Aquaponic Gardening

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I have read most of the posts in this group and want to sort of pull all the information together. I have 8 virgin IBC's sitting on my lawn. As soon as the weather clears, I plan to cut, support and plumb them into 16 growbeds.

1. First of all is what tool have you found to be the easiest and most economical to cut the plastic with the best results? I am a big fan of Harbor Freight as I am a DIY user and do not need a tool to make my living and last forever..

2. Support of the bottom half is a no-brainer. It already has a pallet that will simply need to be elevated to proper height for drainage and to be able to work underneath.

The top half though does not have it's own support so I figure to use 4X4's in the front and back and 2X4 supports  the other direction. my question is how many 2X4's are needed for the long term. I've seen aquariums placed on stands that held the weight at first only to warp and shift over time. i know plastic is alot more forgiving than glass but I still want to build this to last.

3. I read the discussion on how different people cut the cage with either the tubes sticking up and then filed or cut off. I'd already thought of using at least a few of those as trellis supports but also to use them as a support for a cold frame...

By simply taking a 1/2 inch piece of pvc and sticking it over one of the pieces and then arching it over the bed to the other side, you have a support to either put shade cloth during the summer or plastic for a cold frame during the winter..The cold frame idea makes an automatic water heater.

I live in north Louisiana and while it does not get nearly as cold as alot of you experience, my beds are going to be on my patio deck and totally exposed.

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Replies to This Discussion

Hey Matt, I tried but I got I busted going out the door with 2 cases of my wife's Coke headed for the GH

Seriously though, that could get pretty expensive. Also having been in the laundry chem business for many years that must have been 3% bleach as 13% gets very dangerous. Our concentrate was 15% and that will eat thru most things including flesh pretty darn quick. Household is 3% and bad enough.

Hey Pat, I agree. I still have a bunch of tomatoes in this bed getting ripe and delicious so I used one of my 3" collars, pulled out the bell and flooded for about an hr as I watched lots of flies drowning. Amazing amount of activity goes on just between high water and surface gravel. Noticeably less flies afterwards. When we get out of these 15F days I will do the salt and flood idea. I bet that will do it and for cheap$

How are the temps down there Pat? Hitting a low of 12F here at night and keeping the GH at an average of 40 at night with the woodstove on auto pilot. Had a very rare full sun day yesterday and the GH hit a high of 96F while the ambient never got over 18F. Must get that hot tub installed.

I'll try again today to send out my proof pdf. Been pretty busy around here lately. I get to rebuild the left front drivetrain on the Cummins Ram today. Yikes. Better than oem when done though. Can't get that at the stealership. And they would get about $1000 while I can do it around $100.

We are having days in the high 50's to mid 60's. At night it frosts a little on occasion. Just enough to see on the yard.

I am re-doing shelves in my GH for all the seedlings I have started. I've got to get the rest separated into individual cells in the next couple days or risk losing them because they got too big.

Just waiting for it to warm up a little right now. 49 outside but it will be nice inside the GH. I am watching the ground temp and the air temp in the GH. Ground is staying around 50

Our seedlings are doing great and I planted a bunch in the granite gbs yesterday. I am using Burpee's "super growing pellets" from Lowes (72 for 6.00) and once they are 1/2" high I put them right in the media and use a 1" collar on the siphon as that keeps them watered better than I do. The earth worms should consume the coconut fiber plugs.

The sun is just starting to hit the GH and the temp is at 50F while the outside is all the way up to 22F. Supposed to hit the 30s here today with flurries.

I ordered Maxicrop with iron from our store here so I am excited to add that to the system and observe the difference. The granite definitely seems to be providing more minerals than the river stone based upon simple observation of healthy color but I do need iron now so I figured the seaweed mix should be great. We get to have a gh meal every couple of days so our first winter having a gh has worked out great. Best winter crops have been cabbage, edible pod peas, tomatoes, broccoli, kale, and early on lettuce. The lettuce got hit hard by the fungus gnats so that got pulled pretty early on. Policing the GH is harder than running the basic AP system. Also I have not had a single fish fatality since adding about 2.5 oz. of colloidal silver so I will continue to add about an OZ each week to my 1500gal sys. Out of battery so off I go

Jim, I am sure your wife was probably thinking you may be mixing up some Jack & Coke out there. Lol. I believe your right about the 3% bleach/water solution, as opposed to 13%. My bad. I guess that would be expensive in large amounts. But I felt it a good alternative for cleaning nets, and equipment, as in an aquaponic friendly way. Far less intimidating then peroxide, iodine, bleach, etc. Not sure how well it would work in any situation, but I had to throw it out there.

Jim Fisk said:

Hey Matt, I tried but I got I busted going out the door with 2 cases of my wife's Coke headed for the GH

Seriously though, that could get pretty expensive. Also having been in the laundry chem business for many years that must have been 3% bleach as 13% gets very dangerous. Our concentrate was 15% and that will eat thru most things including flesh pretty darn quick. Household is 3% and bad enough.

Hey Pat, I agree. I still have a bunch of tomatoes in this bed getting ripe and delicious so I used one of my 3" collars, pulled out the bell and flooded for about an hr as I watched lots of flies drowning. Amazing amount of activity goes on just between high water and surface gravel. Noticeably less flies afterwards. When we get out of these 15F days I will do the salt and flood idea. I bet that will do it and for cheap$

How are the temps down there Pat? Hitting a low of 12F here at night and keeping the GH at an average of 40 at night with the woodstove on auto pilot. Had a very rare full sun day yesterday and the GH hit a high of 96F while the ambient never got over 18F. Must get that hot tub installed.

I'll try again today to send out my proof pdf. Been pretty busy around here lately. I get to rebuild the left front drivetrain on the Cummins Ram today. Yikes. Better than oem when done though. Can't get that at the stealership. And they would get about $1000 while I can do it around $100.

Ok, an update that I think I partially posted elsewhere as well. i have 7 growbeds on either side of my FT. (14 in total). These are standard 275 IBC totes cut in half.  Quick measures say 39 X 44 inches. I will use a bell siphon on each growbed.  Then I can either use them as fill and drain or DWC or a hybrid...

I tested the flow out of my pump to my cistern that will ultimately provide the pressure to fill the growbeds..

Hi Jim,

I'm a newby to all this having studied lots but not yet building anything. I'd love to have your pdf mentioned above. Do you have a greenhouse? If so, what size for all that I see in this photo? Thanks in advance!!


Jim Fisk said:

Hey Pat, If you promise not to go giving it out (as it is far from complete) I will email the first 50+ pages in pdf of my instructions on how I have done mine with LOTS of pics. Having it all in one booklet is far easier than bits and pieces spread all over 3 forums if you know what I mean. I find the details are hard to come by and find organized in one place like your opening description states.

The one place I am weak on in the pdf is the actual cutting as I had NO patience with picking up the camera during that process but the next 5 GBs I will have someone on the camera.

Sorry but I only just discovered this thread while I was poking around. Not sure why I was not notified. Not the first time.

Let me know.

Dottie,  Since Jim has not responded you probably have time to kill on a late Sunday afternoon, I'll answer for him and point you where to look. His setup in what might be called a 2-room greenhouse, fish in one side with growbeds separate. Go to his profile and look through his pictures and videos. I think you will learn alot. I have a small 10 X12 greenhouse that I use for growing in the fall thru spring. It is simply too hot here to do much in there during the summer although sometimes I try with all the vents and door open and a misting system to keep  it slightly cooler than a steambath.

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