Our aquaponics system has been up and running for about 2 months now and things are going good, and not so good.
The fish are going really well and the new ones arrived with no problems and are settling in well and seem to be growing. We have placed them into a smaller drum so as to not loose them in the big system. We lost a couple after they went up the outlet pipes and came out onto the garden beds, but that problem has been rectified and they are going well.
Below is a picture of one of our tomato plants that is going well. It has one tomato on it and it is growing but the plant doesn’t seem to have grown too much in the last month. It seems to be putting all of its energy into the growth of the fruit.
The capsicum plants have capsicums on them but the plants are struggling at the moment. We have had a couple of 40 degrees celcius days here and it has been very windy. They seem to be dropping their bottom leaves but the actual fruit is still growing.
We have been told that the system takes about 4 months to really get up and running. The fish have to get bigger so their manure out put is bigger and this will help the vegetables grow better.
Our strawberry plants are struggling also, a lot of the green growth has died off but there are still green shoots so we are hoping that they continue to struggle on and then start growing some more.
We planted a heap of cucumbers but all but one of them has died. This is somewhat disappointing but we have to remind ourselves that it is early days yet and the system is still getting going.
We have some yabbies in the tanks as well and we enjoyed a feed of them at Christmas time. Our neighbour generously let us catch yabbies from his dam to put in our system. We still have quite a few yabbies in the tanks and they are growing well.
My husband just found some with eggs, so they are breeding and this is exciting. He has moved the yabbies with eggs to a separate container so we can keep an eye on how it goes.
We also found a local eel farmer and he gave us some eels to put in as well. We have one left and also enjoyed a meal of smoked eel over New Years. My husband smoked them for 10 hours in his hot smoker.
When we plant vegetable seedlings in the system we need to wash any dirt off the roots and then plant them. We can’t have dirt going through the system.
We hope to go to our local nursery and get some more overgrown vegetables that they can’t sell. These seem to do well in the system because they are bigger and have a few more reserves.
We will cover the area and turn it into a hot house in a month or so when the summer heat is over and Autumn kicks in.
Stay tuned for the next update where I will hopefully be able to show you how everything is starting to grow better.
I started this Vegetable Planting Update a few weeks ago before Christmas and I got caught up with other stuff and didn’t finish it so I thought I would just post it and then do another one in a week or so and show you how much everything has grown.
I think I should change the title of these posts now to “Vegetable Growing” instead of “Planting” but I think you get my drift.
The vegetable garden out the front is growing daily, it is so exciting to go out there and see the changes. We are now busy just trying to maintain all the weeds and making sure everything has enough water.
It has been rather cool this week but there are warms days coming by the end of the week and next week and although I don’t like the heat, we need it to to make our vegetables grow.
We have a great water supply here with a bore which is drinking quality and very abundant, it is such a blessing. Water is so important.
The children and I finished strawing the tomatoes and the first ones we put in are flowering. The potatoes are going great and the photo below shows my husband using the tractor to bring dirt from the trench up onto the sides of the potato beds, using a bed former which is like a double sided mulbourd plough. He actually did this with all the beds as well.
Below are the potato beds after they have had the dirt from the trench brought up.
Here are the zucchini plants, they are coming away nicely. I can’t wait to have fresh zucchinis, I really miss them during the winter. This year I am going to grate the excess and can them for soups, stews and cakes.
Below is the second lot of tomatoes we put in and they are looking really healthy. Yum fresh home grown tomatoes are the best.
The next update will follow soon – after I have done some weeding (lol).
Well it’s finally happening, the aquaponics system is up and running. My husband and father-in-law have been working hard this week, to get it ready as the fish will be here by the end of next week.
We already have a few fish in the tank and we have started planting a few vegetables and strawberries to see how everything goes.
Now is the trouble shooting stage, waiting to see what goes wrong so it can be fixed before we really get going with it.
We have had a few problems, like the stainless steel vat we had for fish had cracks in it. We had to replace it with a plastic pod.
