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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
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  1.  
    Posted By: gyrogearthey are nice piles o' stone, Pile-o-Stone

    (Wales by any chance ?)

    gg


    Hey gg, the larger gabions are 1m high x 1m deep x 2m long so they do hold a huge pile of stone!! I try and build a stone wall at the front of the gabions so they’re not pushing against the wire. It’s knackering work as some of them are pretty big (and I have to sit in the gabion cage to do it) but it’s worth the effort for the security of knowing they’ll not all fall into the stream if the cage is compromised, plus my drystone walling skills are coming on in leaps and bounds. 😊

    I’m in the South Pennines just on the Yorkshire border, so very similar to the Welsh hills.
  2.  
    Posted By: marktimeA couple of things, you could place stage lighting filters over the light fittings to control colour and brilliance.

    Love the stream profiling: is there a flash flood risk that you have to consider?

    Mmmm... I mght be showing my ignorance here but what is that circular structure in the back corner for?


    Thanks marktime, I’ll maybe have a look at colour changing led bulbs to make the fireplace lighting look a little more interesting. I don’t want to go too futuristic though as the mill was built in the 1700s so I want to keep it traditional looking.

    Thanks for your comment about the stream, we are in the Calder valley which is an area very susceptible to flooding. We had Boxing Day floods in the village a couple of years back, and while our house was ok, the brook was a torrent and almost overflowed into the garden. A big chunk of the bank was washed away, almost taking the garden path with it. I fitted the original gabions to replace the bank and to stabilise the path. The stones in the gabions came out of the stream and really helped lower the height of the water.

    The circular structure is a galvanised raised bed (I’ve updated my earlier posts with some info - I originally updated my blog using my iPhone while lying on the floor of our potting shed trying to straighten my back after digging and moving stones and I’ve tidied things up now I’m on my iPad).

    The pic shows how the raised beds look from the front with measurements. They’re really deep so you fill the bottom with logs and branches, then a layer of top soil then a layer of compost. The bottom layer of brushwood helps with drainage and as the wood rots its supposed to release heat and nutrients. The technique is from Germany and is called “ Hügelkultur”. I saw it on this amazing YouTube channel, Self Sufficient Me : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3O2qCQU7Cac&feature=share
      70E34F45-18AB-48B4-AA43-7B2D431A371C.jpeg
  3.  
    Posted By: Pile-o-StonePosted By: gyrogearthey are nice piles o' stone, Pile-o-Stone

    +1.......I recall another thread where someone was asking if it was worth building your own gabions and the general consensus was that it would not be because of the work......there are however exceptions.

    Posted By: Pile-o-Stonethe larger gabions are 1m high x 1m deep x 2m long so they do hold a huge pile of stone!! I try and build a stone wall at the front of the gabions so they’re not pushing against the wire. It’s knackering work as some of them are pretty big (and I have to sit in the gabion cage to do it) but it’s worth the effort for the security of knowing they’ll not all fall into the stream if the cage is compromised, plus my drystone walling skills are coming on in leaps and bounds. 😊

    I’m in the South Pennines just on the Yorkshire border, so very similar to the Welsh hills.


    Not to put a damper on that amount of (hard) labour but who owns the stream bed and are there any bureaucratic implications that could stand up and bite you in the bum at a later stage?
  4.  
    Posted By: Peter_in_HungaryNot to put a damper on that amount of (hard) labour but who owns the stream bed and are there any bureaucratic implications that could stand up and bite you in the bum at a later stage?


    Valid concerns, especially in light of the solar panel hassle I had with the council. I have permission from the environment agency to install the gabions, and they have had a look at the ones I installed originally and were happy with them. The centre of the stream is the border of our land.
  5.  
    Magic !!
  6.  
    Slowly getting there. I’ve installed the final gabion and now need to stain the fence, level everything off and move the potting shed onto the gabion and new land I’ve reclaimed from the stream bank.

