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Time to Start Outdoor System March/April 2015

Its the end of March, the weather is starting to warm up (40F instead of 20F) and its time to get the greenhouse back up and running.

This year I am going to add DWC bins to the system to grow my green leafy vegetables. In order to do this I have to cover the sump tank with a floor and build a table on it where the DWC will sit. There are 3 bins with 8 cut outs each to support 3" net pots. I am starting everything from seed. I am using rock wool as the medium to grow the plants in. The seedlings are 8 days old and doing well .

I cleaned out the grow beds of plant debris last year when I closed the greenhouse. I noticed there was some debris that I missed so I went through the growbeds again with a rake. I also noticed that the Hydroton Clay balls, towards the bottom of the grow beds, must have had moisture in them and froze over winter and then broke up into small pieces. Luckly, it was not allot of it.

I added 100 gallons of rain water and started circulating the water from the sump to the grow beds side of the system. I am not bringing my fish outside till the system is cycled.I checked for leaks and fixed what I needed to.  I made a crude filter to collect some of the large particles/debris that would come out of the grow beds. 

After a few days of circulation, the water is clear. I did a water test with my API Kit and found that the Ph was reading 6.0 although I believe it is much lower than that. Ammonia 8 ppm Nitrite 0 ppm Nitrate 80 ppm. The next step is to raise the Ph and the temperature so that  the grow bed environment will be favorable to the Nitrifying bacteria. No need to add Ammonia since there is already plenty there. I am adding Potasium Bi Carbonate and Calcium Carbonate to raise the Ph and to buffer the system. I also raised the temperature of the water to 75F. Once the Ammonia levels go down, I am going to put my fish back outside in the 300 Gallon Fish tank.I had a problem last year seeing the fish in the tank so I put a piece of white plastic down on the bottom of the fish tank. I am waiting for more rain so that I can fill up the rest of the system with rain water. It is supposed to rain all night on Friday 4-3-15 into Saturday and then again on Easter Sunday. I need about 400 gallons total. I have to finish the plumbing on the DWC and Fish tank side of the system. Hopefully,  I will have the time next week so I can finish up. My real Job always seems to get in the way of the important things of life.

Thanks for your interest. Your Comments/Questions/ Assistance is always appriciated!

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