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  1. I am located in St.Augustine, Florida. I'm just starting to get into aquaponics and I am interested in microponics after some browsing of this awesome site. My wife and I raise West coast jersey giant chickens and Japanese quail. I would greatly appreciate any insight. I have to go to work now but when I get off I will snap a few photos of a system I put together just the other day. Is there any Florida members that would be interested in networking or getting together to share ideas ? My wife and I are associated with a not for profit group focused around homesteaders that has almost 10,000 members here in Florida .
  2. Hello everyone. I'm new to the concept of "Microponics". I have a couple aquaponics systems in my back yard. I'm also into Rabbitry and Permaculture as well. I've got a few chickens that lay me plenty of eggs and produce grade A fertilizer. I would love to know if anyone has some tips on doing Microponics in climates like mine. For starters we get crazy weather down here. One minute it's bone dry and then bam... Crazy rain storms with high winds etc. Another real big challenge is the horribly sandy soil. On the plus side it drains nice and cuts down on the root rot. We also have a problem with fruit rats. They are horrible. I use Tom Cat baits to work with them but there must be a better way. It seems like if you don't put out the Tom Cat poison, they will take a nibble out of every vegetable and fruit in your backyard. Last but not least... We've got bugs like no other place in country. They should make the mosquito into the state bird. The Tiger Mosquitos here are big enough to stand flat footed and hump a chicken. Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Daniel Jerome Palm Harbor, FL
  3. HI Y'all, I have a small aquaponic farm in Central Texas, pictures and such can be viewed on the website (see link below). First, I will tell you about the configuration: 32' x 132' high tunnel, shade in summer, single poly in winter, no heat no cooling. From the 2200 gallon fish tank the water flows continuously to two 4' x 12' media/worm beds with a Flout (mechanical drain) in each to fill and drain 24/7. From here the water flows to a 110 gal stock tank (biofilter/clarifier/polisher/whatever you want to call it) rising from the bottom with 3 Matala filters (3 differing densities) and some bird netting then into the first trough of 2000 sq ft (2 - 2' x 100' and 2 - 8' x 100'), where the pump pulls from the last trough back to the fish tank. I germinate in some nursery stands I have made in the green house when temp permits and otherwise in a heated or cooled room I have, depending on outside temps. Some back story, I started in aquaponics in May 2012, when I teamed up with a local farmer, bought the FAP DIY manual and built the first high tunnel and system from those designs. I had some previous experience with aquarium fish and hydroponics, but only at the small hobby level. I am pretty handy with construction and understanding how most things work so with the help of the internet we were off and running, so to speak. I learned pretty early on that working for the farmer was not going to be the experience I hoped for so started looking to get my own property and system running. In June 2013, I moved onto the present property and began building. With only the occasional help I got the new and improved system up and running with fish going in in early August. The improvements or some would say and I agree, necessities from the earlier build were the additions of the media/worm bed and the tank filter. A system without filtration is only asking for anaerobic activity, fish deaths and the wasting of time cleaning troughs of smelly anaerobic fish waste. By mid Oct. 2013 I had my first crop of lettuce and have grown around 16,000 products up till now (primarily lettuce, but also kale, Swiss Chard, couple types of basil, radicchio, Napa cabbage, bok choi, tatsoi and the list goes on, some with success some not). I was able to learn about the surrounding market demand (within 3 hours of me there are nearly 20 million people) while working at the first farm and used those contacts to develop my sales and marketing leads for my primary sales to wholesale buyers. In developing my business plan I also was looking at Farmer's Markets and my own CSA. For my wholesale buyers I was hoping to produce 500-900 products per week for 40-45 weeks of the year. For this first year I will be a little off the low number but I did go through many product losses, bugs and what not. I am still happy with the point I have gotten to but realize that I need to add another 2000- 4000 sq ft of growing area if I am going to make a better than break even living at this. I will also have to move from a simple one man operation to have 2-3 workers, mainly for harvesting, but also some planting. The above takes me anywhere from 30-40 hrs per week to run, but doubling grow space would not double time required as some synergies of scale could be achieved. I had envisioned the aquaponics to be the backbone of a small farming operation (microponics) with maybe a few dirt crops (eg. sweet potatoes, melons, squash) some chickens (eggs mainly for the Farmer's Markets and CSA), rabbits (good meat and would give my kids something to help with), vermiculture (I have all the waste from harvesting to compost), maybe some pigs and I always have other ideas coming but only so much time. I wanted to grow my own food and make a decent living while enjoying the work I do. There is much more I can write but will leave it with that and answer as many questions as I can, want or have time too.
  4. Hello APN! What a phenomenal wealth of experience and information there is to be found on this site. I am completely impressed and, well, pond puns notwithstanding, feel completely underwater with all there is to explore and learn! I am in the process of designing an approx. 1/3 acre small-city site located in the Sacramento, California, area. I'm slowly converting it from a bunch of lawn, paving, and garden beds surrounded by pea gravel to something much more integrated, locale-appropriate and productive. I'm working off my rusty PDC-learnings from about 8 years ago, mostly doing it alone while the spouse works overseas… and it's very slow going and prone to large bouts of indecision (and postponement as I'm also a caretaker for a teenager and an elder parent). I've been reluctant to get into AP - I don't have the time or resources for merely an expensive hobby. I'm aiming toward bolstering a system that doesn't require pricey or eventually-hard-to-obtain external inputs (so, raising freshwater fish on feed made from ocean fish, for example, is going to be a hard sell as would be high-maintenance filtration/pumping systems with costly, finicky, parts … or what have you). But I'm more than willing to accept that I don't have all the facts! I've seen reference here and there to "low-energy input" systems, and this micro-ponics category seems really right up my alley. I'm in the process of preparing to raise Coturnix quail, have a teeny vermicomposting system (and a regular compost pile), am going to have a mealworm farm shortly … and since water is EVERYTHING (esp. where we don't have it, like CA), am gearing up to harvest water on site in the landscape and in tank/pond catchments - so that's what has me turning to the AP community for ways to "stack" water's functions. But, too, an ultimate goal is to build soil - my garden beds seem to have been stripped of much of their nutrient value by the previous owner while the rest of the property has grown lawn and roses <eye-roll>. I don't have a horse in any of the AP races that seem to exist - but I am aware that I'm in a position to take advantage of the learning curve that's been scaled by so many before me (so, thank you!). I'm exploring AP in general, iAVs (and am reading Gary's manual online - Gary, you're an inspiration!), vermiponics (I never knew there was such a thing), etc. etc. Can anyone suggest, then, a good way to start small, with something sized so that failure is a learning experience and NOT a break-the-bank situation? Raising guppies in a 10-gal tank, feeding extras to quail and using changed-water for a basil plant? Growing duckweed (for compost or quail?) and a few mosquito-fish in a kiddie pool? An indoor system that requires heat (ie. for guppies) and light (for a plant) or one outdoors with locally adapted species all the way? Given my speed (ha!) I'm aiming to be ready for quail in early fall (incl. cages & tractor (they'll be raised on wire with access to "field trips"), incubator/brooder, etc) and will start with commercially available feed with the intention of gradually producing more on-site. Everything will have to support everything else... ok, this is book length and you're a trooper if you made it all the way to the bottom! Thanks for reading and creating a great community!
  5. HI all, Just thought I would post a a little build I did today. Material cost about $100 USD and took me about 7 hours with a trip to the lumber store to get a couple things I forgot. Next up the backyard ap system, with wicking beds as the main stay. Enjoy, Clint