    Once that's completed I'm going to run some steps down the side of the gabions so we can get down the narrow banking next to the stream, initially to help us fill the watering cans from the stream, but then later to put some decking and a bench down there on the bank so we can have a nice sit down in summer next to the brook.
      0669DF00-3043-4FC3-8E5B-B80E87524ACB.jpeg
  7.  
    A small amount of progress from last time. I have added a corner to the fence and moved the potting shed onto the gabions. This means the potting shed now faces due South instead of North East (!). I sat the shed on top of recycled plastic trays full of pea gravel. The grids butt against a row of blocks that I cemented in because the ground slopes downwards as it follows the stream. I'll be fitting more of the gravel grids to create a path from the shed to the allotment area gate. I have also ordered replacement plastic sheets for the windows to make them look a little smarter and I'll add vents in the side so I can get rid of the window opener in the middle.

    I've also installed another raised bed. Once this is filled I'll add the tent thing to it and create a mini greenhouse. A couple more raised beds will go in front of them where the potting shed used to sit. I'm also planning on fitting steps down the side of the gabion so we can get down to the stream (and so the gabion cage end is hidden by the steps and a wooden siding)
      Allotment.jpg
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2020
     
    Posted By: Pile-o-StoneA small amount of progress from last time.

    Still infinitely more progress than I have made! Well done, keep it up :bigsmile:

    My main achievment in the garden so far this year has been mowing half of it yesterday :shocked:
  8.  
    Thanks djh. Luckily (?) we're still in the depths of winter so no need to mow the lawns yet. I dislike mowing so much that I'm doing my best to fill the garden with edibles so that I can retire the lawnmower.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2020
     
    The grass here had got really long with no chance to mow it because it's been too wet. I suppose it hasn't been cold enough to stop grass growing this year. I dislike mowing too, but it has to be done. I even thought about getting a robot mower but I'm not confident they can deal with the fallen branches etc that are the reality of our lawn. Plus they cost a fortune, of course! I have two mowers - as big a one as I could find for doing the bulk of the lawn and a smaller, lighter one for doing the fiddly corners. But both just regular push along rechargeables.

    I want to convert as much of the lawn as possible to flower beds, and maybe some veg, but every time I start to do something, SWMBO decides she doesn't like it. I started building a raised bed at least a year ago, but had to stop because of objections. Now she's objecting to the pile of wood that is 'temporarily' blocking a path. We still don't have a brise soleil five years after moving in, partially due to my laziness but also because she objects on the grounds it might bring flies close to the house.
  9.  
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2020
     
    One of the reasons I had to mow is that I did indeed plant part of the lawn as a wildflower meadow last autumn so I now have to cut it extra short one last time before the seeds germinate and grow, to give them the best chance. But wildflower over the whole area is a non-starter I'm afraid. But part of the field behind us is laid to wildflowers as well.
  10.  
    Posted By: djh every time I start to do something, SWMBO decides she doesn't like it.


    haha, I also have this issue. I've taken to doing jobs quickly while my missus is out. Luckily with the garden she only ventures out there from late spring to early autumn so I have a freer hand right now. :bigsmile:
  11.  
    Phew, I’m glad I finished working on those gabions. Heavy rain and flooding around here today :(
      1E3CC55E-151F-4CC7-A96D-FB730189472E.jpeg
      9AA322FE-FAE3-4FE2-BF62-4572086CC19A.jpeg
  12.  
    You've got yourself a good flow in that stream. Any up.stream consequences from the narrowing at the gabions?
  13.  
    Posted By: Peter_in_HungaryYou've got yourself a good flow in that stream. Any up.stream consequences from the narrowing at the gabions?


    All the rocks in the gabions came from upstream, so I’d already removed a lot of blockages and volume in the stream and lowered the height of the water. Now it’s in flood it’s lower than it had been previously with similar downpours. I do think the water might be a bit higher up the bank immediately opposite the gabions but, unlike my side, it’s covered in trees and bushes so I don’t think it’ll erode as easily.

    According to a Tree Protection Order (TPO) diagram for our area, there should have been two large trees on our side of the bank. These don't exist so I assume the previous owner cut them down. I guess that's why we've been suffering from erosion - plus the council used to come and strim our side of the bank for some reason so new trees and bushes couldn't re-seed.

    I’m pondering planting some trees and bushes on our side to stabilise it and I'll be researching the best edible plants that would fit the bill.
  14.  
    What a difference a day makes. The water in the stream is still higher than normal, but a lot lower than it was yesterday. Lots of rocks have appeared again, swept down from the hills.

