I've read that cycle time can be speeded up by placing a rock from a fish pond into the grow bed. I have a friend with a pond, but there are no rocks in it. He has offered to toss one in and then give it to me for my system.
Any idea how long the rock needs to be in the pond to attract bacteria to it sufficiently to help my system?
I tried this using a Koi pond and it took about 60 days. So in my case it did not speed things up. What it did do is introduce a whole bunch of other bacteria and organisms which may have resulted in leaf spot disease on my lettuce and basil. Who knows if that is really what caused it, but if I had it to do again I would not have added the pond water to avoid disease vectors.
Thanks, Jonathan. I was also wondering whether I might be introducing some things into my system that could do damage. Guess I just need to be patient.
Now if you are not worried about disease vectors from your friend's pond, would they be willing to let you wash the filter pads for them? You get to keep the squeezings and wash water to use in your system.