Aquaponic Gardening

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My Huge PVC Hoophouse Build (Lots of pics chronological 1 month)

Now that classes are done for the semester I have put most of my time toward my greenhouse and aquaponics set-up. I am posting some photos for comments and discussions for anyone interested. There are quite a few and they are in chronological order from my supplies being delivered to the area I chose to develop. All questions and any advice for me is more than welcomed!

If you do Instagram then follow me at dropthepress and let me know below so I can follow back.

Here is the supply delivery:

I got retaining wall bricks, cinder blocks and stepping stone tiles and it will be obvious how each was used:

I consider this PHASE 1:

Here's a pic of the spot we are building on with my little brother taking a breather (we leveled the entire place with shovels and wheelbarrows or wagons):

Here is the same spot and time from the opposite angle:

This is PHASE 2:

The retaining wall can be seen in the next pic and we are 80% done leveling or so:

Other angle (bad pic):

PHASE 3:

Here is my Mother and my dog Cooper.

We started on the cinder block perimeter and brought down sand to level the tiles eventually:

Other angle:

PHASE 4:

Finally got all the lower cinder blocks in:

Other angle:

PHASE 5:

Here's my brother again. The wall is laid out to its finished height (no mortar, will have cement in some of the holes in the cinder blocks) and the rebar for the PVC hoophouse is hammered in (about 1 foot or more deep each bar is almost 7 feet long). My little brother is 6' 2" so it might not look like it but each bar is nearly 6 feet tall after they were set into the ground:

At this point we perfected the path that comes down to the greenhouse.

I used 3/4 inch PVC pipe at 20 foot lengths (they are bell shaped on one side which is the side I put to the ground). I connected 2 of the 20 foot PVC pipes together with cross joints and then we set each one onto the rebar on opposite ends. A video I found on youtube said not to use the cross joints because they crack but I think it is because that person used glue which we did not!

You can see my friend Curtis in the background who was nice enough to help during three of these phases:

Phase 6:

We finished most of the PVC structure. There is Curtis again. The apex of the hoops are 13.5 feet tall:

Phase 7:

The spine of the hoophouse is now put up, the tiles are in place and the growbeds are roughly placed. We put cement into each cinder block where a PVC pipe was in but the rest were filled with dirt and topped off with cement because it is only a 3 block high wall anyways (cutting corners!!).

This pic is from before the build when we got our IBCs:

Here's my Mother again. This is a pic of our cistern to catch rainwater (no tap water with chlorine and fluoride for us!). We had this installed before the greenhouse so we can fill our system with rainwater.

This is where we are so far and I will be posting further "phases" soon!

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Hi Jason. Wow, looks like quite a project! I think you have done a great job so far. I hope you are keeping a detailed log of your expenses. I think it's really cool when you have a nice report of all your materials and labor if you had any labor expense. What's nice about your system is that it's on a conservative budget. Elementary schools and high schools could really benefit from you detailed journey. Especially if it's has the financials included. What will be fun to see is; how much produce and fish it would produce to the "break even" point. Also, consider looking to your local Boy scouts troop who might want to volunteer and there is always the Eagle scout who needs a Senior scout "project" that he must volunteer for in order to obtain his Eagle Scout Badge. every now and then take a "snap shot" photo of your current expense report for phase one. We would all like to see how it turns out. Good luck and best wishes. Greg McCord 

Great photos and super great start. I have to say this, with the height and width you have there I would of went with at least 1" pvc or larger.

The good news Greg is that I have been keeping a folder with all the receipts for all aquaponic or greenhouse expenses and I will do a post about that subject when I am much further along. The only thing I will not be sure of at all is how much time I have put into it total but will have been a lot. I had no labor expenses.

Yeah Wes I thought the same at first and I wanted to do 1"1/2 but it snapped on a test and then I tried 1" and it didn't seem to want to stay together because I had to have three joints (ten foot pieces from home depot). I got the entire PVC idea from a youtube video of a guy who did the same exact thing (without the cinder blocks though) so I copied everything from him. I doubled up on the number of "ribs" for good measure and used cinder blocks so assuming that the youtube man's greenhouse is okay then I hope I will be. I tried to post the video I'm talking about but it says the user set it to private now which is super lame so no luck on that but I will keep everyone posted on mine even if it collapses!

Yo im diggin this. I need a green house myself( Some day) . Looking fwd to more photos. I like the bricks on the floor, not the normal thing is nice. Not  just PVC and rocks .keep up the good work.

all i can say is WOW. i can see myself in a chair sipping ice tea in your greenhouse

Ho man, lookin' good! I love the flooring design in your greenhouse!

Quick update:

The system is fully cycled and up and running with 75 tilapia in one of the fish tank IBC totes! As for the greenhouse we have not gotten the tarp for the top yet so its still just bare bones right now haha. We have 3 (soon to be 4) fish tank totes running in the system with no fish in the other 2 yet. I am going to be filling one fish tank with baby fish every 3 months so we have steady production. In about one year we will be making lots of fish fertilizer! I will be posting picks of the system fully running very soon.

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