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Everything posted by Aufin

  1. Raining outside, nothing exciting to do, so, taking a spin down memory lane. Wondering how things are coming along in Sacramento.
  2. Any progress update on this project?
  3. Wondering how your AP setup is coming along. ...... if you're still going forward and what style AP you've decided to build.
  4. I second Ande's suggestion to give iAVs consideration. Aquaponics seems, to me anyway, to be a balancing act that requires monitoring on a somewhat regular basis. You need to be aware of your fish load with regard to the size of your setup, you will need an outside filter/separator for the solids, you will need a mineralization tank to turn the filtered solids into minerals the plants can use, and you will need to monitor the water ph and monitor the minerals that may/may not be present to produce nice veggies. With iAVs all of the above is pretty much taken care of in the sandbeds. Cruise around these sites to learn more about iAVs. There's more, but these should keep you busy for a while. If your goal is simplicity, flexability and forgiveness of rookie mistakes, I strongly recommend iAVs. And.......the iAVs sandbeds allow for growing a wider variety of vegetables than gravel and raft beds.
  5. If ease of operation, error forgiveness, and scalability are your goals, take a look at iAVs style. Once set up it runs pretty much on cruise control. No need to constantly monitor everything, and a nice long inground fishtank with the beds built above the level of, and over, the fishtank, no sump tank would be needed. Really simple to operate and a wide variety of things can be grown without having to employ different methods of AP. Won't take long to get cramped in a 10x12 GH.
  6. Interesting, and aggressive, concept. Something else to think about ...... since you seem open to combining different AP styles into one system, why not give sandbeds/iAVs style some consideration for your filtering needs. Get your water filtered and additional growing areas at the same time, and a lot less time wasted mucking around with whatever you have to do to clean the fish tanks. The iAVs method operates quite a bit different than most aquaponic methods and would require it's own dedicated pump, timer, supply and return drain lines, but looking at the scale of the operation you envision, and the filtering requirements, iAVs just might be something to consider.
  7. Always interesting to see what is possible in the sandbeds. Seems it's going to be a short list of what won't grow in the sandbeds. Keep up the good work .
  8. Looks like what we call Elderberry around here. Has many uses. For anyone interested enough .....
  9. Nice okra. My okra is is a little behind yours by just a couple weeks. Looking forward to picking some fresh okra once again this season. The only product I'm comfortable using on a regular basis for bug control is Neem oil/water mist. Once a week, or spot spray when a bug is spotted.
  10. Recognize some of them. Need labels. Especially the white lacey flower.
  11. Ive been thinking the same thing.....where is everybody, what's going on? Maybe the weather is keeping everybody inside not doing anything with their AP systems. Waiting for the many people who have said they are starting an iAVs system to post their progress.
  12. Any progress? How about an update.
  13. Would very much like to see how the Circle of Life project is progressing.
  14. Not familiar with the valve you chose. It looks much more high tech and more expensive than what I had in mind. This is what I use.....a simple ball valve. As to the sand, Gary D. needs to come along and help on that.
  15. I think your pump should do just fine. Put valves on your supply line at the points where each line feeds each bed. You will need to control how much water flows into each bed. In doing so, the water pressure will equalize along the entire length and each bed should get plenty of water. Probably take a little trial and error to get everything set just the way you want. Plus, the situation in each bed will change along the way as each bed matures, so the valves will help keep things under control. Also, register here for additional assistance.
  16. Finally got my system built and starting to season the growbed. The GB footprint is 4'x8'x16"deep. Made with a full 4x8 sheet of 3/4 plywood with a double layer of 2x8's on edge. Lined with a double layer of 5mil plastic. The sand is 6/20 coarse blasting sand bought from a sand supplier. A little outside the envelope recommended, but all I could find without going to a pricey custom blend (as if $86/ton wasn't already pricey enough). Took about 1 1/2 tons to fill the bed. Have a little left over to do a little tweaking if I have to. Running down the center on the bottom under the sand is a 4" black PVC perforated drain pipe in a "sleeve" to keep the sand out, but allow water to pass. On the drain end is a short piece of hard white 4" PVC pipe, installed through the wood, and reduced - after the elbow and below the bottom of the bed- to a 2" gravity flow drain to the fish tank. Everything is sitting on 3 rows of cinder blocks running the entire length of the bed to both support and to elevate the bed above the water level in the fish tank. The wood frame has a 1" drop from the fill end to the drain end. Sand has been somewhat leveled to the water after stopping the outflow to make the bed fill with water. The bed is fed with a pump on a timer through a 1" supply line coupled to a 2" dispersion T/pipe at the inflow. Don't know if it'll help, but can't think of a good reason why not, and being a little impatient, I accelerated the formation of the schmutzdecke (don't know if I spelled it right, but I like saying it) by dropping a small garden pond pump attached to a length of small neoprene tubing into the bottom of my now unused/disassembled RFF where lots of "stuff" had accumulated, and "painted" the furrows with the stuff. After letting everything sit and bake in the Florida sun, the furrows seem to be doing their job quite nice. Note to self - Don't touch the stuff, you idiot. Leave it alone. Gotta start listening to myself sometimes. As far as I know, the only other thing I have to do is make the little lady happy and give the bed a coat of paint. Sometime in the next day or so I intend to put a couple sacrifice plants in the bed to see how everything goes. Don't be expecting a lot of updates on any kind of regular timeframe. My work frequently takes me out of town, which is one of the big reasons iAVs caught my attention ...... Seems iAVs can run all by itself with minimal input and/or monitoring from me for a day or three sometimes if necessary. We'll see how that works out. Oh yeah, I have to build a cover for the system. Frequent rains here can do a pretty good job of ruining the raised rows. Probably forgot something, but I'll put photos up and go from there. Well, Hell ...... doesn't seem to want to cooperate with my computer to upload photos.
  17. And strawberry milk? Pink cows? Have never seen any pink cows. Must be from magic pink unicorns.
  18. I want to clarify something. I might have given the impression I added the neem oil to the tank water. The full strength Neem Oil was sprinkled on the sand so it could drain down till the flood cycle started and rinse it through. And the fish are still doing just fine.
  19. Quite possibly you're right, Gary, but since I also saw some evidence on a tomato, I'm not taking any chances ...... the entire system got a light dosing of Neem Oil. I put about 5 oz Neem into approx 350 gallons water. Puts a sheen on the water, and one can certainly smell it, but the fish don't seem to mind. Wondering if the odor has any deterrent effect on the flying/creepy crawley critters normally found around the plants. Fed the herd this morning ...... they went after it as usual. Leftover beets getting pulled today, being replaced with a row of beans. Also going to sprinkle some okra starts amongst everything else. This is getting fun.
  20. Here's the most recent. Beans (already picked 5 times) and carrots in large bed, small bed - large broccoli heads have been picked, letting smaller bitesize clusters grow, small cabbage starters, next bed- small broccoli starters, onions down center hills in both narrow beds, and a few small beet plants that I haven't snatched out yet, soon to be replaced with another planting of beans when the starter seeds get a little taller/stronger. Spaced in all beds are a few tomatoes, some small okras, cucumbers and mums and marigolds.......and my team of security flamingos. Small bed in back by the fence has squash, cucumber and catnip. Blue barrel "sow's ear" is gone.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.