aquaponics / veggie garden

Three weeks’ growth and we have babies!

…OK, some people call them fruit…

Today is Day 21 from planting the grow beds, and what changes there have been! We have seen good growth with everything pretty much, but especially with the tomatoes, the capsicums and the beans. All of these now have flowers, and fruit has set on the tomatoes and the capsicums. It is early days, as I have seen fruit set before and then just drop off (some version of petulance I think) but we are hopeful.

The basil is shooting up, and everything we have literally ‘shoved’ into the beds is just getting on with it, including some spring onions, marigolds, chives, strawberry runners, snow peas and parsley. Those not doing so well are the Asian Greens and the broccoli, and as we have had such issues with the Asian Greens, especially with the aphid infestation, we have decided to jettison them.

The chickens think this is a good idea as they get any tit-bits from the grow beds that offend my eye! (BTW the aphid invasion was decisively hit on the head with the worm wee–vinegar concoction—I may market it as APHIDS-FROM-HELL-BE-GONE or some such catchy product name!)

As for the broccoli, the older outer leaves are fine, it’s just the new inner ones that are suffering. It could be potassium deficiency (or iron), it could be heat, it could be something else—bloody-mindedness? What I do know is that with the recent run of hot and humid days, with no relief from cloud cover or rain, has meant little relief for our grow beds. Things will change when we get the shade house constructed, which IS on the list, but behind a swathe of other things including a new subdivision to the aquaponics system—our experiment with NFT (Nutrient Film Technique).

NFT relies on water passing through channels, with plants nestled in little grow-buckets soaking up the water based nutrients as they come past. This system has no media in it (i.e. no clay pebbles), is more often used in hydroponic systems, and is most suited to leafy greens and herbs. As we speak, Chris is deconstructing the old (soil) herb patch-come-potting shed, and assembling all manner of tubes and pipes.

Years of playing with Meccano and Lego sets are now paying off!

PS…the DFS (Dead Fish Society) may be chalking up some new members…some of the Barra are not looking not so good. We think (think!) it may be to do with the pH regulator we put in the other day. We bought it from a mostly hydoponic supply place and did not think to check that it would be safe to use, although we were chatting liberally about the fish and our new system. The new bottle of pH Down contains phosphoric acid, while our original bottle (from the pet shop) was sulphuric acid based. We don’t know if this is an issue: I have searched relevant online chats etc, and nothing throws up a red light on phosphoric. I will keep you posted.

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