Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Midsummer Gardens


Leslie said...

Have you explained your strawberry structures in another post?

Susan said...

Hi Leslie, "I guess I have not really explained it recently, but if yo click on the "aquaponics" label you will see the evolution of this project.

The Strawberies are growing in towers with no soil, just a plastic mesh material that provides a surface for the roots to hold in place and the microbes to attach. Water frometh fish pond is pumped through a drip irrigation system that provides a constant trickle of water containing fish waste nutrients that feeds the plants. In turn, the plants help clean the water for the fish. the microbes do the work of transforming the ammonia in the pond water to nitrogen nitrate for the plants. We also are growing lettuce, nasturtiums. pansies and basil i n the towers, and have grown marigolds and other greens. IN addition, some of the water is pumped to eth greenhouse into gutters where we are growing more aquaponic strawberries. They are everbearing, so my dream is to be able to have a few homegrown strawberries all winter.
The fish are koi, goldfish, channel catfish and bluegills. Last year ee grew tilapia, but they cannot survive water below 48 degrees so we had to harvest them in the fall - so delicious. We do not heat the water but enclose the fish gazebo structure we built over the pond with dual wall polycarbonate so it is like a little greenhouse. Then we put in a stock tank heater to ensure an opening for air exchange if the water does freeze.
This is just a demonstration project/experiment - not really cost effective at this scale for commercial growing, but I do harvest edible flowers and greens from it for my CSA.

Leslie said...

Thank you! Sounds like quite a system.