We had a bad mess of wind that blew through and did a little damage to the roof on our old barn. It didn’t rip the roofing off entirely but did pull most of the nails out of it. A ladder, impact driver and metal roofing screws had those two pieces re-secured. Many others had nails nearly pulled free.
This old table was originally built with a sheet of plywood and an old pallet I had lying around. The plywood wasn’t treated so it’s getting pretty rough and in need of repair. These treated deck boards should last for years and give a lot more life to this old seedling table. This table is able to hold 4 of those Mittleider seedling flats that I use.
We use sawdust in our Mittleider garden for our grow boxes and in our seedling trays. Each year we top off the grow boxes before the growing season begins. Today we made the trip over to a nearby town where a sawmill allows us to shovel our own sawdust for free. They make pallets and are largely cutting inexpensive cottonwood trees for the lumber. Any tree expect the black walnut provides a usable sawdust for a Mittleider grow box or seedling tray
The sawdust is mixed with sand for both the grow boxes and the seedling trays. For the grow boxes it is mixed at 3 parts sawdust and 1 part sand. For the seedling trays it is 2 parts sawdust to one of the sand. Both are mixed by volume. I’ll try and take some pictures that show the size of the particles. Too large and too fine are both bad.
I’ve been running the electrolysis tank on the old cast iron Dutch oven for awhile every day and am seeing some great results. It still needs some more rust removed but the water was so nasty and rust colored I decided to start over with some clean water.
At the end of each day the Dutch oven has come out of the tank and scrubbed with a brush made for washing drinking glasses. The crud and rust that has come off after each scrubbing has been impressive.
The cage had a lot of rust built up on it when I removed it and dumped the water. Most of the buildup came off easily with a wire brush. While it was out we went ahead and hit it with the power washer. Hopefully tomorrow the cage will go back in the tank and we will fill it and see how it does with fresh water and sodium carbonate.
This picture of the cage was taken AFTER it was quickly attacked with the wire brush. The bottom two steel bands looked just like the top one when this Dutch oven went into the tank.
This was taken at the end of the first day of removing rust from the Dutch oven. You should have seen the water at the end of day 3. That heavy number nine wire is suspending the oven in the tank and off the bottom. The negative connector goes on that wire.
And finally here you can see the inside of the old cast iron. You can see the bottom of this old cast iron again! When you compare it the picture that was taken at the beginning you get an idea of how much rust was removed. There is still more work to be done, but I am satisfied with my setup. The battery charger has been running at 2 amps during the process so far. We could kick it up to 10 amp but I’m satisfied with doing this slow and easy.
The Dutch oven is out and I’ve dropped in a rough and rusted number 8 skillet. After an hour in the tank I found this on the top of the water.
The seedling heating mat is plugged in and and the seedling trays are being brought up to growing temperature. Today a bunch of our frost hard and moderately hardy plant will go into the seedling flats and get covered with sand. A few items like our tomatoes will get started as well but will be protected from frost when they get moved into the garden.
The pre-plant has been added to the seedling flats. After the seeds are in and covered it will get watered with straight water through burlap until the seeds have begun to sprout. Once they do the grow lights will get turned on and we will begin to water with constant feed.
Kale, cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, collard greens, spinach, eggplants and lettuce will all get started today.
This project is one that I’ve been wanting to complete for some time now. We have several pieces of old cast iron cook ware we’ve acquired that have a problem with rust and decided to try removal with electrolysis.
An old plastic 33 gallon barrel that my brother gave me was perfect for the tank after cutting one end of of the barrel. A local welder fabricated the cage for me using rebar and flat material. I requested the flat steel to be used to increase surface area during the electrolysis process and to make it simple to clean up.
For our purpose we are adding one tablespoon of washing soda per gallon of water. The electrical current is being provided with an old two amp charger. Currently the old Dutch oven I’ve got in the tank has been there for less than two hours. It has a long was to go but there is defiantly a noticeable difference in the amount of rust.
My cage can easily be removed from the barrel to make cleanup and water changes as simple as possible.
Here you can see the flat steel bands that serve as my sacrificial metal. It is easier to clean than a bunch of round rebar. With a putty knife I’ll be able to quickly knock off the sludge that develops during the electrolysis process
The negative connector is attached to the wire suspending the item to be cleaned. The positive cable is connected to my sacrificial metal, for my instance it is the cage I had made to fit inside my barrel. Do not use stainless or copper in any part of your build!
I had an order of seeds from Mountain Valley seeds arrive recently. This weekend we will be sitting down and planning our garden for this year. Once we have decided what we will plant I’ll begin setting up the grow lights and getting everything ready to start seedlings.
We are going to plant less of everything this year. We had too much and couldn’t keep up with everything which made the garden suffer as a whole. Much of what we plant will be a 1/3 to 1/2 of what we had last year.