Aquaponic Gardening

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Hi i have been having a problem with the basil in my system, they are all slowly looks like drying up turning a brown color, atleast 70% or more of the plants have dry leaves and some turning dry leaves on them.

Im thinking maybe something in the water might be hurting the plants? because there is a fungus in the water, because of when i had some of the fish die by the pump a few weeks back, i had not seen the fish for a few days or so, and when i did happen to see i noticed that the pump had torn them apart, and its fish guts all in the water, i got out what i can but still alot in there,  whatever is left in there has alot of this weird white fungus growing in there.when the fish die it just comes onto them, kind of outlines the fish with a white color kind of weird.

can anyone help me or have an idea what it could be from?what can i add to help the basil?

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Basil doesn't like the cold so it might just be that the plants are open to disease due to the cooler temperatures.  All my basil is suffering from what looks like a few different problems.

that makes sense :). i guess only thing is to keep the greenhouse warm, but everything iv seen so far doesn't seem safe for the size of the greenhouse and that its plastic and its possible it could melt.

might just figure out a cheap way to warm the water up maybe. if the water is warm im sure the plants will be warm.

Have you ever heard about heating greenhouses with compost?

how would i do that?

well I havent done it personally, but from what I understand you can dig a trench on the inside of your structure around the walls and fill with compost.  Growing Power in Wisconsin heats their greenhouses that way and are able to grow all year long!  I googled 'heating greenhouse with compost' and some good info came up (but shhhhhh, some was from another forum site).  Anyway, just an idea to toss around and maybe do some research on.

When you told me i did google it and skimmed through the wikipidia on it :), but i was wondering how i was going to do it, digging a trench is a perfect idea :), thanks so much i just might do that, now i need to find some people willing to collect some things for me LOL, theres alot of trench that needs to be filled. but i might just stick to cows because the smell might be to much.

haha ya I'm sure you'll need some really dedicated friends to help with that task.  Something else I read, you'll want to keep adding things to your compost, because once compost 'finishes' it wont heat up as much.  Also, I've heard of people just digging out a small trench under or very near their grow beds (obviously this isn't possible with every set up) but I would imagine the climate you are in would also make a difference.  Good luck!  And keep me posted if you decide to try it, I've love to know how it works for you. 

to really heat a greenhouse with compost, you need a lot of compost.  Like at growing power they have 4 foot high piles along the outsides of the greenhouse running the full length of both sides of the greenhouse.  You are not going to heat a greenhouse with a few bucket fulls of compost materials and you are not likely to get a pile to heat up enough to provide much useful heat for long to a greenhouse unless you start with about a cubic yard of the right mix of materials.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a compost fanatic and I have great hot compost but a 2 foot trench running the length of your greenhouse filled with some leaves and kitchen scraps isn't gonna warm your greenhouse more than a tiny bit and probably only for a couple days.  Now if you have some great sources of organic waste by the truck load you can probably manage something useful but it's gonna take a fair bit of space and you will have to move a lot of material.

Now even if you are never gonna compost human manure, I highly recommend the Humanure Handbook by Joseph Jenkins to help you learn how to get hot compost without the smell problems many will experience otherwise.

well of course it takes ALOT of sh*t, thats why a trench must be dug.  Growing Power has their's set up that way because they are in Wisconsin, where it's at or close to freezing most of the winter.
Do you have a greenhouse? Do you heat it?  If not, how would you heat it?

TCLynx said:

to really heat a greenhouse with compost, you need a lot of compost.  Like at growing power they have 4 foot high piles along the outsides of the greenhouse running the full length of both sides of the greenhouse.  You are not going to heat a greenhouse with a few bucket fulls of compost materials and you are not likely to get a pile to heat up enough to provide much useful heat for long to a greenhouse unless you start with about a cubic yard of the right mix of materials.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a compost fanatic and I have great hot compost but a 2 foot trench running the length of your greenhouse filled with some leaves and kitchen scraps isn't gonna warm your greenhouse more than a tiny bit and probably only for a couple days.  Now if you have some great sources of organic waste by the truck load you can probably manage something useful but it's gonna take a fair bit of space and you will have to move a lot of material.

Now even if you are never gonna compost human manure, I highly recommend the Humanure Handbook by Joseph Jenkins to help you learn how to get hot compost without the smell problems many will experience otherwise.

I took my greenhouse down, and I'm in a hot climate so I had far more trouble with keeping things cool actually.  During the winter I just grow seasonally appropriate plants and my fish are able to handle freezing temperatures as long as I stop feeding them when it gets too cool and keep the water from actually freezing over.

I don't believe that compost is the only form of heating that gets used by growing power, they have some greenhouses with no additional heating other than compost but those tend to grow cold weather crops like Kale which can survive snow and ice (at least that is what I saw last Christmas when I was up in the area and visited.)

I'm only trying to make known to those who might not know better that you are not going to heat a 10 by 12 greenhouse with only the contents of a 2 foot by 2 foot by 2 foot patio compost bin or something like that.  Also, if you have lots of near freezing weather, a bit of compost isn't going to make your single ply cold frame or hoop house type greenhouse a tropical paradise able to grow hot weather crops through the cold unless you have managed very big windrows and some extra thermal mass heat storage options to get you through the cold nights.  The idea of using compost for heating comes up alot actually and I know people who have tried it (in a climate similar to my sub tropical climate) with piles smaller than Growing power's windrows and they decided it was away too much work, took up too much space, and didn't really give enough heat for long enough to justify trying to continue doing it.  Now I know Danny's greenhouse isn't huge so I'm not sure how much space he can give up inside it to digging big holes for compost.

How big is the greenhouse Danny?  Katie, how much compost and space would it take to keep that warm?

there is 2 greenhouses, one is bout 20x10x7 the other is little bigger then half that size.

now that im looking more into it, heating with compost is not a bad idea but where am i gonna get all that compost lol.if i was doing something on a bigger scale and had farm animals and alot of compost, then it would not be a bad idea.

the more i think about it the more i keep just going back to the idea of just heating up the water every few days atleast that will keep the system warm.

Instead of heating up the water every few days, you would be better off just using a smaller amount of heat constantly since the fish don't do so well with big swings in temperatures.  Slow and stead is generally a better idea.

You can get stock tank heaters and similar things.  Make sure you get things that are stainless steel as other metals will corrode and can leach bad things for the fish.

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