3 weeks in!!
It's hard to believe it, but three weeks have past since we got the "Great Aquaponics Experiment" off the ground. Things continue to go amazingly well. The fish continue to grow (and live, even!), and the plants are too. Most of them, at least. (More on that later.) We've harvested our first strawberry, and even began a bonsai project!
The water continued to remain cloudy, so I added another bag of carbon, attached in such a way that the water flowing from the bottom gutter into the tub had to flow through it. The water is finally clearing nicely. Water tests yesterday showed an ammonia level of 0.05, a trace of nitrite, and a nitrate level of 30 ppm. This was on water drawn straight from the tub. They're all within acceptable levels for this set up. I think sometime this week I want to take samples from the tub, and each of the gutters as it's flowing to see if there's a noticeable change in readings from each level. Sheer curiosity.
Here are the pics to document how things are going.
First, the full system:
And Butternut squash:
Not so happy cucumbers.
As I was looking through the rocks, I realized the buried beans that were rotting instead of sprouting were blocking water flow and creating dead spots in the rocks. I dug through there as much as I could, improving the water flow considerably. We'll see if any of these droopers come back. If they don't, I'm not too worried. These are the slicing cucumbers. Only 4 of the 15 plants are not doing well, and we have 2 other types of cucumbers in the system that are doing great.
But not all of the beans rotted, Some are sprouting quite nicely!
(Of course, every time I see a new bean sprout, my mind immediately responds "Beans! Beans? The special beans! I let him go, I didn't know he'd stolen my beans. I was watching him crawl back over the wall when bang, crash, the lightening flashed, and, well, that's another story, never mind, anyway..." Extra credit if you recognize the reference. ;-) )
The yellow cherry tomato plant is going absolutely bonkers! It's grown at least 8" since we put it in the system two weeks ago!!
But, wait! What's that in the back ground?? That's right - a ripe strawberry!!! The third one so far.
The other tomatoes seem to be happy, too.
Both the tomatoes and the zucchinis actually have buds on them.
The lettuces are doing well, considering the warmer weather we've had.
And the beet and carrot sprouts are beginning to be recognizable. (The carrots are the frilly ones.)
And the sprouts growing out of the screen are still happy and healthy, growing amazingly fast.
But hands down, the happiest plant has to be this mint. It's easily doubled in size!
We've had some surprise sprouts, too. Mainly some small tree seedlings. I've been pulling and discarding them, but decided to keep a few with the thought of possibly trying my hand at a Bonsai. If I find any more, anyone want them???
So that's where we sit today, Friday, June 5. Three weeks into the grand experiment. Pretty happy with it all so far. And, in all honesty, rather dumb-founded that it seems to be working so well, It just doesn't seem possible to successfully grow plants with just water and sunlight. And fish poop. Can't forget the fish poop. :-)
And just for fun, here are two pics of a nocturnal visitor to our front window last night. Just gorgeous.
Hope your summer is starting off as beautifully as it is here. Here's to another week of happy, healthy growth!! And not just for the plants. :-)