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'Jaws' - Toga's Aquaponic System

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Hi Gary,

How cool, Sara didnt tell me her mother was Canadian.

I did how ever get heckled with "we expected home made pie too !"... they got none, hehe, joke.

Thank you Matt, Yes... having created the ability to share such bountiful harvests with friends and loved ones is the real reward.

Cheers

Joe

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Hi,

We have finally finished the shade house.

A friend gave us some old shade cloth he had replaced in his nursery as well as some tips on how to tie it to the frames to reduce possible damage during bad weather.

The secret was to tie the wire to the pole framework, not tie the shade cloth. So I spent a day threading some heavy wire on the outer edges to make a seam... that was not much fun but im glad its done now.

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We have also just about finished the chicken enclosure. Never personally having had chickens before, the design was left up to Peter & his wife Sue. You can also see Peter's DIY auto chook feeder attached to the fence.

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The complete system as it stands January 15th.

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I was a bit concerned about the access for bees, so I used bird netting for the front and 1 side. The other side shares a wall with the chicken enclosure.

Another concern is that the shade cloth might be too sun light restrictive during winter, if so, I will remove it for winter and replace it with a bird netting roof.

I love to share, but the King Parrots dont understand that concept and they just Love green tomatoes.

All in all, im pretty happy with the finished shade house.

Cheers

Joe

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Hi Joe

It is all looking good and when you get your chooks it will even be better. I have not kept chooks since I was a kid, they now give me so much enjoyment as they are extremely friendly and have great personalities. Like you at times I have to put up wire to protect my vegetables. King parrots are no problem to me but mulch digging black birds who dig up my newly planted seedlings are a pain.

Cheers

Rudy

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Hi,

Im long over due for an update, so here is a long update.

Well autumn is well and truly here now. Temps are dropping and a slight briskness is setting in the air.

It has been a very busy and productive end of summer & early autumn time here at PVA. So its probably easiest to continue on from my last post and break into various other tangents as we go.

Shade Cloth

Well as predicted the black shade cloth roof was far too much shade and the plants showed it accordingly. All growth either stopped or became very lanky & leggie. I was lucky to aquire some second hand, industrial quality 5% shade / woven bird netting... as you can see it does require some repairs, it makes a huge difference. The size of the one single piece was large enought to cover the new chicken enclosure as well as new raised garden bed. We really dont want any shade factor added due to such few hours of direct sun in winter, but we still need to keep the wildlife out. We will keep the black shade cloth and simply slide it back over for the extreme hot & sunny few weeks we always get during summer.

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Chooks Yaayyy !!!

We now have 8 healthy chickens well settled into their new home. Now included into our home food production is 5-6 eggs daily.

Peter has devised a brilliant DIY hanging feeder & water. Just low enough for the chickens to feed from, yet suspended high enough off the ground, with next to zero 'overspray' of seed onto the ground keeps potential rodent problems minimized.

The chooks are also getting good volumes of aquaponic green waste & cuttings, kitchen scraps & BSFL.

Peter has installed artificial day lighting to extend the day perception & encourage continued egg production through winter.

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Black Soldier Flys

Well summer has really seen an explosion in our BSFL population. Our DIY harvestor is working an absolute treat ! During the height of summer we were getting perhaps a kilo per week, ive never bothered to weigh a sample batch yet . This time of year we are getting about 2 cups every 3or4 days.

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New Raised Garden Bed

I was pushing for an 'Earthan Style' garden bed but it didnt happen... I am how ever delighted to have any extra square feet for food production. Just about anything laying around at ground level will be subject to the wallaby's having a sample nibble, so removable wire fencing was in order. The bird mesh cloth fits the whole system so well, now to final trim it to size.

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DIY Solar Power Upgrade

As originally predicted, a larger off grid system was always going to happen by way of expansion.

A new building now known as the 'PVA Power Station' has been constructed.

It houses a new solar smart meter, a combo of 10kW & 2kW inverters and 2 aging 4kW batteries. On order are 6x 3kW batteries. Peter has done an amazing job with the wiring incorporating running the shed & workshop. The whole AP system & shed easily switch's from solar to mains with auto backups & recharging systems.