    My gabions are fine though with no signs of erosion around them, so that’s good news.
      2D519EDB-6A20-45E4-9E77-F8737FD119DA.jpeg
  15.  
    I’ve been making the best of the lockdown by continuing the allotment build. I’ve added a couple of more raised beds, a gravel path and filled in the spaces between the beds with wood chips. I’m currently waiting for another couple of beds (wooden ones this time) that will go in front of the potting shed.

    I’m glad I decided to concentrate on the allotment at the start of the year as it’s giving me something to do during lockdown, but it’s also reassuring to know we will have a good supply of fresh veggies in case the farmers struggle getting this years harvest in and picked.
      1E631BF9-FCE8-4073-B1DB-8235BD5555B2.jpeg
  16.  
    I’m also working in the ‘flower garden’ (this is still going to be an edible garden, but with things like sun chokes and other nice looking/flowering edibles. I’m currently widening the side border by knocking down and rebuilding the retaining wall. It’s knackering work as the stones way a ton. It’s starting to take shape though and it’s stopping me from getting bored. I ordered the concrete and mortar prior to the lockdown but I’m starting to run out and having trouble sourcing a delivery. I might have to look at picking something up from B&Q but we have 3 vulnerable people living here so I have to be careful. The important thing is to get the far end completed as that’s where the sun is, so I can get my crops in. I might just dry-stone wall the near end bit until the corona virus lockdown is finished.

    The photos show progress to date.
      F86C6BE4-7452-4B87-AD7A-4FD14DF704D9.jpeg
      47FD6088-24AB-48A0-89E6-E5AA82785D50.jpeg
  17.  
    Latest Update: some jobs completed!

    After waiting a long time for a lime plasterer to become available for such a small job, I decided to have a go myself and I plastered the inside of the arch. I waited until the following day and roughed it up with a wet sponge to make it look a little rustic and to remove any trowel marks. I was happy with the result and painted it white with breathable clay paint.
      IMG_0235.jpg
      2A3A0292-73CD-4655-BC93-4539576704C2.JPG
  18.  
    I also finished rebuilding the garden wall, greatly increasing the size of the border in the process. I've planted Jerusalem Artichokes, Green Beans and Squash there so far.
      E2ABD598-C57C-48C0-BCD8-A96460FB53DC.JPG
      IMG_0252.jpg
  19.  
    I'm now working on the room the arched fireplace is in (it's an open plan kitchen, lounge and dining area). I've taken down a plasterboard wall which was covered in damp spots and I was going to insulate and re-plaster in lime, but after seeing the stone, my wife wanted to retain it as a feature wall. It's an internal wall, and there is insulation on the other side of it, so I negotiated keeping it as exposed stone as long as I could insulate the adjoining external wall (the one with the window).

    The plan is to get the wall sandblasted to remove all the dot and dab plaster, repoint it with lime and fit a radiator at the bottom of the wall with a built in radiator cover. The main point of the work was to box off the external vent pipe that supplies external air to the woodburning stove, but I thought I might as well move the radiator there as it's a cold corner (hence the damp).

    The pic below shows the plaster chiseled off.
      BF2C3C04-D2A0-4A86-A43E-2FB097E563D3.JPG
  20.  
    Finally, I've also added a couple of raised beds to the allotment (complete with net coverings and streamers to dissuade the local pigeons from eating all our crops!)
      IMG_0253.jpg
    • CommentAuthorJonti
    • CommentTimeJun 24th 2020
     
    Fascinating thread which I hadn't seen before. :bigsmile:
    • CommentAuthorCharli
    • CommentTimeJun 24th 2020
     
    Your allotment looks very neat! I can assure you mine looks nothing like that!
  21.  
    Great job on the plastering! It’s always disappointing when those on here say “you need a pro”, green is not just energy saving but also about empowering the individual.
    Great job on the garden wall rebuild, and I love the idea of the flowering veggie border.
    “I think the carrot infinitely more fascinating than the geranium.” (Uncle Monty, Withnail & I)

    Your corrugated raised beds are fab. I see your ‘taters are even more mahoosive than mine. I have grown some this year for the first time ever and have become strangely obsessed with them (could be my Irish heritage - way way back!)
    • CommentAuthorJonti
    • CommentTimeJun 25th 2020
     
    Renewablejohn.

