Aquaponic Gardening

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"Gravel Pit Self Reclaiming Aquaponics System"I knew When I ordered the book that there must be more to Aquaponic Gardening than using waste water from my fish tank,

and am enjoying getting started reading it! Especially since what I've learned about so far has confirmed what I decided would happen by my pumping water to flood irrigate from the free flowing liner-less pond in my gravel pit onto the gravel surface. I was sure this was a success of some kind despite of a huge increase of string algae (I must have 10,000 Japanese Trap Door Snails in there now from this) as the orchard grass which could barely grow there before filled in nice and thick with it getting 5 feet tall in places, and I was right the cottonwood trees growing in a stand next to the pond has taken off quite well now from having fish in there.

Now that I know my fish will do well and that the filtration system works,,,so to speak, can't wait find out/or figure out from the book and this forum what more to do, I will begin adding more fish (I spent around $10 on them to begin with, common goldfish and rosy red minnows as a test) I want to add Koi and edible fish of some kind, not sure how many goldfish I have now, but there appears to be plenty of minnows and snails to support many fish without extra feed, though the hoards of water boatman bugs have been scared off or eaten and only a few remain. I also have Water Sedge plants (quick former of peat) and bulrush plants (a wetland edible) ordered for spring planting along with quite a few of my spring planting trees that are on order being ones that will do well in the swampy condition/while making a nice wind break, so I should have a good start on my filtering of the water!

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The wind would like to blow me away out there, and I weigh 305 pounds, the forecast said 60 to 65 mile an hour gusts, but I estimate 70 to 75,,,,better than the 80 to 100 we sometimes get with a forecast like that! 

I remember the year after I moved in here, we had in the fall a fire up wind of me that was 20 to 30 miles away with hurricane force winds, it blew down the chimney sending smoke into the house with each gust and just about pulled hard enough to snuff the fire in the stove out during the "calm" in-between gusts. Accounts said a few inch tall stubble from cutting hay was making five foot tall flames. 

I want to pump one more time before I put the pump away for the winter, so I sure hope this lets up! 

Nice icy foot soak in the pond today, and I saw a bunch of my goldfish, which are still growing good!,,,,I suppose them still growing good makes some sense though because goldfish reproduce over the winter, so with the high hormone levels, why wouldn't they grow like that?  I even saw one or two big ones that I didn't recognize.

Most veggies that grow fast in warm weather don't make sense to try to start indoors early.  Things like corn, squash and all the curcibits like melons, cucumbers, etc, beans, other things that have big seeds and grow fast get so potbound so quickly that sow directly out is the only way.  Tomatoes and peppers are the only things that getting a big headstart on the weather makes sense, and possibly some the the greens, that have such tiny seeds that the baby plants are just so delicate, plus they don't pot bound up so fast.

Thanks.  I mostly was trying the stuff because I have such a short growing season here, and wanted a head start, but am going to try some short season varieties and go back to suing row covers to insulate against light frosts even though when I did that before the Hubbard squash seedlings I had covered were surrounded and out numbered by weeds, I got a crop that year but not a great one for the number of seeds I planted.

Looks like I will be to go ahead and put up a chicken coop and wait and see if anyone squawks about it, if they do I will invite them in court to take over liability for the grasshopper damage if they don't pipe down. 

And later on I'll get a duck hutch put up down by the pond, thought I'll have to do some research on what kind to get. 

I think as long as the duck can fly they should be safe to let run loose, and the chickens I plan to put up numerous runs around my many tree/shrub planting sites for grasshopper control and fertilization, they should mostly wipe out the trouble caused by the grasshoppers and reduce my organic fertilizer bill. 

I understand that certain types of birds are better for different things than others.  I think I've heard that guinea foul eat more bugs off of plants without scratching up the garden or eating the plants as much as chickens will.  Ducks of course are good against snails and slugs.

Now Muscovy Ducks are more tropical and may not be appropriate to places with extreme winters but I like them here because we are sub tropical and the Muscovy don't quack.  I've heard that indian runner ducks are good egg producers.

So do a bit of research into breeds that are appropriate for your climate and what you want to get from them as well as breeds that are good foragers that will help control bug populations.  There are some breeds out there that have had the natural behavior of hunting for food pretty much bread out of them and those are the ones most appropriate for keeping in a little coop and feeding them commercial feed.

We just got 6 new hens.

Good Luck

I mostly need to find out what kind of duck is very versatile and can handle hot summers and cold winters, like the Rhode Island Red chickens I will probably get will. 

I gave up on ever getting the pond pumped again this season, and pulled the suction line out of the pond, which came with a huge clump of my hornwart to throw in the compost bin.  It had a bunch of fish poo trapped in the hornwart too, must have acted as a filter, it's the compost bin's gain. 

I think later on I'll ad in some dairy sheep after my auquaponics and birds get enough growing here to keep them fed much of the time on forage, before I wanted goats, but now think the sheep because of wanting stuff they eat to reseed better to help fill in better. 

I think the ducks will help control the aquatic vegetation that is beginning to overtake my pond as well as be some population control of the fish, which will be important when the bass begin to reproduce, as I've been told they can really take over a pond. 

Not sure if the male bass which protect the young bass would eat the ducks when they went after the fish fry or if the would just send them packing, this is something I must find out before getting the ducks! 

It's been warm here again recently ever since a while back when it finally got cold enough to get ice on the pond, even has got up 60 to 80 deg most days. Yesterday I waded in and found lots of fish, no sign of the bass though, they must be hiding in the vegetation.....I hope! 

The pond finally froze over several days ago, night before last it got down to -12.9 and I wonder if it will stay froze over for the rest of the winter as we now have a warm stretch back on it's way in. Not real warm, just 40's and 50's so just depends how much ice is there I guess.

Ice is getting thin again, I can see fish!

I need a good dunk to sooth my muscles, they have been getting pretty sore with my winter workouts.

Summer before this last was really wet, must have cooled the Geothermal to much as no fall warming of the water occurred this year nor the usual raising of the water table from the addition of the water from it, but when it does get warmed enough to come there should be extra of it, hopefully it will be cold weather when it does so minimal warming will occur in my pond,,,maybe even off to spring to extend next years growing season for the bass? 

This year the weather not the geothermal gave the extension in the fall, once again it's wait and see! 

The fish I saw were all huddled together down there.

ELK RUB! Just when I had thought I'd lucked out and only had one case of deer rub, and at that on part of a chokecherry bush that the bucks rub their antlers on every year, I wonder where my new quaking aspen tree I planted just this last spring went and it appears to have been rubbed by a bull elk. 

Broken clear in two and a pile of large droppings similar to deer droppings. 

The ice was nearly thawed today, and I stuck my bare feet through to give a good amount of pain re-lief, not sure what is all different than the water in my house, but I soak in cold water in the house and just get cold, the pond water weather it is warm or cold water makes me feel great, not sure if it is the Geothermal water that seeps or the mineral from the rock shelf that does the trick. 

It is forecast-ed to get to the 60's next 2 days with rain the latter day, so I should get my re-vitalizing dunk, and soon. 

I saw some fish through the ice again today, they all went zing, but I know they are alive. 

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