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Filter & Sump

I admit that my setup has a very basic, static media filter setup. I do have plans to change the filter design as it can be a bit labor intensive requiring a good clean every 3-4months. What it lacks in serviceability, it makes up for in size. 1500ltr pond filled with 600ltrs of bioballs. Like the ever popular K1 media, these are also slightly negativly boyant. When they develop their biofilm they wish to float just below the surface. When cleaning time comes I simply backwash the balls and pump out 100-150ltrs of high quality biosludge and use as irrigation on the earth garden beds.

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Veggies & Plants

Summer was a very abundant time with 5x more production than we could consume ourselves. I didnt put heaps of effort into doing or trying new veggie types due to so much other expansion work around the place. Notable stand outs were the usual lettuce & salad greens... tomatoes, leeks, spring onions, okra (both red & green) & yellow chilli's have also done very well.

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A new addition to the aquaponics is a passion fruit. It has been trained up a wire, out through the wire fence and into the chicken enclosure. New wire will be added to the roof line of the enclosure so it may continue to spread across the top thus providing some extra shade for the chooks during summer.

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I do have one new & very interesting plant that is going gangbusters in the aquaponics growbed - Luffa ! It has now grown to cover the sump/filter area on an overhead wire system. The 'fruit' are used as a natural sponge & im looking forward to making some soap to incorporate them with. Just love the bright yellow flower.

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Other Additions

Include the 'dome' style roof support over the chooks. This was to raise the netting above the height of the growing passion fruit.

I have also completed the internal working area with the finishing of grow bed drainage with a blue metal path & timber retaining wall.

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I have enjoyed an abundance of variety in our harvest's.

It has been a complete pleasure & I have loved creating and sharing some tasty meals for family & friends.

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20 ingredients in 1 harvest -

Nasturtium, lemongrass, purple king beans, beetroot, kaffir lime + leaves, red Bull's Horn chilli, yellow Hungarian Wax chilli, curly parsley, green oak lettuce, spearmint, sweet basil, royal basil, spring onion, rock melon, continental parsley, banana capsicum, purple capsicum, mini green capsicum, red okra.

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The system as at 6th May 2013 -

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Our next fish harvest is due with in a week... Keep an eye open for the next update.

Cheers

Joe

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Hi Joe,

Congratulations on an excellent harvest. When you can put that sort of variety on your kitchen table, you are "living the dream" aquaponically-speaking.

Looking forward to the fish harvest.

Gary

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Hi friends,

 

I seriously can not believe it has been nearly 2 years since ive updated.

Probably because not a great deal has been done other than rinse & repeat.

I put fingerlings in, feed them... put seedlings in & they continue to feed me.

 

The system has seen 2 lots of 150 silver perch grown out since start up. Totaling just over 200kg clean weight. Plus the trial lot of Red Claw's initially.

 

The last of the silvers were pulled out in October for my 50th -

Hungi & Smoked Perch ! Mmmmm

 

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Have also been enjoying some Dragon Fruit -

I was a little to late for a good picture of the flower...

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Cheers

Joe

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Hi again,

 

This year I have decided to go a little heavier.... well, OK - A Lot Heavier.

 

Late January I received 500 Jade Perch @ 2.5-4cm.

They have settled in well and already put on heaps of size, close to tripling. Daily feedings are now up to 225g.

 

 

Sorry for the poor quality video with no sound... I should stick to pics hehe

Cheers

Joe

Edited by Toga (see edit history)

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Hi Joe,

 

How'd the silvers pull up in the smoker?  They'd be my least favourite freshwater fish for a number of reasons but I wondered what they are like smoked.

 

I've eaten smoked jade perch and they are very nice.  

 

Gary

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Hi Gary,

 

I didnt mind them. I thought they lost a bit of natural flavor and the smokey flavor over powered a bit of what natural taste was left.

I would smoke silvers again but faster & higher temp.

Cheers

Joe

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