We had a couple of these vats but now only have the one left, with some fish in it, and the pods below (covered with builders wall insulation paper) is for the fish coming next week.
Here is the layout of the system. The tanks on the right are for the fish with the grow beds on the left. The lower pod on the left is the sump tank that catches all the water that is cycling through the beds. That is where the pump is situated and the pump then pumps the water back into the fish tanks. This water has then been filtered through the gravel as well as the roots of the plants and is getting returned back to the fish tanks with the manures taken out. The fish tanks also have bubblers in them to oxygenate the water.
Here is the grow bed where we placed 3 mature tomato plants, 4 capsicums and 1 eggplant.
Here is the strawberry bed. You can see in the photo that the grow beds are filled with 25 mm screened scoria sourced from our local quarry. The area in which we live is very volcanic and the local mountains are extinct volcanoes and are surrounded by massive lava flows and the local quarry is on the side of these extinct volcanoes.
You can also see in the photo the pipe running across the top of the bed. In this pipe is a tap which allows you to vary the flow of water into the bed. This water comes from the base of the fish tank where the waste from the fish collects, this waste then feeds the plant roots.
At the end of this area against the wall we will eventually have strawberry beds built. Not sure yet whether they will be vertical or horizontal or a bit of both.
In the photo you can just see the frames that hoop over the top of the area. As summer ends we will put hot house plastic film over these hoops and turn the area into a hot house.
If you are interested in aquaponics just go to you tube to find out heaps more information.
I am looking forward to sharing more of this with you as it gets bigger and better.
The writer of this post (me) would like to thank her husband for his technical contribution.
The vegetables are growing really well and I must admit to being very excited about it, both my husband and myself like just going out and watching it all.
Here are a few photos to update you on the progress, but here is a reminder of what it looked like before.
This is what it looks like now…
The first row is the first lot of tomatoes that we planted, they have been mulched (as stated in update 3) and have a length of mesh next to them to support them. Some of these tomatoes even have flowers on them.
Next to the tomatoes are 3 rows of potatoes, the first row has been mulched down the middle with hay to prevent weeds growing up and to keep moisture in.
My husband is then going to go down each row of potatoes with a double sided mulboard plow which will turn the soil from the middle of the drain between the rows and put it up against the potato seedlings. This plow is a tractor mounted implement.
We haven’t mulched the others yet, but will probably do so in the next week. We are amazed at how the potatoes are growing, we haven’t grown them like this before. We have grown them in tyres in the past like this.
Here are the zucchinis that were planted last week, we also planted the same amount of cucumbers.
The corn is going great guns as well and there are heaps of pumpkins coming up amongst them too.
Here are the men staking up the tomatoes. We planted another 3 rows of tomatoes and we have had some losses, maybe 20 or so but we are going to replant them over the weekend.
The weather has been great for growing vegetables, we have had rain and then some clear sunny days – just perfect.
I don’t think we will have our own tomatoes by Christmas, but that’s ok, if everything keeps growing like it is it won’t be too much longer.
God is really blessing our vegetables and us, thank you Lord.
This is a quick easy dish, one that I make in my electric pressure cooker.
250 grams bacon
1 small sweet potato
1/2 head cauliflower
1 can of champignons
2 cups risotto rice
1 tblsp chicken stock
6 cups hot water
Brown bacon and vegetables in the pressure cooker until soft.
Add rice, chicken stock, salt and hot water and mix together.
Place lid on and cook on high pressure for 15 mins. When done, release pressure and stir to combine. When you open the pressure cooker there will be a bit of liquid on top, just stir the risotto and this will blend in.
Serve while hot and ENJOY!!
PS: you can really use any fresh vegetables you have and any meat. Chicken thighs would be a nice change as well.
It is so exciting to see our vegetables growing (it’s the small things that make us happy).
The children and I went out this morning and mulched some of the tomatoes with hay and I took some more photos whilst I was out there. We have three more rows to mulch and will finish them on the weekend.
Here are the potatoes, there are five rows of them and they are all coming up now, reds and whites.
