Aquaponic Gardening

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The garden continues to grow well.   Water tests today were very good, except for a bit too much ammonia and nitrates.  I'm going to quit feeding the fish quite so generously, and that should bring everything to perfect levels.

Earwigs are still trying to eat all the leafy stuff.  I have promised myself to take the time tomorrow to make an oil trap.  They just need to go before they destroy everything.

Here are some broad views of the garden:

I picked lettuce and tomatoes to share with my book club last week (and a couple of radish for myself):

The ladies loved them!

The tomatoes are absolutely frightening with their abundance.  As you can see, I have a bunch of them turning golden all at once.  I think the plants (and I) are much happier now that I thinned out the foliage.  And OMG have I learned my lesson!  I will never own more than 3 plants again, and I will accept that wherever I plant them is going to be their permanent home so don't expect to give them more room later.  You broke it, you bought it, lady.

You can also see in the upper tomato picture (if you know what you're looking for) where the cucumber vine is coming back down across the front, now that it's run out of room to grow upward.  It isn't setting fruit yet that I can see, but it certainly has blooms!
Old growth on the strawberries isn't happy, and one of my 3 remaining plants died, but the other two have good looking new growth.  I'm hoping to get them into towers in the next month or two.  Hopefully that will help.
I picked some Wrinkle Crinkle Cress and some radish this morning.  The cress is WAY too peppery.  My friend at Rolling Hills Herbs & Annuals tells me I probably let them get too mature.  So I'm going to make a point of picking things more frequently, rather than just gloating over their growth.  Heck, I need the growbed space anyway!

Speaking of Rolling Hills, they had an end-of-season sale on their heirloom plants today.  I couldn't resist (not that I tried all that hard) so we have some new additions to the garden.  And since all of her plants are certified organic, I can finally plant something other than seeds without worrying about killing off my fish!
I bought some cilantro to put with the coriander I'm growing.  (Yes, I know it's the same plant.  But in the leggy, all-seed condition my plants are in, they are definitely coriander.  And this new plant, all lovely leaves, is definitely cilantro.)
I moved the beets further back a bit (they're growing so slowly) to make room for fennel:
Since I had picked all those radishes, I now had room for dill:
In the constant-flow bed where I removed the two tomato plants, I planted 3 types of basil.  Sweet, lemon, and anise:

And behind them I put a golden bell pepper and a purple bell pepper:

I have high hopes for getting the second barrel frame completed this weekend.  If I do, I'll move these barrels into it, and put raft barrels in their place.  The rafts will then hold my lettuce and probably my basil.

I also got a great tip from my co-addicts at the Aquaponics HQ forum about using bunk feeders as growbeds (in my case, I'll make a raft bed out of it).  OMG they're so inexpensive compared to everything else!  So I've currently got one of my local feed stores checking their supplier to see if they can get me one of the 10 foot jobs at a decent price.  And delivered to my house, of course.  There's no way I can get one home in my hatchback.  Lowe's Home Improvement actually sells them, and at a decent price.  But not in California.  But if I can't support my local business without destroying my wallet, I'll see if Lowe's will ship it.  Once I get this it will take up the last of my comfortably useable space in the greenhouse.  Then, just maybe, I can quit tweaking the system and just watch it grow.  :-)

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Comment by Jon Baldwin on July 10, 2011 at 9:36pm

great pics!  it's awesome to see "last week" vs. "this week" - very cool. 


also, the bunk feeders look like a great addition.  narrow enough to be a bit more manageable than some of the big hydroponic beds on the market.


thanks for all the info.

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