New tank in the aqaponics.

Weve been doing lots of work on the aquaponics. Here’s yesterdays update!


Gardening for Ligaya: Part 4

In a developed ecosystem, even the predators are providers and energy is not lost, just converted.

In this picture, the caterpillar eating our pear tree is providing nutrients for a sunflower. My needs are only secondary and the fact that I would prefer to eat pears than sunflowers is irrelevant.

We gardeners have to learn our place in the ecosystems we develop. We are the conscious, guiding force, but there are others at play. Plants, pests, microbes, fungi and the whole gamut of life have been doing their thing since long before we got started and will do so long after we have gone.

Successful gardening acknowledges this and the gardener attempts to guide their charges to a balance that he or she envisions. Nothing more, nothing less.

A little relief

A whole pile of prickles!

There’s so many folks I run into lately who are suffering from constant pain. Most of them are on some heavy duty pharmaceuticals and don’t like it.

I decided to jump the gun a little today and make up some Wild Lettuce (or Prickly Lettuce) – Lactuca serriola tincture for them. Actually, I’m not allowed to use the word ‘tincture’ so, let me say ‘Prickly Lettuce infused alcohol’.  I think that should be OK.

By ‘jumped the gun’, I mean that I made it a little earlier than usual. The plant is at its most potent when flowering. The patch we collected from today had a few flower heads forming, so it was close enough. I’ll make more later.

Mercy helped me pick out the best.

Mercy, as always, was full of advice about which bits to use. She’s usually right about most things, so I took her word for it.

The brew.

We made up what will become a litre and a half of potent, pain killing liquid in a couple of weeks. Wild Lettuce contains potent pain killing compounds associated with opiates but not addictive.

Actually, all lettuces contain these compounds and they are at their strongest when the plant goes to seed. Ever notice how bitter a lettuce becomes when it bolts. That’s a good sign that it’s worth eating.

You’ll read in some herb books that lettuce is a ‘soporific’, that is, that it induces sleep.

They’re talking about the milky sap in the stem and are talking about old style lettuce, not the watery, tasteless stuff from the supermarket. Of course, even these have some of the magic compounds, but you’d need to eat a truck load to get a good night’s sleep!

The joy of Prickly Lettuce….Prickles!

I’ll spend the next week getting the prickles out of my fingers!

For you folks who may be wondering, the picture of Mercy is of her eating the leftovers. While she did advise on the manufacturing, if you get any of this, it won’t have been processed by a chicken!


Shadehouse complete

Over the last week, interrupted by periods of bad health, and with Marlon’s erstwhile assistance, I’ve put up a shadehouse that covers most of the northern end of the house.

This is the end that usually gets blasted all day by the summer sun, so shading it has been on our to-do list for a while.

We were lucky enough to get some cheap building materials, so went ahead and did it.

It’s already making a difference. The other hot day I measured 46° on the exposed brickwork but only 36° on the bricks under shade. Thats a 10° difference!

The best way to stop something getting hot in the sun is, of course, to block the sun and prevent the heat getting to it. While ambient air temps and humidity can offset the effectiveness if this technique, it’s still a pretty effective and simple technique to keeping the house cooler.

Gardening for Ligaya: Part 3


The better the garden grows, the less it needs my direct input. Plants know better than me how they want to grow and will do what they want.

They can move to a point of being more than sustainable by themselves. Plants aren’t thinking of being ‘sustainable’, they are just living. Make life good for them and they will provide.

It’s now a game of watching what happens and encouraging what I think the garden needs and apply a little pressure in the direction that I think things should go.

A little extra water, a tip prune here and there, even a little hand pollination is sometimes in order. The job becomes easier and that’s especially good now the hot weather is here.

In the next installation, we’ll look at the garden from a systems perspective and discuss some of the planning behind it.

Through the roof!

Temperature gun

Google said it was 37°C at midday, and who are we to argue?

After all the changes weve made to the house to compensate for the hot weather, I thought I’d check some key points with my trusty temperature gun (in the pic above).

For the record, we had:

22 on the interior walls

24 in the carport

40.3 under the new shadehouse

44.6 on walls exposed to full sun

49.6 on the back pavers

The inside temp was without aircon.

We’ll be keeping tabs on the temps every week. I think the places I recorded fron are pretty representative of a range of microclimates, so Ill stick to them. Might even add the hood of the car for good measure next time.