Aquaponic Gardening

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 have been cycling since October, i know right before cold weather, but i do not want to get fish until i get this science part down.  I bought maxi crop so I could begin growing veggies.  Well my stale and beets started strong and my son got on the GB and messed with the spinach.  Any ways, i am pretty sure this past week killed my kale (my tank froze). BUt I do not have ammonia present, and my ph is still quite high. 7.6or higher.   My husband added urine a couple times a day for about a week, and nothing happened.  I am not sure how to go the urine route. Do we save it in a container and then add, can my boys have "fun" :), does it need to turn into ammonia before going into tank? When is it safe to get fish?  Ought I start adding ammonia?

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Hi Gillian, I used ammonia right from the start when we were starting up. In our 2000g system 2 yrs ago. I just added about 1/4 to 1/2 cup every other day. BUT you need temps above 50F and best around 70F in order to grow the bacteria. If you know anyone with an aquarium (fresh water) you should ask for a fresh used filter from their filter or even a cup or two of the water. That will get things started quicker. We had a Summer start up and things were under way within weeks not months. You may be in for hard times until you get those temps up. (no pun intended, well maybe a little).

That's about all I can advise for now. I'm sure others will jump in. We heat our GH with a wood stove or we would be shut down this time of year for sure.

I am not in a hurry, I have always waited a bit too long when it came to bin gardening and I was only ever able to get one harvest.  I wanted to try and make sure my system was ready as soon as temperatures were prime. I live in SC, so we only have a month or so of extreme weather changes, it starts balancing out by March.  I am hopeful to add fish by then. Thanks for the quick reply. 

Yup, you'll be warm before we are even tho we are just N of you in TN. We are at 3000ft in the Smokys so we run a bit cooler for a bit longer. (Like teens at night right now) Spring is just around the corner for both of us so hang in there. If you can protect your system in Winter you might try trout starting in early Fall and harvest in early Summer. I doubt you could Summer them over though unless you can keep the system water below say 75F. Just a thought. Think GH for Winter and you will enjoy fresh harvests all year. We are totally in love with our system and can't wait to finish some more block walls and 10 more GBs this Spring. Lovin it.

Do you think it is okay to go ahead and get some Gold fish?  I want to make a small green house, but I rent. I have seen some small designs. My tank is in small area because I rent and did not want to kill grass.  I was thinking about wrapping the tank with insulation, and then building a one of those 3ft fences around it to make it look a bit nicer. 

I love that you have a larger set up.  I have a big fish tank (250 gal), so I am hoping to add an additional bed to it this spring. I have been thinking about starting a wicking bed, but do not want to take on to much at once. 

Hey Gillian, I rent as well, and was able to create a green house from PVC that can be taken down no problem.  I live in AZ so our temps don't get all that cold, maybe a couple of freeze nights during the winter but no biggie.  Good luck!  

Hey Matt that looks like it could help a lot of people who need a small temporary GH. How about some more pics and more details as to construction method and a parts list?

yes, that would be very helpful! 

How does it get the sun light needed?

sure I'll post some more pics, I have no issues with sun light, it gets through fine.  Basically each PVC section is 5 feet apart, and I just picked up some clear plastic 4 mil sheeting from home depot for about 35 bucks and it has been holding up well.  I'm sure you could get better green house quality plastic if needed that will cost a little more, I will probably do that in the future as this sheeting will only last this winter - I hear the green house quality sheeting will last you a few years if you take care of it.

Matt, check with a few commercial GH in your area. They will usually have scraps of the real stuff left over from covering their monsters. I got a 25x50' 6mil for 25.00 from a local. Had I purchased it from supplier it would have been nearly 200.00. It should last 7 to 10 yrs and that was enough to cover my roof and front twice

Also ck out the furniture stores for BIG bubble wrap heavy duty sheets from couches. Great for insulation for IBCs etc. They throw it out.

 Hi Gillian, I got my system cycling by using the filter bags out of our 5 gal FT. As I change them out every 3 weeks, I tied them off in my 150 gal aquaponics FT like a tea bag. while I'm here, I have a question for you guys... Are you serious that to get your ammonia going, some people actually pee in their FT. I have a 5 yr old boy that I'm sure would love that idea. 

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