Aquaponic Gardening

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The month of May 2012, has been consumed with a major expansion.  I was able to make contact via a friend with a woman that had the metal frame and parts form a "hoop house" greenhouse destroyed in a hurricane sever years back.  As she was still being taxed for the structure, she was most happy to have me remove it. We did have to disassemble and take down one section still standing. It took us two days and I gave her a $50 gratuity, for which she was most grateful.  Problem was each "rafter" consisted of two curved 19 ft. long sections.  A little hard to get into a pickup truck.  Problem was solve as I have a small open utility trailer which I attached to the pickup and I was able to tie up the sections with one end in the pickup and the other end in the trailer.

 

After some reference to a "FARMTEK" catalog, where they sell similar green houses, I determined that by spacing the rafters 54 inches apart (there units were 48 inches apart) and 26 feet wide with a height of about 12 feet.  I decided to dig 2 foot deep post holes and install a 2 foot length of 1 & half inch PVC pipe on each end of the "rafter".  Idea was then to cement the PVC in the hole with ready mix cement.  This provides easy removal if needed or to adjust height.

 

Here in Pasco county FL (west coast) our late May early June temperatures are in the low 90s daily and headed to daily 96 to 98 degrees within 30 days.  I have covered my green house with 11 ft 4 inch by 19 ft 6 inch silver tarps. While I have not measured the temperature difference it feels 4 to 6 degrees cooler in the green house.  This should greatly aid tomatoes and other production.

 

I have managed to now get 3 rows of 7 and 3 rows of 6 of 2 inch net pots in each of my 2 foot x 4 foot blue board floats for a total of 39 plants per float or 156 plants per 4 ft. x 8 ft. grow trough.  I have just completed and tied into my system 4 new grow troughs with room for 624 plants. The plan is to add an additional 4 more grow troughs by September and increase that by 4 more by December.   This will bring our maximum production to 2,496 plants at any given time.  This should allow us to become a viable commercial aquaponics farm  with three 275 gallon, one 100 gallon and one 330 gallon fish tanks.

 

I suffered a major fish kill due to over crowding and ammonia last November reducing my fish population to about 30 nine month old Tilapia.  Due to successful breeding in March and April our fish population is back up to about 250, spread over my 5 tanks.  I hope to acquire at least two more 275 gallon polly tanks.  One will be reserved just for breeding.

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Comment by Steve Bradbury on June 12, 2012 at 9:20pm

Great find on the hoop house Dave!! We missed several at a commercial nursery that had been sold for a housing development here in G-ville a couple of years ago....they cleared them out with a bulldozer, and all that was left was a pile of mangled metal.......what a waste.

Sucks to hear about the fish loss...we had similar happen due to a pump failure ...lost 100 catfish about a month prior to harvesting them........once again my pragmatic nature turned lemons to lemonaide...or more particularly, dead fish into tasty pork.........(we fed the dead catfish to the pigs) LOL

Happy 'Ponics

Steve

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