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Friday, December 26, 2014

Winter Veggies - Microgreens

I have decided to grow microgreens in an available room with a southwest facing window after considering setting up an indoor aquaponics system to grow fresh vegetables during cold weather. I used available materials for most of the setup, things I had on hand from other projects. For example, a rack made of 3/4" PVC pipe that I originally intended to be a solar drying rack for an overabundance of plums. I also had four fluorescent light fixtures and ten full spectrum 4' lighting tubes I had intended for my greenhouse before discovering that there was little need for them. I had a 5 gallon water storage barrel with a spigot in which to store ph adjusted water. Although I now drink water adjusted to at least an alkalinity of 8, plants do best with slightly acid water which I produce by adding a little lemon juice or vinegar to tap water to bring it down to 6. I purchased a starter kit from and also ordered beet seeds and soil plus additional growing trays and grow mats. I intend to start a new tray every other day. The first tray, radish, was seeded on the 19th of December. On the 21st I planted beet seed which requires soil. 'Mixed salad' a blend of seeds provided in the kit was started on the 23rd. On the 25th I planted kohlrabi seeds. While the first trays planted were covered as germination took place, I set up the rack with lights for the second phase of growth. Since growing microgreens is conservative of water, I feel it dovetails nicely with aquaponics. Since no fertilizer is used because the greens are harvested before the plants begin to need more than the nutrients provided in the seed itself, and there is no water drainage, it can provide a daily supply of highly nutritious greens. So far the beets have been slow to germinate but the radish and mixed salad trays are thriving under the full spectrum lights. The low temperature in the room may account for the delay in germination of the beet seeds. I numbered the trays and keep a log of when and what was planted and the day they were exposed to light.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Better than Before

In late October 2014 my chronic lack of energy and general debilitation caused my Doctor daughter to insist that I go to an emergency room in New York where I was visiting and find the cause of my gradual decline. I was immediately served by the efficient staff and within the hour some of my immediate concerns were dissmissed as an EKG showed my heart was in good shape, however a blood test revealed that I had less than a third of the hemoglobin of normal people, in other words I was severely anemic. Tests disclosed a tumor on my large intestine that was close to blocking off my digestion. Surgery removed the tumor plus a length of the associated intestine. All visible signs of the cancer were removed and with the help of a tranfusion I feel better than I have in years. My recovery was rapid and I look forward to returning to Utah in early December and using some of my restored vitality on my aquaponics setup. I hope to have something worthy of viewing by those of you who have contacted me by mid December.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Temporary Interruption

I redesigned my rain gutters into a vertical bank along my northeast wall replacing the grow tubes which had been a problem because of water supply restrictions of the 1/4" supply. A call from York City for a family emergency in March of 2014 meant I had to leave immediately before I had adjusted the gutters well enough to ensure good flow rate through the new system or plant for the coming season. In July I returned to find that my son had kept my main system going with the mint thriving and a few gold fish still alive. A new grandson dictated my return to New York before I did any further work in the greenhouse. the diagram below depicts my new gutter arrangement