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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Death of a Tree

My neighbor on the north died this past year and now the great tree in his yard is also going. It is a mighty Chinese Elm. It has taken nearly a week for the tree to have all but the major branches removed. Perhaps I should mourn for the tree, but it had long since passed the dimensions common to the breed. Towering far above the 60' maximum. It is likely it was nearly the end of its life span in any case. But though I should feel some sorrow for the passing of such a magnificent specimen, I cannot regret it. The tree produced prolifically, sending the white discs of its seeds drifting through the neighborhood like a pernicious snow. The bottom picture shows the seeds caught in a coco fiber basket. This is not atypical coverage, and each seed can produce a little weed with a strong root that invades gardens and lawns. Somehow it even produced seedlings in my aquaponics grow bins which I seek out and remove. Good riddance tree.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The images above show my three aquaponics growth components. Last year I established six grow bins which are filled with expanded shale, linked into two drainage systems. I'm growing cherry tomatoes, mint, kale and parsley. This spring I installed eight grow tubes made of 4" PVC pipe with slots that permit planting vine crops. The tubes are suspended from a 1 1/2 " aluminum conduit tube with chains. The water is pumped from the fish tank and is fed in at the top and runs through expanded shale gravel to discharge at the bottom into a rain gutter that discharges into the fish tank. I also created a growing tray from lengths of 4" wide PVC rain gutter. I cut lengths of 1" insulating foam that are slotted with 1 1/2" square holes which are filled with 'Sure to Grow' polyester foam cubes. I planted romaine in the cubes. Water from the fish tank flows along the bottom of the rain gutters continually and discharges back into the fish tank. My tomato plants have begun producing well, the mint and kale are flourishing. The strawberry plants are blooming and bearing and the cucumber plants have begun to blossom. The greenhouse is cooled with an evaporative cooler (swamp cooler) set beyond the west wall of the greenhouse. When the air begins to flow the flap opens from the pressure of the air flow. I have about 15 large gold fish in my fish tank, still not adequate to provide all the nutrition needed by my plants, but next month I plant to put in trout.