Monday, March 6, 2023

Garden report


The onion forest. I have them in a 9" by 13" lasagna pan with two inches of peat-based potting soil. I have some weeds coming up and I am curious to see what kind of weed they are. The bag of potting mix was in one of the barns and the top was folded over.

I have been watering based on the weight of the assembly. I put it on a scale and add water until it reaches 2.2kg (4.8 pounds). I picked this number based on what "felt right".

9" * 13" * 2" is 234 cubic inches. A gallon is 231 cubic inches and weighs 8 pounds. Given that the lasagna pan and the media weigh almost nothing, 4.8 pounds suggests that 50%-to-60% of that volume is filled with water after I bring it back up to bogey.

Jericho Romaine Lettuce

The romaine lettuce seeds are starting to germinate. Romaine lettuce handles heat. It handles cold. The one thing it cannot handle is letting the soil dry out.

Some people think it is mentioned in the New Testament: "Lettuce not into temptation..."

Not garden stuff

There was a video floating around a few weeks ago about the "kit" that works in Ukraine. One of the items mentioned is a Kelly Kettle. They run about $170.

A Kelly Kettle is a combination Volcano stove and tea-kettle with increased heat-transfer area. Cool stuff!

But $170 bucks is big money.

I can buy a one liter, stainless steel water bottle with a diameter of 3.1" for about $15. I was able to buy four, extruded aluminum heatsinks from eBay for about the same. I had to split the side of the heat sink to get it over the bottle but you can see from the image that it is a pretty good fit.

The next thing will be to put a 4" diameter duct (stove-pipe) over the fins to minimize mixing with cool, ambient air. At the time of this writing, the seller has more heatsinks for sale on eBay. Keywords: "Aluminum heatsink steampunk"


  1. You can also grill over the top or place a small pan to fry something.

    Mine weighs 3#13oz with carry sack.

  2. Is it really critical to have tea that much quicker?
    What do you do with the seedlings now, how do you transplant them?

    1. One story associated with the Kelly Kettle is that poachers like them because they would get wet while going about their business. The Kelly Kettle not only quickly provided a quick cup of tea, but used little fuel and the fire (light) was masked making it less likely the game warden would notice the poacher.

      The soldier who was in Ukraine mentioned that his mates offered to collect fuel (often pine cones) in exchange for a cup of tea. All of the comments about low visibility applied to them. Collecting a half-dozen pine-cones exposed his mate to less risk than cutting and splitting enough wood to make an open fire and heating water in a sauce pan.

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  4. Those "expandable" steamer inserts for pans? Wonder if one, or something like it, could be used as an "expandable skirt" for the base of the bottle to capture more heat and funnel it alongside the can.

    Anyone making 2 liter stainless bottles? the 1 liter bottle heat sinks wouldn't fit, but larger botom=more surface area to capture heat, and if the bottle is going to be externally sleeved, while heat sinks would capture more heat, standoffs might work as well.

  5. I've had a Kelly Kettle for years and they are the bee's knees for camping. You forgot to mention how everything nests into a compact shape for stowing, something that is an important feature for backpacking or camping in tight quarters. For those that don't know, the KK is a kettle with a hollow cone in the middle that forms the chimney for the small fire below. Cooking pans perch on the top and are heated very evenly & efficiently as the water is also being heated. They are fast, and I've modified mine to accommodate use with a backpacking stove when camping in areas with a burn ban.

  6. I recently had occasion to use a little alcohol stove instead of twigs in my kelly kettle; the swirling flames were rather hypnotic and as a bonus I didn't reek of too-wet burning twigs.


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