    Did you ever get that slab lifted and if so what was underneath?
  22.  
    Posted By: JontiFascinating thread which I hadn't seen before.

    Thanks! I started it with the hope that it'd keep me motivated with the renovations, and it seems to be working. When the enormity of the task gets to me I look at the old pics and see the difference I've already made and it spurs me on. I'm also posting my mistakes so hopefully people following along the renovation trail can avoid making the same ones! :)

    Posted By: CharliYour allotment looks very neat! I can assure you mine looks nothing like that!

    Haha, that's a trick of the (very narrow angled) camera. Rest assured that the main part of the allotment looks like a combination of a rubbish tip, builders yard and abandoned wasteland :D

    I've divided it all up, in my mind, into quarters and so each year I'll do a quarter (or so) of it. It'll hopefully all look neat and tidy in three more years.

    Posted By: Dominic CooneyGreat job on the plastering! It’s always disappointing when those on here say “you need a pro”, green is not just energy saving but also about empowering the individual.
    Great job on the garden wall rebuild, and I love the idea of the flowering veggie border.
    “I think the carrot infinitely more fascinating than the geranium.” (Uncle Monty, Withnail & I)

    Your corrugated raised beds are fab. I see your ‘taters are even more mahoosive than mine. I have grown some this year for the first time ever and have become strangely obsessed with them (could be my Irish heritage - way way back!)

    Thanks, I'm quite chuffed with the quality of the lime pointing and plastering, considering I learned off youtube and trial & error. It's amazing how renovating on a small budget can motivate you to learn new skills!

    I really like the corrugated raised beds. We have plans to put some more of them in in Phase 2 next year. I like gardening without getting sore knees or sore back! I'm obsessed with the Jerusalem Artichokes. They look like small sunflowers when they are fully grown (see photo below) and the tubers are supposed to be like a mildly nutty tasting potato. I've never had them but I hope we like their taste because once you sow these, you can't get rid of them!!

    Next year I'll be more organised and have other flowering edibles like chives, chamomile, nasturtiums, etc. The wall took so long to build that I practically threw in the artichokes, beans and squashes before it was too late.
      artichokes.jpg
    • CommentAuthorowlman
    • CommentTimeJun 26th 2020 edited
     
    Pile-o-Stone 17 hours ago edited

    ..................... I'm obsessed with the Jerusalem Artichokes. They look like small sunflowers when they are fully grown (see photo below) and the tubers are supposed to be like a mildly nutty tasting potato. I've never had them but I hope we like their taste because once you sow these, you can't get rid of them!!



    Yes they do say that, similar to Horseradish. They also have a reputation for giving you terrible wind.......... you've been warned!! :wink::bigsmile:

    Good thread BTW
  23.  
    Posted By: owlmanPile-o-Stone 17 hours ago edited

    ..................... I'm obsessed with the Jerusalem Artichokes. They look like small sunflowers when they are fully grown (see photo below) and the tubers are supposed to be like a mildly nutty tasting potato. I've never had them but I hope we like their taste because once you sow these, you can't get rid of them!!



    Yes they do say that, similar to Horseradish. They also have a reputation for giving you terrible wind.......... you've been warned!!http:///newforum/extensions/Vanillacons/smilies/standard/wink.gif" alt=":wink:" title=":wink:" >http:///newforum/extensions/Vanillacons/smilies/standard/bigsmile.gif" alt=":bigsmile:" title=":bigsmile:" >

    Good thread BTW


    I saw them first on one of my favourite youtube channels ("Self-Sufficient Me") and the Ozzie presenter called them "Fartichokes". I saw this on Wikipedia and laughed:

    "John Gerard's Herbal, printed in 1621, quotes the English botanist John Goodyer on Jerusalem artichokes: 'Which way soever they be dressed and eaten, they stir and cause a filthy loathsome stinking wind within the body, thereby causing the belly to be pained and tormented, and are a meat more fit for swine than men'."

    However, the yield is huge and they largely take care of themselves. Plus they are high in Potassium & Iron and have a reasonable amount of niacin, thiamine, phosphorus, and copper. They are also a pre-biotic (a substance that feeds pro-biotics in the gut). I'll give an update when we harvest them on how they taste and if the side effect is as bad as John Goodyer says! :bigsmile:
   
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