Aquaponic Gardening

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So, I've got this nice long DWC bed and I'm contemplating ways to use it.  I'd like to get a topic going here where people can show off their innovative methods of supporting plants for DWC or just simply show and tell how they went about constructing their rafts or support boards and what they think of it.

What materials did you use?
What paint or sealer did you use?
How did you cut the holes?
How did you support the rafts/boards while you pained and let them dry?
What size did you go with and would you change it nest time?

What did you like about what you did and what would you like to do different?

I rather like the idea of supporting the plants some how above the water instead of having the raft on the surface for any situation where the bio-filter surface area is not needed because this may greatly reduce the amount of supplemental aeration that would be needed for the raft bed.  I've found that the few times I have tried small rafts, the plant pots setting down into the water kept things too wet for many plants unless there was a huge amount of supplemental aeration under the raft.

For letting the plants get moisture before their roots hit the water, I like to use wicks and I'll have to get some photos of those up into this discussion once I go find them. Here is an album with photos of the wicks I use http://aquaponicscommunity.com/photo/albums/cups-net-pots-wicks

Please jump in and share.
:) :) :) :)

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WOW!

What a timely thread, since I am currently considering expanding into the world of raft aquaponics very soon. I am doing my homework and reading all I can about folks different techniques and approaches.


We currently have a small 275 gallon tote fill and drain system that has really performed well (considering before aquaponics everything we tried to grow died) 

My wife and I are hooked on Aquaponics and want to do more growing like this. I really appreciate this forum and all of you who contribute such awesome ideas, remedies and guidance to thos of us who are new to this.

Regards,
Bob

I'm sure glad this topic got resurrected. I missed it the first time, and so happens that I'm making some wood rafts right now. I have commercial lettuce rafts that float, made of 3 lb EPS foam, 2' x 4' x 1" thick, and 18 molded holes on 8" centers, made by Beaver Plastics in Canada. They cost $6 each, which is cheaper than the blue board I was quoted (cheap 1 lb density), and an unsung benefit is that the holes are molded, and resist root penetration. But, plastic is still plastic.

So, I made some experimental wooden rafts from redwood 1 x 12's, because I have both redwood and a sawmill on my property. You can't get more local and sustainable than that. They are only 2' long to fit my application. I clamped 5 together and drilled them all at once with a thread drive auger bit, very easy, took about 15 minutes to drill a total of 150 holes. They will not rest on water, but on ledgers, and I'm hedging on doing a partial flood and drain under the rafts from a bell siphon set to break half way down. To seal the wood, I'm going to try half of them dipped in hot wax. The other half I'll dip in epoxy. I start my seeds in spongy plugs made from Douglas Fir bark and a polymer, similar to Rapid Rooters, but much cheaper. The plugs (about 3/4" square) fit just snug enough in a round 1" hole to stay put and not completely seal the air flow. I'll shoot some pics soon.

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