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Easy DIY honey extractor & downspouts watering raised beds: from our friends at Farm Show[R].

Home-Built Honey Extractor

"I recently started beekeeping and needed a honey extractor, but I didn't want to spend the money for a commercial model. So I built one that fits inside a 31-gallon trash can" says Richard Groth, Naperville, Illinois.

It consists of a "cage" that goes inside the trash can. The can mounts on a 3-legged wooden stand. A 1/2-inch variable speed, reversible drill is used to rotate the cage. The centrifugal force moves the honey out.

The cage consists of an 18-inch-diameter metal strap at the top and a circular metal plate at the bottom, which are connected by lengths of 1/2-inch-diameter conduit. The plate rests on a wooden block about 5 inches above the bottom of the can and contains the bearing for the center rod. Pairs of threaded 1/4-inch-diameter rods run across the top of the cage and are spaced 2 inches apart. Honeycomb frames fit inside the paired rods and snap into four small rectangular slots in the plate.

The cage rotates on a 1/2-inch pipe at the center. The pipe extends up through a wooden bar that's bolted at both ends onto the trash can's sides and contains the upper bearing.

"I spent only about $30 to build it, whereas commercial honey extractors sell for about $200. I cut an 18-inch-diameter circle out of a discarded clothes dryer to form the bottom. All I bought new was the trash can, a beating, a plastic fitting for the drain hole, and the strap iron around the top."

For more information, contact Richard L. Groth, 630-898-5362.


'Downspout' Garden Irrigation

You can put rainwater to work irrigating garden beds with a super-simple downspout irrigation system. When Ted Sponsel and his avid gardener wife, Linden Staciokas, built a garden bed under a house eave, the system saved them time and hassle with watering. Sponsel says his downspout system was easy to install and kept a perennially dry garden area well watered.


"The area under the house eaves never got any rain," explains Sponsel. "Building a raised bed there and installing this system put the water and space to work. With the open bottom bed, any extra water just drained through."

The system consisted of a length of 4-inch flood irrigation PVC pipe with drain holes already installed. He buried it down the center of the partially filled bed. At the far end, he capped the pipe with a solid end. To supply the pipe with water, Sponsel extended the downspout to the near end of the irrigation pipe.

"I picked up a matching diameter PVC plumbing fitting. It had one round side to match the pipe and a square mouth on the other side to match the square downspout end," he says. "Once that was placed on the input end of the irrigation pipe, I simply directed the downspout pipe into it."

The only tricky part was getting the slope on the irrigation pipe correct. If there wasn't enough slope, the water flowed out the near end of the pipe. Too much slope and most of the water flowed out the far end.

Sponsel ran a hose onto the roof and through the downspout. He then adjusted the slope so the water flowed out evenly across the length of the pipe. Once he was satisfied, he firmed up the soil and added manure and more soil to the bed.

The only other addition to the system was to add wire mesh over the top of the downspout to keep out leaves.

To investigate this method further, contact Ted Sponsel, P.O. Box 72884, Fairbanks, Alaska 99707; 907-457-8343;
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Title Annotation:Friends & Neighbors
Date:Sep 1, 2011
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