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Russell Cook

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since Jul 13, 2017
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Recent posts by Russell Cook


I potted up an Atherton raspberry yesterday, and used a mix of 1/3 sand, 1/3 coconut coir and 1/3 compost. To have an experiment, I placed an two inches of dry leaves at the bottom of the pot (actually a planter bag).

My idea is this: I don't really like having to buy coconut coir, as it is an imported product. I've also heard that it can be replaced in this kind of potting mix recipe by leaf mold. So, my idea is for the leaves to slowly turn to leaf mold, and so when it comes to the time to replenish the pot's soil, I'll have some ready made leaf mold, and won't have to add any/much coconut coir. And once again, I'll add some dry leaves to the bottom of the pot, and the cycle continues.

Any thoughts?
1 month ago
Thanks for the feedback.

Here in Brisbane the sweet potatoes are happy to live through the winter as we are frost free, and I find that mulch prevents the vines from rooting.

I may leave one bed as a perennial and just take tubers now and then, letting the vine continue it's merry existence.
1 month ago
Hi all,

I'm growing sweet potato in my yard at the moment, and like the idea of treating it as a perennial i.e. harvest tubers then let the plant carry on in the same spot.

Has anyone done this? Is it viable for a long period, or do you eventually run into pest issues because of having the same crop in the same soil for a long time?

Any tips would be great
2 months ago
Hi all,

Here's a pic of my Atherton raspberry plant, still very young.

It's native from south to north Queensland, as well as tropical areas north of Australia. I'm in Brisbane, a sub-tropical climate, so I'm delighted to have a berry that likes hot summers and mild winters, so you don't have to worry about getting enough cold days in the winter.

The fruits are bigger and drier than a normal raspberry, but definitely still taste good.

Here's a link to some more info:
2 months ago
Hi all,

Has anyone had a try of building a wind turbine using a car alternator as per this one:

Looks like it would be good, but was hoping someone's who's got some experience can verify that it looks functional, or perhaps suggest a plan that they've used before.

Any help would be great

2 months ago
Hi everyone, thanks for the food for thought.

One idea that has come into my head has been to learn how to make a William Kamkwamba style wind turbine and battery set up. It's brings together a lot of different skills, and whilst not so marketable now, who knows moving forward.

I love the idea of making something out of stuff from a scrapyard, "Zero waste" after all .
2 months ago
Thanks for feedback everyone.

I live in Brisbane, which has mild dry winters and hot, usually wet summers. In this kind of climate, is potential salt build-up from urine an issue to consider? Or will the summer rains wash the excess salt out?
2 months ago
Hi all,

I am keen to take up some kind of craft/skill that will be useful both for myself and potentially as a source of income. It would be something  I would do in my free time, with not so much space or money to dedicate to it.

I live in the suburbs  of Brisbane, Australia, and have started converting my back yard into a veggie garden. As regards crafts/skills, I have learned the basics of electronics and building circuits, as well as net making and basic DIY, such as changing taps.

Any ideas would be much appreciated .
2 months ago
Hi all,

I'm looking into the idea of using diluted urine as a fertilizer for nitrogen-loving plants and was hoping to get some advice.

Firstly, I was thinking of doing something like a 5-1 Water-Urine ratio. That seems like it'd be weak enough to be no danger of burning the plants.

Secondly, how often should I apply? I had the idea of once a month. Also, should this be regular, or is at random intervals also OK?

Any help would be great.

2 months ago
Hi everyone,

I'm planning to have a covered, plastic cylinder half buried in the ground, and put 500 worms or so inside. After about a week of letting them settle in, I was planning to put my cat's waste in there for them to process. My plan is to put it in a shaded spot, amongst ornamentals.  

Related to this I have 2 questions I'd like some help with.

1. My guess is that the conditions in the compost would tend towards acidic. Would adding a little lime once a month be a reasonable way to try and maintain an acceptable pH?

2. As for the kitty litter, that is definitely very acidic from the pine and urine, could I add this to the compost as long as I add some lime together with it?

Any help would be great .
4 months ago