Aquaponic Gardening

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How are people tackling the bugs that find our systems?  I've been using a combination of beneficial insects (mainly ladybugs) and spraying with insecticidal soap when I have to...but I worry about the effect that using too much of that might have on the fish.  If a plant is pretty small (lettuces, greens, beans, peppers) and is pretty bug infested I'll take it out of the media and let it soak in the fish tank for about 15 minutes. the bugs drown, and the fish seem to love them.

I know some people use neem oil with success.  What are the downsides?  What else do you guys use?

Also, my most buggy plants are salad greens and peppers.  They've stayed totally off my herbs, broccoli, and tomatoes.  What have other's experience been with this?  Any hypothesis as to why?  Travis thinks it has something to do with nitrogen levels...

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Holy C.. David. I'd have to get stoned just to have the patience to read that whole article.:-) Seriously! I love the next post:



David Hart said:

I haven't seen what Mr Hallman has said. But here is a great article on the benifits of molasses in gardening. Yes. it's a pot growing site, but hey, these folks are serious about their plants health...

http://buymarijuanaseeds.com/community/threads/molasses-is-sweet-or...

check out the organic home-made spray that works on pests let me know what you think....
http://www.dirtdoctor.com/Garrett-Juice-br_vq2210.htm

Here are ants farming some aphids on a cucumber plant I have growing outside in a hydro-organic set up...

 And here are what those aphids look like about 8-9 days after been spayed with Beauveria bassiana fungal spores...

Dead white husks...


The ants just keep bringing the aphids back in order to harvest their sugary honey dew and bring the sweetness back to their hive (Queen)...so I'll never get rid of the aphids without getting rid of the ants...but this late in the season I don't really care.

Did you buy this as Mycotrol? Is it totally safe for aquaponics?

Mycotrol-O, Naturalis-O, and/or Botaniguard.

This time I bought it as Mycotrol-O

I suppose that depends by what parameters you use to define "totally"...I really don't know what would happen if you poured a gallon or two undiluted directly into your 20 gallon fish tank?

But in practical terms yes, I believe it to be safe. A few years back when I was researching the toxicity studies that were done to bring this product to market, it seemed like one would have a very hard time indeed killing fish with this product when used correctly 

This is our first year here with a 2000 sq ft AP greenhouse that has 35 grow beds, 4000 gal tank and a 60 x 4' raised bed.

We had a terrible aphid infestation on our watermelons and okra. We tried bugs, soap, tea and a few more but finally got a handle on them by destroying heavily infested plants, spraying them off with water and regular treatment with neem oil.

We also had an issue with spider mites and little success in getting rid of them. I'd love to have a method of attack for my winter crops.  Anyone have luck with them?

Cindi, what's your lowest temperature throughout the year?

You're spaying aphids with fungal spores? That seems like a particularly invasive and cruel way to deal with aphids......

Vlad Jovanovic said:

 And here are what those aphids look like about 8-9 days after been spayed with Beauveria bassiana fungal spores...

We've been here since  May and are using hi/lo thermos. So far my lowest temp has been 64. My highest was several days of 105. My highest water temp was 84.
 
Alex Veidel said:

Cindi, what's your lowest temperature throughout the year?

We have had numerous issues with aphids over the past two years including have them move in to my house when I relocated some habanero plants indoors.  Terrible little things that they are we tried, clove spray, peppermint spray, soap and god knows other natural sprays.  The only thing that worked was companion planting.  This past year we planted onions and garlic in the beds.  One onion and garlic plant per plant.  No aphids.  There are other species of aphids that do like onion and garlic, but for me the aphids moved on and devoured our roses instead. 

Not a problem for me...I don't eat roses.  We also do not harvest the garlic and we only harvest the green leaves of the onions.  When they begin to die or rot we replace them with the stumps left over from a bunch we purchase at the grocery store.

Some kind of flying parastitoid insects have shown up that appear to just love little aphid nymphs, and adults alike (so it seems)...So tell me Alex, which seems more cruel..? A bit of fungal sporulation, or something out of the first Alien movie (or Spaceballs if you prefer)...The insect kingdom is sooo crazy brutal...Almost as bad as the microbial world...

..."The females of some parasitoid species also insert secretory products (combinations that may include polydnaviruses, ovarian proteins, and venom) that protect the egg from the immune system of the host. Once a host of a parasitoid that expresses polydnavirus particles has been parasitised, the virus that accompanied the egg during oviposition, infects the cells of the host in ways that benefit the parasitoid...

Inside the host the egg hatches into a larva or larvae. The larva feed inside the host until ready to pupate; by then the host is generally either dead or moribound. Depending on its species, the parasitoid then may eat its way out of the host or remain in the more or less empty skin. In either case it then generally spins a cocoon and pupates. As adults, parasitoid wasps feed primarily on nectar from flowers. If they happen to be species that rely on polydnavirus then all adults include the DNA for their associated species of the virus in their genomes..."

 

At first glance from a distance, I thought that it might be a flying ant...a "manager of operations" perhaps, coming to check on the Queens honeydew factory...but alas, our aphid friends are not so lucky as that. This type of stuff has been quite enlightening as well as entertaining to observe...



Alex Veidel said:

You're spaying aphids with fungal spores? That seems like a particularly invasive and cruel way to deal with aphids......

Vlad Jovanovic said:

 And here are what those aphids look like about 8-9 days after been spayed with Beauveria bassiana fungal spores...

Oh, I was just making fun of your typo. You left out the "r" in "sprayed" and the idea of getting "fixed" by fungal spores is still rather disturbing :P


Vlad Jovanovic said:

Some kind of flying parastitoid insects have shown up that appear to just love little aphid nymphs, and adults alike (so it seems)...So tell me Alex, which seems more cruel..? A bit of fungal sporulation, or something out of the first Alien movie (or Spaceballs if you prefer)...The insect kingdom is sooo crazy brutal...Almost as bad as the microbial world...

..."The females of some parasitoid species also insert secretory products (combinations that may include polydnaviruses, ovarian proteins, and venom) that protect the egg from the immune system of the host. Once a host of a parasitoid that expresses polydnavirus particles has been parasitised, the virus that accompanied the egg during oviposition, infects the cells of the host in ways that benefit the parasitoid...

Inside the host the egg hatches into a larva or larvae. The larva feed inside the host until ready to pupate; by then the host is generally either dead or moribound. Depending on its species, the parasitoid then may eat its way out of the host or remain in the more or less empty skin. In either case it then generally spins a cocoon and pupates. As adults, parasitoid wasps feed primarily on nectar from flowers. If they happen to be species that rely on polydnavirus then all adults include the DNA for their associated species of the virus in their genomes..."

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