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Everything posted by edmolina

  1. Hey all, Looking for some feedback now that I am in the rough design stages of my possible AP expansion. Since I upgraded my FT to accomodate the greater number of fish, I now have an available 150 gal tank, in addition to some pond liner that I had previously purchased. I am considering options for what to do with the 150 gal tank after I move the fish. One option is to put it in my hoop house, which is unheated, but covered in plastic Oct - Mar or so. The hoop house will have (after some modifications) two 2' wide GB's on either side, one will be 10' long and the other 16' long. My first thought was to take the 10' long bed, remove the soil, add the liner and some hydroton and turn it into a bed where I place wicking pots. The other side of the hoophouse would remain as a soil bed that I would water from FT overflow once I pipe rainwater catchment to the tank. In this arrangement, I would need a cold tolerant fish that can do well in an oval-lish tank. Comet goldfish or koi are potential options, but I would prefer an edible fish. Trout would be great, but don't know if they would do well in such a small tank without streamlike flow conditions. Another factor is filtration, and I am considering a pond filter that will be sufficient to run the system sans-plants if/when necessary. The hydroton in the bed would be overkill to whatever filter I use since I prefer to not have to clean that bed as regularly. In addition to edible plants, it would be nice to grow some ornamentals to add aesthetic value to the house and keep the Mrs. happy.
  2. Hey Clint, Sorry about the delayed response - I've been "off grid" for a while. I had a crazy year and didn't get to play around too much with greenhouse ideas/concepts - so did not setup the wicking pots. I expect that this year will be better and I'll continue to fine tune efforts and report accordingly. I do like old prospectors pics and may just go with a multi bucket system.
  3. Hello all, I wanted to share more of my overall efforts and solicit some feedback on my plans. The attached drawing includes two side by side comparison of plans that I am considering. Everything in black is existing, blue would be built in 2013, red in 2014 and green in 2015. Here are some notes on the two site plans: Plan A: Fewer modifications, thus less work and lower costs to setup Dedicated chicken paddocks that I alternate annually, growing crops/grazing Allows me to continue seeing my chickens from my kitchen/deck, which is nice and relaxing Plan B: Includes two fruit trees in a permaculture setup Chickens would have a run under the elevated wicking beds that would allow them access to the area under the deck (they like to hang out there when I let them out, and it would make use of otherwise wasted space) Chickens would be in a tractor over one of the raised beds and would become part of the rotation Includes open-loop trout AP system
  4. Amen to that brother!
  5. Hello all, Been a while since an update - went into hibernation mode with the awful winter that we just experienced in the NE US. Now everything's turning green and starting to bloom, so all is good and right with the world again. Anyway, here is a picture of my espaliered apples blooming. Also, feeling particularly blessed tonight. Someone stopped by just after dinner, who works for my former landscaper (before I had any interest in gardening) and asked me if I was interested in a tank. Turns out, he gave me an 800L 3' diameter tank that will work perfectly as a rain storage tank. I even have a concrete pad poured from last year measuring 3'x3.5' where I was planning to setup some kind of rain catchment. Just beautiful when things work out so perfectly. Sorry about the pix orientation, don't know why they are rotated.
  6. LOL - I was wondering the same thing!
  7. Look forward to following your progress.
  8. Welcome Chuout!
  9. Good for you ande!
  10. Welcome Stephanie! I look forward to reading of your progress.
  11. Sorry to hear Ravnis - brings back nightmarish flashbacks of my battle with rats in the summer of 2013...
  12. Hello all, just wanted to share some progress on the greenhouse build. I decided to go with a modified SCHS, although as Ravnis pointed out, my climate may not be ideat for it. The footprint will be 8'x16' and I had some guys excavate a trench 2' deep (as much as soil conditions allow without major expense) around the permiter and at 2' O.C. along the long axis. We installed rigid foam insulation and a grid of 4" drain pipe to serve as the heat exchanger. Here is a picture during the work: Also, here is a layout schematic, in which I tried to use as much materials on hand as resonable. The NW and NE walls will be insulated to a height of 4', and I'm thinking of going with Solexx as the glazing material. I decided to keep the fish in the garage and run everything in the greenhouse with fish water on a separate loop. Thoughts, suggestions?
