Thursday, September 20, 2018

2018 Estate Blend -- The Harvest and Crush

New phone who's this??? I'm impressed with the picture quality of my phone.
Harvest time for the grapes has come and gone. This year I waited until the last possible minute to pick my grapes as the previous harvests had always finished acidic.
This year's main harvest

Saturday, August 25, 2018

An even larger build is coming

I've been working on a new hydroponic system for the past few months. Let's just say that I was very ambitious and didn't have a plan of where to put it. Now with a potential site in mind, this build will be completed in the very near future and put into use. Here's a few photo previews of what to expect.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

How to stop birds from eating your grapes -- Grapevine pest management

A few days after visiting the vineyard and counting my chickens before they hatched, my buddy sends me a photo of the Pinot Noir vine. The birds had stripped that plant clean! Time for action...

Sunday, August 5, 2018

DWC Growth Log -- Week of 7/28

Growth in the deep water culture system for the week starting July 28. System is regrowing basil after a heavy cut back.
July 28

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Grape Harvest Preview 2018

Checked in on the grapevines this Sunday. I took a look to see how they've been ripening up and to predict the date of the harvest. This analysis was performed using both color of grape and a taste test if the cluster looked ripe enough. From some lessons learned the past two years, I'm leaving the fruit on the vine longer as the previous estate blends (2016, 2017) have turned up very acidic.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

DWC Growth Log -- Week of 7/21

Growth in the deep water culture system for the week starting July 21. The system has recovered from the previous harvests and has started producing a lot of greens.

Came back from a weekend trip to see the newest lettuce looking scrawny. Topped up the reservoir with water for now.
July 23

Monday, July 16, 2018

DIY Indoor DWC Hydroponic System Build

Since moving into a condo with no real land to garden in, I've really been dreading not having fresh vegetables right outside. I did manage to bring one of my containers, but there is very little space in the little "front yard". Not to mention, it being northfacing, it receives minimal sunlight. There's other problems too, such as some local pests. I've caught frogs chomping on my Chard and seedlings, and aphids have colonized the Kale plants I have inside it.
In my new place, I did have quite a bit of real estate in my bathroom, which I was previously using to store the fermenters for my Kolsch. I figure there would be enough space here to do some indoor gardening.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

DWC Growth Log -- Week of 7/14

Growth in the deep water culture system for the week starting July 14. The system slowly begins recovery from last week's heavy harvests.
July 14

Monday, July 9, 2018

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

DWC Growth Log -- Week of 6/30

For the week of June 30 (Week 7), some photos were missed for the beginning of the week.

July 2
Swiss Chard, lettuce, basil, and some branches of Bok Choy were snipped from the system on the second and the third. More harvests are expected throughout the week.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Nutrient Blend Discoveries; Or why hard tap water can be good for your plants

In the past my usual solution of 15-30-15 Fertilizer and Epsom salt has been sufficient when mixed with tap water.

In my latest build, I did the same blend of nutrient solution for my plants, but I began to notice slight tip burn on my bok choy and lettuce. The first few days wasn't concerning, but since it started appearing on all the bok choy within time, I decided to do some research.
Yellowing of the leaves

Growing Plants in unlikely locations -- Indoor Deep Water Culture Hydroponics (DWC)

As I had teased before, a new project is finally here! I've started growing some vegetables in my bedroom as I have very little land to work with at my new place. Follow the images below to find out how this system was built and to see the growth of the plants over time.


Subscribe for latest system updates and exclusive content!
Enter your email address:

Growth and Harvest Reports by Day
Daily growth and harvest updates will be provided on a weekly basis. Check out how well the system grows from seed to harvest.
Week of May 19, 2018

Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Grapevines are flourishing

A few days ago I took a visit to see how the vineyard was progressing this season.

Friday, June 29, 2018

DWC Growth Log -- Week of 6/23

Week 6 of system growth progress. At the beginning of this week, I noticed the reservoir solution was beginning to run low. These plants are thirsty! The reservoir was topped up twice this week.

June 23

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Bike Light Mount 2

The light mount I made 2 years ago for my main bike has been working remarkably well.  The only problem is that my other bike, the San Antonio Smuggler has been seeing less use due to the the inability to mount my Niterider light on it.  I had been using the 1990s incandescent Cateye light on it, but it hasn't been doing much justice for illuminating the road ahead.  Time to build another mount for the Niterider.
I intended to make an exact replica of the first one.  The problem was I didn't have any blocks of aluminum big enough to match the original dimensions.
The solution was to modify the design to utilize 2 smaller pieces, and have it clamp on the handlebars sideways instead of vertically.  Genius! now it even has the added benefit of weight savings since all that material in the middle is missing.  The catch was I had to machine 2 spacers to go between the blocks while machining (bottom right corner of above picture).

