Aquaponic Gardening

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My system is in a green house, I started it back in April, 55 gal barrel with catfish and coi, everything was going great. At this point in time.  I am very frustrated. I planted squash, tomatoes, cukes, peppers and zuchinni. everything was going crazy. I was so proud. then we ha no sun light so we had to remove a tree branch to provide more light. that done everything started blooming but the blossoms just fell off. I was told I had too many plants so I ripped some of them out. Now I have four tomatoes, a few pepper plants and one cuke. But there are no bees to pollinate. I tried leaving the door open as an invitation. Now the cukes are loaded with female blossoms but no males what should I do now and the tomato blossoms and pepper blossoms are just falling off the plants. please someone tell me what am I doing wrong??? I live in Virginia Beach Virginia and I would welcome someone to come by and take a look and offer some advice. thank you 

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You may have to play bee. Get a little artist's brush, and tickle the flowers, as though you were a bee, going from flower to flower. It's tedious, but rewarding.

As for the number of plants, what configuration do you have? I should has, about how many square feet of growbed do you have? You may still have too many plants. Tomatoes can grow to be huge. We have a 1/2 barrel that is dedicated to tomatoes, and one plant can take over the whole thing. Squash and cucumbers may need to be trellised to keep them manageable.

It sounds like you're doing OK, really. Pull plants if they get too big, and start pollinating the plants yourself & I think you'll get fruit.  :)

I have done the bee thing and I got two cukes the rest fell off or are turning brown. And even now the cuke s are still falling off. The tomato blossoms are falling off too. I cut most of the leaves off the cuke plant and there are now three times as many little cukes but they are still falling off.


Sheri Schmeckpeper said:

You may have to play bee. Get a little artist's brush, and tickle the flowers, as though you were a bee, going from flower to flower. It's tedious, but rewarding.

As for the number of plants, what configuration do you have? I should has, about how many square feet of growbed do you have? You may still have too many plants. Tomatoes can grow to be huge. We have a 1/2 barrel that is dedicated to tomatoes, and one plant can take over the whole thing. Squash and cucumbers may need to be trellised to keep them manageable.

It sounds like you're doing OK, really. Pull plants if they get too big, and start pollinating the plants yourself & I think you'll get fruit. 



Deborah Susan Berry said:

I have done the bee thing and I got two cukes the rest fell off or are turning brown. And even now the cuke s are still falling off. The tomato blossoms are falling off too. I cut most of the leaves off the cuke plant and there are now three times as many little cukes but they are still falling off. Do you live in Virginia Beach Va??


Sheri Schmeckpeper said:

You may have to play bee. Get a little artist's brush, and tickle the flowers, as though you were a bee, going from flower to flower. It's tedious, but rewarding.

As for the number of plants, what configuration do you have? I should has, about how many square feet of growbed do you have? You may still have too many plants. Tomatoes can grow to be huge. We have a 1/2 barrel that is dedicated to tomatoes, and one plant can take over the whole thing. Squash and cucumbers may need to be trellised to keep them manageable.

It sounds like you're doing OK, really. Pull plants if they get too big, and start pollinating the plants yourself & I think you'll get fruit. 

Flowers falling off can also be a sign of heat stress.  How hot is your greenhouse?  You may want to introduce some greenhouse shade cloths.  You mentioned that everything seemed to be going okay and then you removed a tree branch which introduced more light and I guarantee you more heat.  Do you have any ventilation in your greenhouse?  If not, I would recommend introducing two fans to pull air in and one to exhaust heat.  If you have venting keep those vents open.  Just my two cents!

I read an article that said an electric toothbrush is a good pollinating tool because the vibrations have an effect similar to bees wings. I tried it with my wife's old electric toothbrush and it seemed to work pretty well with the peas, beans, and tomatoes we had. My setup is indoors, so I was the sole pollinator.

Roger, that was my next thought -- heat. If it's too hot, the flowers won't set. Good point about the tree & shade! We have two shade cloths over our greenhouse, and a tarp over part of it, but we're in the 100-115 degree weather, too.

Tom, does your wife have a sweet smile now? :)

Of course she does Sheri. But I think that's because my son and I took over scaling and cleaning the fish.

I don't have an outdoor system, but it has been pretty darn hot here as well. I think you and Roger make a good point about the heat in the greenhouse.

I am having the same problem with my Tomatoes and eggplant and even the beans, the flowers just bloom and fall off. I also believe its the heat. We will be in the fall planting season in Florida soon so I will try it again.

Blossom drop is due to heat and is quite common. When you couple the heat with a 'high nitrogen' fertilizer, like the water in your AP system basically is, it becomes even more pronounced. Other than shading or cooling somehow, there is really not much that you can do unfortunately. 

This is a good topic, for guys like me, who are new to aquaponics and greenhouses. I live in Ohio and the weather extreme's here can run from -30 in the winter to 105 in the summer. I have spent alot of time thinking about how to keep the cold out, So i can start my plants in mid-winter, Shade cloths, vents, fans, and swamp coolers to cool the plants in the summer. Now im considering a geothermal coil to keep the temp constant. This would also cool the fish tanks in the summer. As far as pollinating the plants, It is a matter of timing. You could plant flowers that bees love and time them to attract the bees when your veggies are ready, I know that doesn't help out this year, but may help out for next season.

 

thank everyone for your help. I will try anything at this point...

also does anyone know how to keep the mosquitoes out of the green house? 

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