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greens

Well, the farm is going to be growing (haha) quite a bit. I approached the church behind our house about using some of their empty flower beds and empty lot to grow vegetables in. The beds have been grassed over for years, the empty lot is just that, empty. This morning, they had a vote and decided to allow us to till and plant the flower beds to show them what we can do. The Round Rock Funny Farm is adding 400+sqft to it’s growing space! I’ve got to get it tilled, fed and mulched pretty quickly so it will be ready for a fall garden. The idea behind the potential use of the larger lot (4400+sqft!) would be to plant native plants and flowers as well as have a vegetable garden and donate 25% of the produce to the church members or a food bank of their choice.
Here’s a snapshot of the plan I’ve laid out for the initial fall garden. (I’ll tell everyone more about  the “Tenth Acre Farms” part another time)

I’ve also put together the layout for most of our backyard. It’s crazy just how much we have going on back here. The front yard is growing a lot of tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, corn, squash and eggplants. Eventually, we’ll also have artichokes, olive trees and more fruit trees.

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.

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.

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Daily Farm Pic 08.18.09 am
Daily Farm Pic 08.18.09 pm
Honey Bee on an Eggplant leaf.

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Our pumpkin plants have little flowers that are beginning to open. Last year, we started our pumpkins too late. The first frost of the year wiped them out before we had any pumpkins. We’re a few months ahead of the game this year. Maybe next year we’ll try to grow a giant pumpkin variety like this one.
Daily Farm Pic 08.14.09 am
Daily Farm Pic 08.14.09 pm
Pumpkin Plants
Our now 6ft tall Okra.

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The skies teased us a bit today. Some nice, dark clouds rolled in overhead and we only got a few drops of rain.
Daily Farm Pic 08.09.09 am
Daily Farm Pic 08.09.09 pm

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The tomatoes have perked up a good bit. The short ‘cool’ break we had combined with a little bit of rain gave everything a kickstart. If the weather keeps it up, I’m sure our fall gardens will be great this year too.