Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Aquaponics Update - 12/29/10

I never would have believed it if I hadn't taken before and after shots. The picture on the left was taken on Nov. 27, 2010 and the one on the right was taken today, Dec. 29, 2010, just one month later.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Christmas story of kindness

I believe how we treat the planet is just a symptom of how we treat the people and things around us. I hope you'll find inspiration in this story like I have and vow to treat everything on this planet with respect and gratitude. Click link below.

Help Compassion in Action at a Nursing Home -- A Kindness Story

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Long beans

I also have some crops growing around the house, including this long bean, setup next to my compost bed. The soil around the heap is really rich and full of fat earthworms so I knew it would be good for beans. I started the beans from a pod from a bunch of long beans that I got at the farmer's market but had gone to seed before I could eat it! It's nice to know the 4 seeds have turned into large vines that have produced enough beans for several meals already. I saute the beans in garlic, oyster sauce, and hot peppers and is a delish combo with a hot bowl of rice.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Aquaponics Update - 12/18/10

It has been 7 days since my last update and O-M-G! I am thinking the claims that veggies grow much faster in aquaponics systems than in soil medium are possibly true. I only wish I had my raised garden bed prepared to test this hypothesis. Maybe next time.
I shoulda known the ants were up to no good! Where there are ants, there are aphids. I found the source ... hidden amongst my mint leaves was a healthy colony of fat aphids that eventually invaded my fennel. One nice thing about the floating rafts is I can pull the plant out, spray with soapy water, wash it off, and return it to its spot. :) Aphids are HISTORY!
I had some problems with what I think is iron deficiency so treated with some foliar Fe/Zn spray and added some Maxicrop with iron for insurance a couple days ago. I'm still waiting to see the results but chucked one struggling chlorotic mizuna. No space for the weak in this system! LOL
I've started a new rotation of lettuce in the hopes this system will provide lettuce year round.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Nature happens

The pleasure of gardening is finding signs of renewal like this ... :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rabbit cage using storage cubes

I found these indoor cages really easy to make, especially in a pinch. I used 5/8" plywood with 12" square tiles and pretty much zip tied the thing together and put 5 casters on the bottom so I can wheel it around. It doesn't keep "debris" from *rolling* out (if you're a rabbit owner, you know what I mean) but a quick sweep usually does the job. It's nice cuz the rabbits have 3 levels to explore and get some exercise in. Oh, I should mention I'm not quite done and in true form, I would like to expand it a bit.

If you're interested in owning angora rabbits so you too can spin their wool and have hours of entertainment, check out this video that describes how to build a spiffy rabbit condo.

Okay, it's not very "green" but it is excellent in a pinch. I am finding that going green requires a lot of storage space to keep things you might need at a future date (get what you can when you can) and time to search for the things you need. In this day and age, we often have neither. Hmmm ... what to do ... what to do ... Any ideas?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Joan's aquaponic setup

33 golden tilapia, 12 cayenne peppers, 11 kinds of veggies, 5 colorful koi, 4 grow beds, 3 collard seedlings, 2 electric pumps, 1 timer, and a flower in my eggplant treeeeee! Happy holidays everyone!

More requested info: pump in 100-gal tank runs @ 500 g/hr (runs intermittently, every 2 hrs for 30 min but only twice after sunset for 5 min), pump in 40-gal sump runs @ 250 g/hr runs continuously. Since I live in Hawaii, the system runs year round. Cost of system (plus fish and plants) is in the $1000 range. I'll post more accurate totals once I figure it out. (Updated, 8/18/11)

Aquaponics fish tank - golden tilapia

Dinner, Lunch, and Jack (the one-eyed tilapia) are doing well amongst the minion. I'm sure they get the best morsels too.

If you're an aquaponics nerd, you might find this info interesting ... pH is 6.8, ammonia is negligible, nitrites 0.25 mg/L, and nitrates 15 mg/L. I dunno the dissolved oxygen but I use an airpump and airstone. Oh, and the PVC pipe with holes that is running along the bottom of the tank is part of the pump, drawing off fish solids (i.e., poop). It's been really effective so far!
My fish tank is 100 gallons and receives the overflow from the sump. The pipe to the left is the overflow drain so I don't flood my downstairs when it rains hard.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Aquaponics update - 12/11/10

The aquaponics system is finally equalizing and the little buggers have the nitrates and other nutrients they need. The veggies are doing well and the little sprouts are about as big as the ones I started separately and transplanted 2 weeks before! Seeding the beds directly saved me tons of time and the seeds seem to have set at the right depth, which means the mizuna and collards won't fall over like the others! Check here to see the beds two weeks ago.Whoa, is there enough space to fit everything? Prolly not but I'l cull as we go. However, I think the system should be able to handle the close proximity. With the roots bathing in nutrients, there would be less competition, right? It's all theoretical now so I'll be interested to see how things go. I'm so stoked about the mizuna. Just the idea of having it available year-round is worth the effort of putting together this system!
The deep water culture beds are doing well too! The watercress is finally picking up speed and so are the ong choi and mint. Click here to see the beds two weeks ago.
I'm so glad that my lettuce are doing what lettuce is supposed to do!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Starfruit season returns!

Happy, happy, joy, joy :D!!!

Silly Murk in his bowl

Murk, do you like your new cage?

`Nuff said.

My little English angora rabbit is now about 7 weeks old and he is so much fun! He's already a ball of fur and his fur keeps getting longer by the day. His wool has a wonderful crimp so he will no doubt be a great wooler. But I love his personality most of all ... inquisitive and such a wonderful lap bunny!