Mrs Abella of Sunny Patch Cottage and my daughter at Clay Clan Cultivates told me about the planting system called the 3 sisters. It’s a corn, bean and squash/pumpkin mix, the beans climb the corn, the vines grow at the bottom and the corn goes up. All 3 require plenty of water so they all get watered at once. When the corn is done the beans use it as a natural pole to climb up and the corn provides a place marker to find the middle of the vines trailing out from the bottom.
Here is a picture (above) of the corn in rows and the ones below show the pumpkins coming up amongst the corn. I think the corn has grown at least an inch in the last week. We have had some rain this past week and now it is warming up – just great growing weather.
My husband is going to plant another patch of corn, using the full system mentioned to me by Mrs Abella and my daughter. He is going to plant corn, beans and pumpkins. I will keep you updated on how this goes.
That’s all for now but more to come next week.
Once again, what’s happening in your vegetable patch in your neck of the woods??
Our vegetables are growing and it is so exciting to see them poking their heads out of the soil. The weather is warming up and my husband has been busy trying to get some base moisture in the vegetable patch.
These are the first tomatoes that we planted in late October. They have done really well and are quite sturdy now. They really benefited from the early warm days that we had.
The potatoes are coming up and are just about ready for their first weeding. My husband is going to use a rotary hoe to go down in between them, quite shallow, to loosen off the weeds.
We’ve now planted another 240 tomatoes so that makes 300 (about) all up. These tomatoes are planted in raised beds using the machine in the picture below. We have had this seedling planter for years now and used it originally to plant broccoli which was sold overseas.
Hopefully we will get enough tomatoes to bottle, eat fresh (yum) and sell. Maybe we could pay for a holiday – who knows!!!
My husband planted a heap of corn and that is what is green in the picture above. It is coming up in the rows really well, it is great to eat fresh buttered corn straight from the paddock.
A view across the patch, it does look a bit bare now but hopefully in a month I will be able to show you the same view with heaps of green growth.
Our beautiful plum tree in the front yard, it is absolutely loaded.
Well I hope that has given you a bit of an idea of what is happening on the vegetable side of things here at Darling Downs.
We are only 2 weeks off receiving our first lot of 100 Silver Perch fish for our aquaponic system, so Graeme is busily trying to get that organised now. Unfortunately it is the busy season for his work with balers and headers and other machinery breaking down and needing him straight away, so he is going to try and take a day off to get into it and get it finished.
Well that’s our update for now, may your life be full of Gods goodness where ever you are.
Since we have just completed driving a 2080 km round trip to Canberra and back I thought I would write some very handy tips that help when travelling long distances.
THINGS TO DO:
Take and drink plenty of water;
Stop every couple of hours and walk around – necessary for keeping the circulation going in your body – also necessary for toilet stops (because of all the water you are drinking);
Take plenty of healthy snacks: vegetable sticks and dip, fruit, nuts and dried fruit;
Be prepared, cut your fruit and vegetables up and have it in handy containers or zip lock bags;
Take wipes, or damp face washers to wipe sticky fingers;
THINGS NOT TO DO:
Eat heaps of carbohydrates and greasy junk food, especially white bread and hot chips;
Eat heaps of sweet lollies;
Just drink soft drinks and sweet beverages;
These are a few hints to just give you an idea. Basically to save money and have healthier choices take your own snacks. It seems to me the minute you get in the car you want to chew on something, my husband finds chewing keeps him awake whilst driving. I find I eat too many carbs and it makes my ankles and feet swell and this is just plain annoying.
Now because I didn’t follow any of my own advice and keep to the above tips I am now going to have to do a detox to get my system back to normal.
A detox could include doing the following:
Maybe do a juice fast, just a day or so;
Cut out dairy and sugar;
Stop eating potatoes and white bread – maybe get some sprouted grain bread to eat for a few days;
Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
I am not a doctor or health professional, the above tips are things that I find works for me. If you want to try a juice fast or something more severe please check out with your doctor first.
I hope next time you are travelling that it goes well and you arrive safe and sane!!