Aquaponic Gardening

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 So I was wondering what opinions were on Foliar Feeding. I have heard that the upper part of the plant is not exactly supposed to get wet, but it just seems that it would help, especially if compost tea is used.

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Great idea. thanks

Michael Welber said:

I use those yellow sticky traps around the garden beds and I got a ton of spider mites stuck to them. They caught a few beneficial insects but many more of the bad guys. You might try them. They are available all over the internet but I got them from Johnny's Selected Seeds, a great place. 

 Thanks. so i take it that u have to avoid mixing it with the water?

Sheri Schmeckpeper said:

Great information about alternative oils, Vlad. I use neem oil very cautiously, but I find it works moderately. Our sugar ants tend to cultivate aphids faster than the neem oil counters them. But when I add cayenne it works very well. I mix it and let the cayenne soak in it for a day, then filter it because the cayenne plugs up my sprayer. If I can switch from neem oil to another oil, all the better.

Christopher, diatomaceous earth is a powder used commonly both to repel insects and for certain types of pool filters. It's also used in hydroponics and acts similarly to vermiculite or perlite.  It's an organic pesticide that causes insects to dehydrate. It can be uses all around the home to protect from flees, cockroaches, bedbugs, slugs, ants or any number of pests.

It's not used in aquaponic systems, however. Rather, it's helpful when sprinkled around your system. It can be purchased as "food grade" at nurseries, which is what you should look for; don't use the stuff from pool supply stores.

Sheri, does the addition of cayenne take care of some of the ants too? Or, just more effectively kill the aphids they are farming? 

Christopher, we sprinkle diatomaceous earth on the ground anywhere insects can climb up to the plants. It doesn't work with flying insects because the insect has to get into it for it to had an effect. It works for ants, although they are skilled at finding paths around it. We avoid letting it get in contact with the system itself because I don't know the effect it would have on fish, and it could kill our worms easily. 

Vlad, you're right, the main reason it helped with ants was because it screwed up their food supply (the aphids).  But they also don't like it. If you spray them, they hustle away and spend a lot of time fussing about. I'm not sure that it kills them, but it does repel them. Last year we had a horrific ant problem--both sugar ants and fire ants. The cayenne/neem oil mixture, in cooperation with the diatomaceous earth, worked better than anything else we tried. The challenge with ants is that you can mess with the individuals and even if you kill a lot of them off, they send more...and more...and more. So for us, getting rid of the aphids did more to get rid of the ants than anything else. This year I'm going to add cayenne to the diatomaceous earth as well as adding it to the spray; and I'll use mint oil instead of neem oil in my spray.

food grade diatomaceous earth isn't especially bad for the fish or the worms.  Some people even sprinkle worm bins with the DE powder to combat ants.  As long as the worm isn't up in a dry place, the dust won't be especially hard on the worms.

The DE powder is quite ineffective when wet though so use in an aquaponics system won't be much help so using it around instead if in the system will be more useful.  The dust isn't good to breath but otherwise, if you eat any industrially farmed grain or grain products, you eat Diatomaceous Earth regularly.  It is used in grain storage and feed storage to help combat pests in the stored grain.

 I know it will kill worms, but wigglers stay in the moisture. That makes me feel a lot easier about using it. Thanks for that info!

we have sprinkled it over our worm bins when they got a bad ant infestation.  It isn't super effective against ants cause they are so tough but they don't like the DE so it helps some.


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