temps here in Virginia are pretty warm.
Roy Hinkley wrote:I found an easy way to make wicking beds from a plastic 55 gal drum. This is about the largest you can move by hand. I did use proper wicking cloth(from a Lee Valley seed starting kit) that would add a few bucks above the cost of the barrel and a few feet of pipe.
I've used this particular one for at least 5 years now, bringing it indoors to keep the Bay Laurel alive over the winter.