Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

In my state of Michigan, it's pretty during the winter months.  Temps can get down to -10, and hardly any sun. 

 

I know I'm still testing my aquaponic skills right now, but after I understand the pH, Nitrite, Nitrate and Ammonia level, the next challenge will be the winter months. My plan is being able to produce all year round, does anyone have any idea who I achieve this efficiently.

 

Your expertise is always greatly appreciate, and one day when I'm successful, I'll invite all of you to my place for a beer and BBQ.  I'm a great cook.

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Kou, are you located in a city or country setting?  We are in MI as well, north of Grand Rapids and have started work on a AP system inside of a GH that is 30 x 96, conditioning is surely a concern for us as well.
Kou you really need to plug into growing power who is in michigan. He is able to grow year round using compost to heat his greenhouses. He does some unusual techniques but is very proficient at high volume production on a small footprint. Youtube has some videos on him. I would work for free to learn from him.

Growing Power, Will Allen, is located in Milwaukee WI... I wish they were in MI.  But with that said, they too have a similar climate as ours in MI.

 

Hi Kou,

I live in Grand Rapids, MI and have the same concerns about the approaching weather. My AP system consists of some outdoor raceways and a hoophouse with media growbeds (lava rock). I visited a really cool setup in Milwuakee called Growing Power this spring and they used woodchips as compost to keep their hoophouses warm in the freezing Wisconsin winters. They took woodchips that you can source free from your county (normally) and piled them up about 4' high and 4' wide along the outside of their hoophouses. These composted naturally, giving off heat and allowing them to grow cool season crops like kale and lettuce during the winter. They did say that the growing time was almost doubled due to temperature and less sunlight, but it seemed to work for them. I am planning on trying that this winter especially since we recently lost a dozen large trees that smashed some of my crops and car in the last big storm. If your ever in west Michigan look me up and we can talk shop. My wife and I are big time foodies hence the AP system so I can guarantee you some good beer and some great food!  Good Luck to you!

I just wrote a short blog titled " Root Zone Heating" in answer to this question if anyone is interested.

 

Cheers

Of course we are interested Carey!  :)  Thanks for the blog.

I myself grew up there and winters can be excruciatingly cold.

Especially if you lived right off of the lake like I did with the constant wind.

Bales of hay around the exterior with black visqueen wrapped around them stacked 3-4 feet high will help insulate and absorb heat into the bales during the day releasing the heat at night. You could also do the same thing with mulch or 2 rows deep of hay in visqueen and then run a 4" ductwork between the layers and pull through the ductwork

Or a row of bales then rocks gravel or even cement blocks with 4" duct running through it the entire length then another row of hay wrapped in black plastic on the outside, then use a fan pull to through the duct work at night.

I guess it depends on your budget and how much you want or are willing to spend. Your biggest loss is going to be through the roof, so you also might try double layers of plastic for the cieling, air between the layers will act as an insulator and minimize cieling heat loss.

 

Mad german,

 

I dont live right off the coast but rather in the city with 1.50 acres of land as my backyard.

 

What you suggested seems to be more complicated than relocate my fish to my basement, or heated it up using a furnace.

Sorry I was under the impression it was a pretty big system or setup. If it is small or if you are close to you basement, Heck yeah remote your tank and insulate the pipes going to the greenhouse part of it with double layer of visqeen on the roof of the hoophouse/greenhouse., or if your close to your basement take 1 duct run from your furnace,insulate it and run it to the greenhouse.

Anyway you look at it, you either are going to have to put forth a lot of effort to minimize cost (aka the bales of straw) or pay a lot of money in heating cost.

If you are mechanical in nature, you could build a convection system with used parts from an air conditioner. Get 2 coils, 1 slab and 1 A-coil. Put the slab in an insulated box or even a discarded old chest freezer, paint it black and put a piece of glass on the lid,  Then mount the A-coil up high in the hoop house and fill the system with a glycol solution to protect from freezing, The natural heated rising water will syphon from the cool side of the coil back into the insulated box, for a permanant non electrical pumping convection heat system.......still leaves the night time heating an issue.

Or you can use like I said bales of hay or even mulch thrown up against the side of the hoophouse/greenhouse. But nighttime heating will still be the isue, which is why I mentioned a storage system to draw from.

Kou said:

Mad german,

 

I dont live right off the coast but rather in the city with 1.50 acres of land as my backyard.

 

What you suggested seems to be more complicated than relocate my fish to my basement, or heated it up using a furnace.

So why not put the aquaponics system in a greenhouse or at least a framed tent like structure?

..

Ancilliary heat can be added (may not be necessary, but then I don't live in Michigan)..

...

We here in Arizona love it when it gets cold (like 75-80 degrees),,,  It motivates us to move about more.

...

Dave

Phoenix, AZ

If the system is small you can move indoors to your basement and use HPS growlights. You will be actually using them quite efficiently because as you are lighting your plants you are heating your house too.  You can also keep the temperature low down there so that your fish are feeding less.

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