Aquaponic Gardening

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Hi all!

So I recently read this great summary of AP do's and don't.  One thing I remember was don't do tomatoes when first starting a system, wait until it's a little more mature (after 5 mos).  The first 5 mos, should focus on "Leafy green such as lettuce."  So here is my start up AP system.  I've got lettuce, kale, cucumber, zucchini and one grape tomato in the back right corner.

1. Is it time to thin?

2. If I thin, what do I pull?  Should I get rid of my only tomato?  Pull all but one zucchini and one cucumber on the right grow bed (while leaving the lettuce)?

3. How many lettuce can I leave in the grow bed on the left.  That's my primary lettuce constant flood.  I must have like 50 growing in there, I'm thinking get it down to 8?

I sort of want to keep the tomato plant, cause I like tomatoes and it's the only one I got going (none in ground, etc.)

Thanks for your thoughts!

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Before discarding those male flowers, use them to pollinate the female flowers. Without a lot of flowers available to attract the bees, the female flowers may not get pollinated.

That makes sense, thanks for the clarification. With single plants, I'd still be concerned about there being a male and female flower blooming at the same time and a bee finding them in time. If they were my plants, I think I would do the manual pollination as insurance.

Great.  Picked the male flowers.  No female yet.  Will do the manual pollination once the females show up :)  Thanks for your help!

My first AP was a 55 gallon tank, pumped continous flow to a 5 gallon bucket of 1/2" red lava rocks. Being impatient and ignorant, I dropped a single seedling of Cherokee purple heiloom tomato into the bucket, the same day I filled the tank for the first time, coincidently the same day the tilapia arrived (10 2-4" Salton sea variety) Not cycled, not nearly enough media, not tested for any chemistry, and not a clue. Of course the water got nasty and the fish would have flipped my off if they had fingers, but a few water changes and and everything grew like crazy. The single tomato threw dozens of vines that radiated 20' in every direction along the rafters of my shop (clear roofing). That one plant veged for a long time, but once it decided to flower, we got several ripe tomatoes every day for a year. Wood rats invaded my shop and ate the vines all the back to the bucket, killing the plant, I thought. But as soon as the rats were dispatched, the tomato came back and is now growing fast again and blooming currently, over a year old with a trunk 2" in diameter.

Keep your tomato.

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