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Beers of the World Cup: Group H

It's world cup season, so we went out and bought as many possible beers from as many countries in the tournament we could find. In Group H we have Poland, Senegal, Colombia, and Japan. We acquired a Polish and a Japanese beer for tasting.
From Japan we have Asahi Super "Dry" lager. This rice beer is reminiscent of traditional American adjunct lagers that use rice (Budweiser). The rice made this one very smooth. 2.5/5.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Beers of the World Cup: Group G

It's world cup season, so we went out and bought as many possible beers from as many countries in the tournament we could find. In Group G we have Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, and England. We acquired a Belgian and an English beer for tasting.
From Belgium we selected Grimbergen Blonde ale. At 6.70% ABV, this is an all around tasty and  balanced ale. 4/5.

From England comes Samuel Smith's Organic Pale Ale. An orange tinted ale with full body, this was tasty. 4/5.


Check out our Instagram feed to see which other beers we managed to snag as each group stage match goes live!

Friday, June 22, 2018

Beers of the World Cup: Group F

It's world cup season, so we went out and bought as many possible beers from as many countries in the tournament we could find. In Group F we have Germany, Mexico, South Korea, and Sweden. We acquired a German beer for tasting.
Germany has a wide variety of different beers available. We selected Erdinger Dunkel for tasting. This is a very malty dunkelweizen balanced by the roasted malts and hop flavors. 4/5.


Check out our Instagram feed to see which other beers we managed to snag as each group stage match goes live!

Beers of the World Cup: Group E

It's world cup season, so we went out and bought as many possible beers from as many countries in the tournament we could find. In Group E we have Serbia, Brazil, Switzerland, and Costa Rica. We were only able to acquire Brazilian beer for tasting.
From Brazil comes Xingu Black Beer. This Schwarz beer is dark with a slightly roasted taste. It isn't as smooth as the Coopers Stout we reviewed earlier, but is still tasty. 3/5.

Check out our Instagram feed to see which other beers we managed to snag as each group stage match goes live!

Beers of the World Cup: Group D

It's world cup season, so we went out and bought as many possible beers from as many countries in the tournament we could find. In Group D we have Croatia, Iceland, Argentina, and Nigeria. We were able to acquire all but Nigerian beer for tasting.
From Argentina is Quilmes Cerveza, Argentina's favorite beer. A traditional lager that went down smooth. 2.75/5.

DWC Growth Log -- Week of 6/16

Week 5 of growth progress in this system. That lettuce I had harvested last week looks to have already recovered.

June 17

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Big Bicycle Bell Ringer

I had always fantasized about putting a train bell on my bike, but since those things are made of cast iron, it would be an unnecessarily heavy addition to my bike (like, even more heavy than the stuff I already put on).  I decided to settle for second best when I found this bell at a garage sale that looks like it goes on a boat.
Ring my bell!
I began work designing a new ringer that wouldn't rattle all over the place while riding.  I used a spring that I found in the street connected to an aluminum tab and bolted the original striker to it.  For the handlebar mount, I modified a bicycle shifter lever mount I had to accept a 1/2" bolt which I tapped a hole in to accept the bell's 5/16"-18 eyelet piece.  To ensure adequate clearance between the bell and handlebars, I turned an aluminum spacer to go in between the bell and mount.  See details below:

Monday, June 18, 2018

Beers of the World Cup: Group C

It's world cup season, so we went out and bought as many possible beers from as many countries in the tournament we could find. In Group C we have France, Denmark, Australia, and Peru. We were able to acquire all the nations' beers for tasting.
From France is Kronenbourg 1664. This is a pale lager with 5.5% abv brewed in the city of Obernai, France, near the German border. It went down fairly smooth, slightly smoother than the Baltika #7 from Russia. 3.25/5.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Beers of the World Cup: Group B

It's world cup season, so we went out and bought as many possible beers from as many countries in the tournament we could find. In Group B we have Iran, Portugal, Spain, and Morocco. We were able to acquire Spanish and Portuguese beer.

Beers of the World Cup: Group A

It's world cup season, so we went out and bought as many possible beers from as many countries in the tournament we could find. Group A is Russia, Uruguay, Egypt, and Saudi Araba. Unfortunately, we were only able to find beer from the host nation, Russia.
From Russia we have Baltika #7 Export Lager. At 5.4% ABV, it tastes like your typical lager. Went down smooth, but nothing too special about it. We rated it at 3/5. Cheers!

