Aquaponic Gardening

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Well, it has been quite a long while since I have been on here. All is well with my little system.  I have had to add another light to keep up with the tomato growth.  I also built them a ladder to climb out away from the other plants in the grow bed.  Two of my three tomato plants won't flower and I'm a bit puzzled by why not. The third is chugging away producing tinny little green fruits.  

I only have one plant left from my original four I planted, a parsley.  She isn't doing very well though and may be removed unless I see some improvement.  I think that she is being shaded by the bell pepper plants to much. I try to keep them trimmed back to give her and the cucumber more light but they are growing so fast.  

My fish are doing great.  I have 5 really happy fat goldfish and one grumpy crayfish.  I switched to the organic fish food I bought from the store here and have been happy with it's performance thus far. I'm not to happy with the shipping costs up to Alaska.  It was going to cost more than the food itself.  I found it cheaper to ship it to NJ and then fly home with the box in my luggage after a visit. I have also been supplementing the fish food with worms from my worm bin.  Once or twice a week I will throw a few varied sized worms and watch them pig out.

I learned a valuable lesson the other day. I was puttering around the house and took note that the tank was getting a bit green.  At one point I was working in the same room as the system and saw the level of the grow-bed was about to drain.  I decided to linger a bit and watch the cycle for a quality assurance.  It was then that I noticed the level wasn't changing.  ALARM!  Yup the pump isn't pumping.  OK, so I take it out, remove all connected plumbing, and start trouble shooting.  I found a minimal amount of build up inside the tubing out from the pump and a good amount of gunk in the pump itself.  Which is surprising because I had just completely cleaned the pump 2 weeks prior to this. 

I'm ready for this system to start producing some food. So far I have only harvested parsley and lettuce. The very bitter lettuce has since passed on to the worm bin. Flowers on the strawberries, bell peppers, and cucumbers are looking promising though. Grow Baby, Grow!

Hey, thanks for reading. Have a great day.

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Comment by Vlad Jovanovic on July 3, 2013 at 1:33pm

Rock of phosphate, or bone meal, or struvite, or any type of MAP (magnesium-ammonium-phosphate) crystals.  Just don't over do it  

If it's still that cold there, it's probably temp related. (Which may turn out to be a good thing. Keeping tomatoes in somewhat colder conditions during pre-flowering phases is called "the cold treatment" usually results in much more flowers (and hence tomato fruit) later on down the line. But for you to gain the 'fruits' of this treatment, P-K-Mg and lighting need to be within a decent range...

Comment by Keith Barkwood on July 2, 2013 at 4:28pm
How would one add phosphorus?
Comment by Keith Barkwood on July 2, 2013 at 4:24pm
Thanks fellows.
Vlad my Goldies aren't typical. The smallest is about 4 inches long. I have been thinking of adding two more though.
I'm trying the temp change you recommended, it shouldn't be a big deal with our cool AK weather. I'm turning off the heat and opening the window during the day and heating again at night. I would reverse it but I don't want the fish to get very cold at night. We can see 40's still. I'll let you know how it goes.
Comment by Vlad Jovanovic on July 2, 2013 at 8:51am

Hey there Keith! Yeah, welcome back ashore and back to the forum...

Man, you're really workin' those 5 goldfish huh? Bell peppers, strawberries, cucumber, 3 tomatoes...sheesh!

There are a couple of reasons toms won't flower. The big ones being:

1) Lack of phosphorous.

2) Not enough of a temperature difference between the daytime 'high' and the night time 'low'

That difference in temperature is their big trigger mechanism that lets them know it's time to kick it into reproductive gear. (None of that "short day/long day" crap with toms...they aren't photoperiodic so they don't really care how long or short the days/nights are)...

You can generally expect (when all conditions are good) a seedling stage of 4-6 weeks, a vegetative stage of 2-3 weeks, and an early fruiting stage of your first flowers to first fruit... about 6-8 weeks...then they pretty much perpetually flower and fruit until it gets to cold, or you fuck something up...

Good luck buddy.

Comment by Alex Veidel on July 1, 2013 at 4:36pm

Keith! Welcome back! Haven't seen you around since the stank farm days :) I trust any displeasing odors have dissipated.

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