We love the Spring here on the Funny Farm. This mornings bounty consisted of eggs, strawberries, arugula, red lettuce, chard, snow peas, pak choy and a turnip! The arugula was harvested from the aquaponics system in the garage. It’s some of the spiciest I’ve tasted.
I think the Chard and Eggs will be breakfast tomorrow. Arugula will become pesto along with some local garlic and onions. We can’t stop eating the snow peas raw, so that’s easy to prepare. Turnip au gratin? And of course, strawberries and vanilla ice cream for a late night treat. Yumm.
The 1st grade field trip last week was out to Crowe’s Nest Farm. They run an educational, animal farm dedicated to conserving the knowledge of farming. We weren’t the only 1st grade class out there, hundreds of kids got to check out all the animals.
I’ve managed to post a few videos of our aquaponic ecosystem. Everything has settled down, the water is crystal clear and the plants are flourishing. Technical details will be coming soon with drawings and notes.
The high pressure sodium grow lights were turned off for the video. They produced bad scan lines on the video. The veggies are currently under a 430 watt High Pressure Sodium lamp. If you are playing around with flourescent or led grow lights, that’s all you are doing. The plants need a high power light source and flourescents can not produce the same lumens in the proper light spectrum for strong growth.
Soon the eco system will be out back with a small lean-to roof for shade. The delicate lettuces are no match for the Texas sun.
Keep checking back for more updates on our aquaponics system.
So far the aquaponics system has worked out nicely. Once we added the fish, the water clouded a bit and a good few of the fish died. We monitored the water temperature and ph only. Feeding the fish the proper amounts while waiting for the plants to begin to grow was a tough balance. Now that the Arugula, Buttercrunch Lettuce and a few Beets are growing, the water has cleared up perfectly.
Our aquaponics system has 3 stages of passive biofiltration. The video posted below shows the startup of the system without fish or plants. The water was a little cloudy due to residue left in the gravel, even after hours of rinsing. The overflow system change to a venturi overflow system which will be shown in the next video. I will also post sketches of the biofilters I made.
We’ve realized that is truly the way towards a sustainable food supply for our home. Once the system is moved, we will use Tilapia for fish in the system and the beds will be expanded to grow more veggies. Want to know how our chickens and vermicomposter tie into our aquaponics system too? Don’t be afraid to know where your food comes from.
Things are really taking off this Spring. The strawberries we are growing taste absolutely amazing. Juicier, sweeter and more tender than any store-bought berry ever. This season we have about 45 berry plants growing, I can already tell next year we’ll need room for double that.
The peach trees are doing equally as well. In about 2 weeks, we’ll need to trim back the peaches so only 1 per 6-8 inches are left. We don’t want the young tree to be stressed or crack under the weight.
The drip irrigation we had installed by my now employer, Lupton Irrigation has been perfect for irrigating our strawberry patch. It lets us keep the crowns and fruits dry while getting plenty of water to the roots. This prevents any rotting of our berries!
Wipe that drool off your chin. 🙂
We’ve had so much going on around the Funny Farm, it’s been to keep up. It’s spring time and things are blooming again. The weather is a wonderful 79 degrees today. Here’s a few pictures for everyone to enjoy. We can’t wait to eat some fresh, homegrown strawberries and peaches!
|Peaches are in the shuck stages.
|Broccoli we’ve let go to seed.
|STRAWBERRIES ARE GOING NUTS!