Check out our Instagram feed to see which other beers we managed to snag as each group stage match goes live!

Friday, June 15, 2018

DWC Growth Log -- Week of 6/9 -- The First Harvest

The fourth week running this system. It looks as if my nutrient troubles I encountered the previous week have started to remedy themselves. Also at the beginning of this week, the plants are big enough to start harvesting. I plan on cloning the basil plants en-mass to replace other plants in this system as I go.
June 9

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Turtle Unification

This turtle sandbox I got for my foundry molding sand a few years ago has been awfully convenient.  The only problem was it didn't come with the lid, so we had problems with the sand getting completely soaked whenever it rained.  The blue tarp didn't help much in terms of waterproofing, so eventually we decided to keep it inside.

Friday, June 8, 2018

DWC Growth Log -- Week of 6/2

For the third week running this system, the lettuce and Swiss chard are well underway.
June 2

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Growing plants for a cat -- Cat Grass - part 1

I had a great idea when I was browsing the seed aisle. Now that I live with a cat, I thought it would be a good idea to try growing it some treats. Similar to how I grew microgreens for a bearded dragon.

Friday, June 1, 2018

DWC Growth Log -- Week of 5/26

The second full week of growth.
May 26
At the beginning of this week, the reservoir needed to be topped up, so some additional nutrients and water were added. One of the bok choy plants was replaced due to poor performance.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Kölsch Conditioning, Bottling, and Taste Test

Good head!
Finished up the Kölsch back in early April. Overall, bottled about 64 or so bottles of this brew.

Friday, May 25, 2018

DWC Growth Log -- Week of 5/19 - The first plants

Seedlings started on 05/13
After completing construction and troubleshooting the lighting on the new system, it was time to fill up the reservoir and transplant in the first plants. The reservoir was filled with a premixed nutient solution of approximately 6.5 gallons. The net cups containing the seedlings started in rockwool were transplanted in.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

A New Build is coming soon

Since moving into a condo this February, I've really been dreading not having fresh vegetables right outside. I did manage to bring one of my containers, but there is very little space in the little "front yard". Not to mention, it being northfacing, it receives minimal sunlight. There's other problems too, such as some local pests. I've caught frogs chomping on my Chard and seedlings, and aphids have colonized the Kale plants I have inside it.


I've got plans in the works to accommodate this itch, and I won't even need to move. An update is coming soon!

Monday, April 30, 2018

2018 Vineyard Acquisitions

Another successful picnic day and I've added three new members to the vineyard family this year.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Yet another Garden & Vineyard relocation

I moved again, and with it, the vineyard had to be relocated too. Unfortunately, at my new place, I do not have a yard, so I cannot keep the vines with me. Luckily, a friend of mine offered to take in the vines under his wing for the time being.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Kölsch Brew Day and Recipe


Recently moved, I had been dying to make a new brew. My buddy kept talking to me about trying to do a lager, it being as difficult as it is with temperature control. With it being as cold as it is outside, overnight garage temperatures would actually be perfect for cold aging any beer. He decided to grab grain to make a Kölsch, as that would be a perfect style for the given season. So I hopped in and picked up some grain and yeast to do a Kölsch of my own.....



Friday, March 9, 2018

Free Washers!

I know I've been talking a lot of trash on my first bench grinder (for what a piece of trash it was, honestly, no roller bearings!).  However, history has shown that this blog has been very productive in utilizing every part of that broken grinder for the greater good.  For example, using bits of the housing for bicycle fender and basket brackets, melting the aluminum housing, and prior to that, using it as a sketch pad.  And to top it all off, I'm even still using the original grinding wheel on my new bench grinder, so I'd say that was $3 well spent, right?
After all this time, I'd never gotten around to the rotor.  I recently learned in my casting class that the aluminum part of motor rotors are actually diecasted directly onto the shaft and steel laminations forming a permanent bond (which would explain why they're so difficult to remove!) I wanted to remove the rotor, so I decided I'd try to turn it all the way down on the lathe.
Picture from the bench grinder fan post
What I didn't realize was that the steel laminations were actually round disks which extended radially outward like fan blades, with the aluminum (the non ferromagnetic material) cast in between to fill the remaining space.  I had been under the impression that they were just strips of steel embedded on the outside of the aluminum.  The good news for me: after turning through a good 1/4" of the aluminum/steel mix, I arrived at the bottom of the assembly, which looked like a bunch of serrated washers stacked together.  They separated with ease once there was no more aluminum holding them together.