Week 5 Diary – Gravel, gravel and more gravel!

A quieter week this week doing bits and pieces around the homestead. We spent two days shifting through gravel, trying to clean it and sieve out the smaller stones for a trial aquaponics project. We are experimenting to see if we can do Aquaponics (fish and vegetables) using what we have lying around the home and without the use of a pump or electrics. Our bed for the gravel, literally is an old hospital bed (yes it was lying around), with an old metal door frame sitting on a roofing sheet. We had to buy some black plastic to line the bed and then filled it with the gravel. We made a drainage pipe using an old bit of plastic pipe with slots cut in it and covered with fine wire to stop it getting blocked. The bung in the end of the pipe is the husk of a corn cob, seems to work quite well.

We filled the gravel bed with water from one of our fish tanks, to just below the gravel and have put in some tomato, cauliflower, cucumber and cabbage seedlings we had grown. We wait to see how the plants react and how often we need to change the water to give them the nutrients they need. As we could not get the gravel very clean we will use the drained water to water the rest of the garden rather than putting it back into the fish tanks which is the true aquaponics way. Will see if it cleans up over time, and how we can improve what we are doing and then maybe can use this as a start of a new project for some of our families.

We also had two families start their training on their first broiler chicken project, they will come once a week to train with us for 6 weeks and will also start their own project in 3 weeks’ time to run alongside the training.

Our incubator is working hard, now added 14 duck eggs and 60 guinea fowl eggs. The guinea fowl eggs we are incubating are for someone else but we will be sharing the chicks which helps them and us. We have started selling quail eggs now, a tray of 30 for $6, lots of interest as elsewhere in Zimbabwe this is a big thing but only just catching on out here in the rural areas.

The first hour of everyday sees us sorting out our poultry and livestock. Feeding the rabbits, quails, broiler chickens, guinea fowl chicks and letting out the roadrunner chickens, ducks, turkeys and goats. We then feed the fish and water the garden. This is all done by 8am and then we sort ourselves out with a shower and breakfast and get on with the rest of the day.

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