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Friday, April 22, 2011

Getting My Feet Wet

A couple of years ago I decided to erect a prefab greenhouse in my back yard.  It is 10' x 12' in area and rather attractive, but so far it has been an orphan.  This past week I visited my daughter and learned about aquaponics.  Suddenly my greenhouse has a function.  The cycle of water between a fish tank and grow beds provides an answer to my concern about the lack of water in a putative emergency.  Although it is unlikely it will handle the job of feeding me and my household, it will surely be an asset if food prices continue to rise.  I have already invested in many of the items that are needed for an aquaponics setup.  First of all, I have the greenhouse.  I also have an evaporative cooler to keep the temperature inside the greenhouse from soaring in the summer.  I have bins to convert into grow beds and an old cast iron/porcelain tub to use as a sump.  My daughter provided me with the necessary plumbing for the bell syphons required for a 'flush and fill' system and I purchased pumps and aerators for the water supply. Above is a picture of my greenhouse with a seedling table and the bins I plan to use as grow tanks.  The walls of the greenhouse are made of corrugated transparent polycarbonate, both tough and light.  I plan to insulate the north wall with sheets of insulating foam and use 55 gallon drums of water in matte black as thermal sinks for winter warming. 

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