aquaponics / chickens / veggie garden

This surely is NOT autumn

…the heat is still on (and even Georgie is concerned)!

It’s hard not to notice how warm it is, and also how little it has rained. In the last two to three weeks we did have one downpour that saw the level in our 4 x 1000 litre tanks rise to the 600 litre level across the board. We have now pretty much used all of that on the soil garden and our newly planted small plot of ferns. Ferns were my idea, and sadly if this heat and lack of water keeps up, ferns could have been a bad decision.

Yesterday Chris took a stack of pictures in and around the garden—featured in the gallery to the right… The aquaponics system is still not complete—Chris has one more ‘rail’ to put in and some time in the not-so-distant-future we want to experiment with towers. We also have to erect a shade house over the whole installation and tend to the ground in and around the beds and rails. The chickens have had free rein in this area and they have made an unholy mess. I guess it is a small mercy we have had little rain—this area would otherwise resemble the Somme.

Of the plants we have, tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach and chard, celery, basil and lettuce do the best in the grow beds. We have pulled the capsicums and the beans (see pic below of the very small root mass of the beans). While they both looked like they were thriving, their vigour was short-lived. In the NFT system, we have had success with lettuces, bok choy and strawberries. The peas we have planted are very yellow and withered. Again, it is about balance, and while it would be nice to be able to plant everything into the system and have it flourish, there are limits, and so we learn and adapt.

stunted_beans

What we have found is that the levels have stabilised in the system as a whole. We are pretty much pH neutral and the barramundi have stopped dying (thank goodness). In fact, a week or so ago we saw one of the barras with a smaller one firmly lodged in its mouth! They are an aggressive species but we did not expect to see that. I think we only have 10–15 left in that tank. We have upped their feeding now and are supplementing it with minced mullet and minced prawns (aka bait)… This is a tad on the expensive side, and we are still to work on a good affordable solution. The Jades, dare I mention, are as happy as Larry!

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