Aufin

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About Aufin

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    Lakeland, Fl.

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  1. Have you asked about any sand blasting sand? I ran into the same issue with "custom" mixes. I settled for a few yards of 6/20 coarse blasting sand. Might be a little bit outside the optimal envelope, but my setup has been working just fine with the 6/20.
  2. You won't be disappointed with your decision to revisit an iAVs system. I've been quite pleased with my decision to move away from "traditional" AP go strictly iAVs. The versatility with what can be grown and the ease of operation makes iAVs a no-brainer in my book. With my work I'm out of town for a few days a week. No longer do I worry about something clogging, overflows, etc. Hope you find time to get yours up and running soon. You won't be disappointed.
  3. The pic above was taken 4 Apr after a complete tear-down and replanting due to the nematodes. Today I harvested a very nice Broccoli and am on the fence about a couple tomatoes and cabbages. So, to the point, my beds have done a complete 180 turnaround since treating everything with Neem. The new bean plants and carrots are coming along nice, the broccoli, cabbage, tomato and onions I left in the beds during the treatment have made a complete turnaround and are starting to produce. I've also started planting companion plants such as marigolds, catnip, chives and lemongrass in and around the beds to help control pests as natural as possible (we'll see how that works out as summer progresses) along with a periodic inoculation with Neem, both as foliar spray and a Neem/water maintenance level mixture poured around the roots. The RKN's all but ruined everything and caused much trouble I don't want to go through again. A word of advice to anyone working with an iAVs system would be to inoculate any plant you bought from the nursery or big-box store and intend to put into the beds. Root Knot Nematodes are sneaky little bastards and can ride into your system in any plant soil (and survive the F/D cycles and proliferate) and cause a lot of problems before you figure out what's going on. So, everything I put into my beds from now on will be flooded with Neem and quarantined for a few days before being planted. If you find RKN's in your beds, treatment may not need be as drastic as I did, but my level of patience doesn't allow for much time consuming trial and error/wait and see procedures, so I did what I did for my own satisfaction. Taken today. 3 week old beans and carrots in larger bed, smaller bed plants went through the treatment and recovered. As soon as some seeds I'm sprouting get large enough, the Collards will get replaced. Eventually the marigolds and mums will be divided and planted in all 4 corners and along the edge rows of the beds. Mums and Marigolds are supposed to control nematodes. Don't know the radius of their influence, especially in a system that gets "rinsed" on a regular basis, so I'll "sprinkle" a few around. Plus, I enjoy the color splash, and they attract pollinators.
  4. If patience is a virtue, I guess I'm virtueless when it comes to growing things. Been keeping an eye on everything and seems my tomato plants are doing better. They're looking stronger with better color and a little new growth popping out. But..... I ran out of patience watching the potatoes. They also look better, but since they are a root crop I wanted to see if any were effected and get any effected spuds out of the system. I got a little over 5 pounds in just over 60 days from 4 plants. Don't know if that's good or bad, but I'm satisfied for now. Capped the drain from the small 2x4 ft. bed, filled with water and stirred neem oil in, and let it stand overnight. Don't expect any RootKnot 'Tode bastards can hold their breath that long. Everything's been reconnected and running. Replanted the small bed with spuds and keeping an eye on things. Hopefully veg sets will be in the stores soon so I can get things going again The fish show no I'll effects, colored up quite nice and running around pestering each other doing what I take as some kind of mating behavior. And they're eating everything I toss in for them. So, I'm guessing the Neem has done it's job. I intend to keep dosing my system with a small amount of Neem to deal with any eggs that may hatch as the growing season progresses. The larger bed is replanted with 2 rows of beans and 2 rows of carrots along the edges.
  5. Plenty of information here ..... http://iavs.info/ A Google search for "iAVs" will reveal other discussions on iAVs.
  6. With ponds like those available, I'd be seriously looking into building a number of iAVs beds. Have no idea how many beds the ponds could support, but it would be quite a few.
  7. Didn't you start an iAVs? Just thought everybody should know what to be on the lookout for if they're considering an iAVs of their own. Root Knot Nematodes are something that I never considered in an iAVs setting ........till I discovered them. Now I'm waiting to see if the neem works as well as I hope it will. Other than the RKNs I've been quite happy with mine.
