Monday, April 15, 2013

Green roof part 2 and lots more visible signs of progress

What a VSOP (visible sings of progress) weekend it turned out to be.

We finished the breezeway roof and planted our first plants. 
We made and planted several self-watering planters
We fixed the broken seats on the boat
We ate great food
We took down the scaffolding off the south wall

We finished the breezeway roof and planted our first plants. 

Maddy and Kevin working on the decking for the roof.

The decking is made in two parts so the underside can be accessed if needed.

Self watering planters from old totes

We got these totes for free from a local organic produce delivery service. Some had broken sides and a few had broken bottoms, so between the two it worked out nicely. These are an earth box/sub irrigated planter design. The bottom tote holds water, and the top tote has a well cut into it. I used a plastic yogurt container and plastic flower pots to create the inserts. This dips down into the water in the first bucket, with the moisture being sucked up as needed. In theory it should water the whole planter. The pipe on the side is to fill the water reservoir.

Landscape fabric keeps dirt from clogging the holes in the well bottoms. These are the half-height bins so even with dirt in them they were manageable to move.

We had the plastic tubing on hand but if I'd had to buy something for this I would have tried bamboo. I think a nice thick stalk would look beautiful!

I've been saving up bits of rope in anticipation of some craft project. I like that it's all different but all yellow.

 I did buy the coffee bags for $1.50 each and the plants which were about $3 each. I planted mint, basil, oregano, thyme and chives. I have a few more totes so I think I will try some greens too. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Green roof adventures part 1

This Easter weekend we took out first steps towards putting in a green roof on the breezeway. Because the Resist-eau coating we put on the roof wasn't UV proof, it was important that we get it covered this year.

I spent about three weeks looking for the drainage mat online, I found places in California and Ontario. Then miraculously I found a place in Burnaby that had exactly what we needed. You don't always need a drainage mat for a green roof but because our roof is quite flat (it slopes about 1.5 inches every four feet) drainage is very important.

We had top soil which we mixed in with pumice and coconut coir. We picked coconut coir since it's a by-product and renewable, unlike peat moss, and we picked pumice over perlite again for its lower environmental impact. I'd read about some even greener alternatives, such as recycled glass growstones but these don't seem to be commercially available yet, We used 1/3 of each material. I'm a little worried this mix will hold too much water since both pumice and coir are more water-retaining than their counter-parts but we'll see how it goes.

 Kevin found a rock down the hill for the step. He not only had to move it up the hill to the cabin, but then get it to the second floor. He got a little peeved when I laughed at him rolling it up the hill,

Next week we'll finish the dirt and hopefully do some planting!

a blog about 1 cabin and 7 ideas

local / logical / lots of uses / long lasting / low impact / low cost /loveable

Big thanks to everyone!

Help Gambier Island

Gambier Island is facing numerous environmental threats at the moment when we are seeing a rebirth of wildlife. Wolves, whales, owls and more, all around us we see evidence of an eco-system on the rebound. But that resurgence is threatened by plans to allow clear-cutting, develop LNG plants, sink warships.