  13. The broccoli is tiny, just small plants that I started very early, more of an experiment to see what would make it through the winter. I'm still not sure if they will grow strong and healthy after being beat up with the frigid temps, but if they do, I may be harvesting very early in the season.
  14. Always forget about the high level of nasty's that you folk in Australia have. Wasps in my area are a slight nuisance at worst, and I can pretty much ignore them.
  15. Looks like the broccoli is going to make it, and hopefully this is it for the arctic blasts. Through 03/01, low had been -4F, and the GH low hit 15F. Since then, the low has been -1F and the GH low has been 26F. Probably just starting to reap the benefits of the longer daylight hours.
  16. Welcome Mallory. If you've done plenty of research already, I expect you'll be able to put together something perhaps modeled on one of the systems that Gary posted. You can then post plans and you should get plenty of feedback. As far as your question regarding plant starts, you can definitely start with seedlings. You just have to decide on your growing media, which will be influenced by what type of system you build. Simplest IMO is a DWC set atop an aquarium with a dedicated filter where you can grow herbs and greens. In that case, you could start your seedlings in net pot in a variety of materials (perlite, rock wool, plugs, etc.). I've had most success and ease of use with rapid rooters (plug) for this type of application. If you have any experience with raising fish, just start up the fish part and get that going as you would any normal aquarium. Search this forum for some very well written explanations on fish vs fish-less cycling and that will give you more to go on. Also get your seedlings going immediately, and transplant them as soon as they're ready.
  17. Nice work Clint.
  18. As far as I know, all wasps are predators, and therefor beneficial insects for the garden. Yet, if they're making you miserable, you might have to dispatch a few regardless.
  19. I was finding it difficult to harvest a handful of fish at a time and decided to thin the stock substantially. My goal was to process all the large fish and leave a few of the smaller ones for breeding stock. This would also allow me to use a smaller tank over the winter and minimize heating costs. My neighbor, who has worked at a fish market, was going to help me fillet the catch, but an emergency came up last minute and I was left to process ~35 fish on my own (with very limited experience) since I had already taken them out and had them on ice when I found out she was no longer available. I was initially pleased with the 60+ lbs of fish (approximate) and started my process. After watching some youtube videos and processing a few fish, I got better at it, and filleted a total of 11. The disappointment came when I discovered that I only had three pounds of fillets. That was a whole lot of work that went into raising the fish and then processing them for such a small return, and I'm questioning whether it's worth it. I've had relative success with AP, as I've only lost fish a few fish, which mostly jumped out of the tank. Now I have eight live fish left - I believe 2 males and 6 females - as well as, a fair amount of equipment. Considering keeping the GH as a pure hydroponics setup and giving up on the fish. Thoughts?
  20. +1 to Cecil's comments - this will be very exciting to follow.
  21. Continued success Gary. Since you have time and again so generously shared your knowledge, I'm sure that many of us will gain from your current pursuits.
  22. Different strokes for different folks I guess. I love soil farming and composting, and have found my AP/Hydroponics ventures to be much more labor intensive and challenging. Don't do any tilling, mulch heavily so very few weeds in my beds, and the chickens help with composting and garden bed prep/cleaning.
  23. Given all the recent talk of Permaculture and my own time watching youtube videos on the same, I came across the concept of Huglekultur. It's basically soil/compost/mulch over wood to form a raised bed that will give the benefits of water retention, organic matter, increased biological activity, etc... Has anyone built one of these beds, and if so, what are your experiences? Anyway, here are some videos explaining the concept...
  24. This is one of the coolest things I have seen in a while, but Toga raises some interesting points. Nonetheless, thanks for sharing ande.
  25. Had to look that one up Rup... bloody oath Australian, slang. an expression to emphasise the the intencity of ones opinion. To declare honesty.