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Monday, April 29, 2013

If I were to Start from Scratch

Hmmmmmm. That's all I can say. There are so many varieties of aquaponics setups that the many enthusiasts and serious business people have developed that I doubt I could decide which would suit me best. I would likely move to Florida or Hawaii if I seriously wanted a thriving aquaponics system without the expense of a greenhouse or worrying about heat and cooling. In retrospect, I'm satisfied with what I have under the circumstances. By using mostly what I had on hand in terms of containers for water and plants and dealing with a preexisting greenhouse, I have had the opportunity to exercise my ingenuity. I have been through two winters now and begin on my third full growing season. The expanded shale from Utelite has worked well for me. I abandoned my worm factory at present, but the other day when I planted some peppers and tomatoes I noticed signs that there are still red wrigglers in the grow bins in spite of the harsh winter. Since I use the aquaculture side of the aquaponics system more as a source of natural fertilizer for the grow bins, I have decided that gold fish, super cheap and rather hardy, are my best choice for now. I have added snails to the fish pond on the advice of my son who helps me with the system now and then. I got them for free at the pet store where they are considered pests. I have resolved that as the weather grows colder with the approach of winter I will make certain that the water pipes have thawing wires running along them. Meanwhile, I plan to put some beans in my grow tubes just to see what happens. The media bins are filled with mint, tomatoes and peppers on a flush and fill system with bell syphons, the rain gutter trays run with a constant flow of water and planted with herbs and strawberries. Meanwhile I'm setting up container boxes out in the open yard to grow root vegetables such as carrots and turnips that don't develop very good roots in the media beds.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Pyhrric Victory

"A Pyrrhic victory is a victory with such a devastating cost that it carries the implication that another such victory will ultimately lead to defeat" I sort of felt this way when I realized that we had actually survived this very nasty winter (which still continues as of April 10, 2013 with snow and cold below freezing) with the basic system still intact. The mint is thriving, some of the primroses are blooming, and there is still a fish or two in the fish tank. None of the essential equipment failed, and I will continue with the adventure of aquaponics.