Aquaponic Gardening

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 so i have to switch out the media in my gb's and i was wanting suggestions for a media that my worms will be happy in.

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 to funny what fun u can have chasing people with vermicompost.

 i try not to use a sprayer for my tea. i use a watering can and sprinkle it over the top of the plants. the sprayer causes damage to the micro-organisms that i spent so much effort to breed, to be fair though i now have a tea brewer (much easier).

 i have also put a tea bag in my 50 gal. fish tank on at least 3 occasions and the water still comes out clear after it cycles for a few days. on the last occasion i used the water that was in the fish tank for the lawn and did a water change after the PH shot up to 8. i found out that it was the media though. that is the story i guess. do the vinegar test on unknown media. it took about 8 mos to go up to that ph level. before the highest i got was 7.0.

Doesn't quartz have sharp edges that could cut up the worms?

No, the worms know how to navigate around the media, even very rough media.

Yes, the vinegar test is important. Let it sit for a while; I've found that sometimes it doesn't bubble right away.

PH can change for surprising reasons. Our tap water was a consistent 8.2-8.4 for well over 1.5 years, then suddenly dropped recently to about 7-7.2. I guess the city switched us over to well water from the lake water, but it sure threw us off for a short while. Lesson learned: test tap PH as well as system PH.

Sheri - That is why I am an advocate of rainwater harvesting.  I filter it through various sizes of lava rock and activated charcoal first.  I then test the water; and then I ''goldfish'' test the water.  If the gold fish live that crop fish go in or the rainwater is added to the fish grow tank.

The only goldfish that I have ever lost are to the catfish and koi that love the protein treat of a goldfish meal.  Both cats and koi often swim around with goldfish tails hanging out of their mouths.  When I release 50 or 100 gold fish into the breeding pond, one would think that the dinner bell has be rung ... the water churns.  The pond only gets rainwater also, after it goes through several bio filter swales.

I have a 2 yard pile of man mixed top soil that is very heavy in cow manure.  It is full of some sort of worm, will they work?  The price is definitely right.

LOL, Phil! I have a funny visual of little tails hanging out of a hundred mouths.

We hope to harvest rain water in a future project. Western Washington does get a tad more rain than we do here in the dry AZ desert. But we can harvest a good amount of rain during our three storms/year. :)

I've learned that there are distinct differences in worms. Our native earth worms won't survive in the AP environment; in fact, they don't survive in a composting environment. So we purchased a bunch of wigglers that love AP, and we let our natives work the soil garden.

Phil---I'm guessing your pile has manure worms, otherwise known as compost worms. Perhaps red wigglers or a close relative.

Rebecca, are you saying red wigglies will work in AP settings then?

Boy do we get rain in Western WA.  Two weekends ago it rained like a cow doing you know what on a flat rock!  The 8-275 gallon IBCs around the house well all but filled.

Yes, you got it.

Like Sheri said, endogeic earthworms for the garden and epigeic compost worms for AP. As long as there is enough dissolved oxygen in the water, they can live completely submerged.

"Anecic (Greek for “up from the earth” or “out of the earth”)
• Build permanent burrows into the deep mineral layers of the soil
• Drag organic matter from the soil surface into their burrows for food
• Include the familiar bait worm, the nightcrawler or dew worm
(Lumbricus terrestris)
Endogeic (Greek for “within the earth”)
• Build extensive non-permanent burrows in the upper mineral layer of
• Feed on the organic matter in the soil
• Live exclusively in soil and usually are not noticed, except after a
heavy rain when they come to the surface
Epigeic (Greek for “upon the earth”)
• Live on the soil surface
• Form no permanent burrows
• Feed on decaying organic matter
• Common names: red worm, manure worm, brandling worm, red wiggler and compost worm."

Phil---do you know if the manure was hot composted---and how long ago? The concern is about pathogens possibly transmitted by the manure if it wasn't correctly composted.

Guidance for soil grown produce: "• Applications of worm-composted manure and other animal materials

MUST comply with the 120- and 90-day rules, unless high
temperature composting or other heat treatments have also been
used as described above (according to NOP Guidance 5021, July 2011)."

Rebecca - This is man made top soil that simply has a high manure content for a better grow environment.  It was simply scooped up from the corrals and pastures, delivered to the top soil maker, dumped.  When he was making high grade top soil, he just dropped in a scoopful per yard of dirt mixture - nothing scientific.

I am confused, then being a male I confuse easily.  Confusion is often a defense!  Anyway what are the best worms for AP.  If my topsoil worms won't do which ones will that I can buy from a worm growers ... they are all over the place up here in the Northwest.


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