  8. Some research and talking to local plant nursery operators confirmed what I suspected .... Root Knot Nematodes (RKN). The advice I got mainly involved solarization to rid the beds of the RKNs. I have one 4x8 ft bed, two 2x8 ft beds, one 2x4 ft bed and a blue barrel left over from the dark days of gravel F/D, and I confess to not being patient enough to cover my beds with plastic and wait weeks for results. So, I looked around some more for a quicker remedy. Neem seemed to be pretty effective against RKNs, so I tried to figure a way to treat the beds. The neem suppliers I talked to had trialed neem on crops with RKNs and had very good results, but all were trialed on crops grown in the ground, not in a situation with recirculating water and fish. So, not much help there, other than being told that neem is not toxic to fish if used sparingly. I suppose the customer service people have to operate in CYA mode when talking to strangers on the phone, so I got no suggestions as to what "sparingly" means, so I intended to find out for myself. I expect all beds are infested with the RKNs, but decided to treat only the large bed directly, and the small beds indirectly. I stripped everything out of the bed, capped the drain and filled the bed with water and Neem oil mixture and stirred the sand as best I could without risking tearing a hole in my liner, and let everything stand for 24+ hrs. The Neem water was allowed to run out on the ground and the bed got a pretty good rinse with fresh water. Didn't think the diluted residue would effect the fish, so everything got reattached and started cycling everything through the system. No ill effects noticed in the fish for a few days, so I poured a very small amount of full strength Neem oil around the roots of the plants I suspected would be susceptible to the RKNs. Still no ill effects. I expect any full strength Neem oil will be washed down to the roots and diluted with each cycle. Neem also degrades pretty quick in the environment, so I will treat my beds in the future with both direct application to the sand around the plant base and as a diluted spray on the foliage. Maybe this will work, maybe I'll need to find a more aggressive method. Time will tell. Tomatoes seem to be the most vulnerable, so they'll be my "canary". ............................................................. Took the opportunity to see for myself how deep the fish stuff penetrates the sand. This bed has been set up for almost a year. Doesn't look like it goes too deep so I don't expect to need to replace any sand any time soon. Carrots seem to do good in the sand beds. Potatoes are in my 2x4 bed and I expect good results from them, too. Too bad I had to pull these before more were ready.
  9. Yes I'm sure it's the RKNS. Stripped all plants out, decoupled the drain from the fish tank, capped the drain line and flooded with water. At present bed is sitting filled above the sand and treated with neem oil. Will drain and flush with fresh water tomorrow. Hopefully when reattached to the tank any residue should be light enough to not bother the tilapia and maybe provide a small treatment dose to the rest of my sandbeds. I know the other beds have RKNS but not to the extent of the large bed. Intend to establish a light maintenance dose of neem to try to get rid of the remaining nematodes. The scientific papers I've found trialling neem for RKN treatment have been very positive. But they were trialing traditional dirt farming, not closed system APs. Hope this works. Noone I've talked to has offered any guidelines for treating an aquaponics system, so I'm pretty much in trial-and-error mode......hopefully with minimal error.
  10. VK, have you found any Root Knot Nematodes in any of your iAVs systems? Found my beds have been invaded by RKN's and researching remedies suitable for AP/iAVs. Anxious to see your Circle of Life finished and producing.
  11. Been doing a little cleanup of the beds getting ready for new plants. Started pulling tomatoes that weren't looking very healthy and look what I found ............ I think I have been invaded by nematodes. Any second opinions? Any ideas as to how to get rid of nematodes without killing everything? Pretty sure all my beds have been invaded by these nasty critters. Needless to say, I'm not very happy.
  12. Bugs really don't care whether your plants are inside or out, and as to whether or not they should or shouldn't be there is not a discussion you want to get into with bugs..... they will just ignore you. Actually, I'd think they prefer to be inside: much nicer climate conditions and no predators to worry about. This may help ID your intruders ..... http://www.thegardenhelper.com/bugs.html I'm suspecting spider mites.
  13. Safety should also be included in the educational demonstration.
  14. Seems fish can be much like some people. "You can lead a horse to water, but........" Survival of the fittest at work.
  15. If I'm wishing, wish big. I would very much like to do the Circle of Life design VKN is going to trial. In an elaborate all glass Victorian style greenhouse.