Aquaponic Gardening

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Anyone have a system of starting your seeds in your aquaponics system?  

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I took a 4x8 sheet of plywood and framed around it with 2x4 with a little notch for water to drain. Then lined it with a polyethylene liner. I can fit couple hundred 3" pots into it. Then I just flood and drain once or twice a day

Sounds cool....do you have any pictures?

This is the newest form. The sun was too much for seedlings so had to make a way to add shade cloth

Are you using a soil mixture? If so...what is the mix?  

And you will just take the pot and add them into your beds and/or DWC?

I am using 60% coco coir and %40 vermiculite by approximation, no measuring done. I have a dwc so I can just put the cups down in the holes in the foam rafts once the roots start to come out.

If you are running a media bed I would use media in the cups and do a more regular flood and drain I suppose. Or towards the top left you see I have the seed starting tray plugs sitting in there. I would think you could pull them out and wash off the coco and transplant into media. I have not tried a media bed though so ymmv

Thanks so much!  

So you don't mind the vermiculite and coco coir getting into the DWC?  I've always wondered how people do that many pots in a big system.

No I don't mind. I'm just getting started, but I figure I'll probably skim out any coco in the troughs when I do plant changes. I have a big filter on the pump intake as to not clog it up since I pump from grow bed into fish tank.

I've been having trouble getting started up this year. My seed starting bed was made to be temporary to start with. I ended up losing several batches of seeds for various reasons. Started the first ones too early, no nutes in system. Second batch mice got into. Third batch the ants moved into and made holes in the plastic. So I remade it with a shade canopy and put coffee cans around the feet full of water to keep ants out. So fingers crossed for this round.

Personally, I just sow directly into the media bed.

I've seeded and grown out thousands and thousand of plants in two inch net pots filled only with hydroton. My germination rate is quite high using hydroton only. There might be some old pics on my page here...or somewhere. But basically, like Devoid, I built a 4x8 table (lined it with Duraskrim) and plumbed it to a trough). A pump on a timer floods the table with an inch and a half or so of water.... as often as is necessary according to what season it is (temps/humidity). There is a short standpipe (that keeps the water level at about 1.5 inches)...when the pump stops, the water drains back into a DWC trough via two small holes near the bottom of the standpipe... From here, these rafts get transferred into a nursery trough that has about 8" of water. From there the net pots get taken out of this tight spacing and transferred into production rafts (regular 'ol 2' by 4' rafts with 8" on centers hole spacing)... 

That's about as efficient as I could get it using these materials, guys. I'm not real keen on using vermiculite within the system, as it tens to break down and get into pumps and other things. I try very, very hard to keep foreign particulate matter of any kind out of the system. I feel that, that is a wise strategy in the long run...but to each their own 

For media beds, I pretty much just do what Alex does (except of coarse for the crazy dual root zone thingamabobbers that I have going on)...

Thanks vlad. That's the kind of system I'm going for. I plan to install two new troughs, one where the seed starting bed is so I made it temporary. I plan to get it all plumbed and weird in for the permanent one.

Good to know on the vermiculite. Hydroton Is just so pricy around here. I've been meaning to see what the concrete company would charge me for lightweight expanded clay aggregate (leca) which is what hydroton is.from previous research.

Any thoughts on going that route?

Yes, half of my LECA is Hydroton brand, while the other half is Liaflor. I believe Liaflor is sold and marketed in the US as 'Hydrocorn Gold'. It is a bit lighter than Hydroton and has a noticeably higher wicking capacity (more capillary action). Neither of which are bad things by any stretch.

It comes from a sister company of Okotau (the makers of the now defunct Hydroton). They market the product in two different ways. One for the horticultural crowd, and one for lightweight concrete. The clay for both comes from the same mine and is fired in kilns in the same factory. One is more expensive than the other (guess which). I have both and used them separately for a while, but now have freely combined them since I've not noticed any discernible difference between the two (physical/mechanical properties, pH etc...I've really no way to discern if there are any differences in the chemical make up of the "two", but I highly doubt it (again, this is just my opinion based on observations alone. I've not submitted them to laboratory analysis or anything like that).

Your situation may be different in terms of pricing where you are, but it was actually much cheaper than for me here than buying rocks or gravel (I know, go figure). Try pricing out expanded shale (which doesn't exist here) in your area. Many aquapons are finding it to be a suitable media and much more economically attractive than the different LECA products being sold in the US (Plant It!, Hydrocorn, HydroKorrels or whatever)...

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