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PostPosted: Jul 11th, '11, 03:55 
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I don't have an existing pool. What I have a gently sloping, south-facing hillside that looks like it would be perfect for a wilipini greenhouse. Since it would need a retaining wall anyway, I am thinking of having a pool builder dig the hole and gunite the walls for me.

I have looked at the gardenpool.org project. I understand he should be doing some things better like having more pond volume and deeper grow beds. I would like to know what people here think of his cultivation of algae and the use of chicken poop falling into the fish pond.

If one were not constrained by the design of an existing pool, would this be a good concept to scale up a little? I am envisioning a rectangular space maybe 20 x 40 with a flat floor, where the entire floor is a pond, and then a "raised floor" would be built over it where you would walk. The grow beds then could simply drain straight down into the pond below. And it would be easy to add things like hanging pots or strawberry towers with minimal plumbing because they would just drip straight down.

The system would have a large water volume per fish - that's a good thing right, as long as I don't let the fish overpopulate? I am thinking that the pond space could be partitioned into a "zig zag" layout so that the water would circulate a long distance to go all the way around. I.e. I would maximize water turnover and aeration.

The neat thing about combining the wilipini concept with AP in such a design, is that we have a very large heat reservoir because of all the water, and also a very effective transfer of heat to/from the grow space because of the huge surface area of the grow bed media. I just want to understand if I'm on the right path here, any input would be much appreciated.


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PostPosted: Jul 11th, '11, 04:24 
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Correction: walipini


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PostPosted: Jul 11th, '11, 04:42 
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Hi Sean: learned a new word from you today! I would love to have a pond under the greenhouse floor. You could maybe put together a rectangular pond then put an inexpensive Harbor Freight greenhouse on top.

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PostPosted: Jul 11th, '11, 06:30 
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Dave Donley wrote:
You could maybe put together a rectangular pond then put an inexpensive Harbor Freight greenhouse on top.


Actually what I'm proposing is to sink the whole thing in the ground like this: http://www.bensoninstitute.org/Publicat ... lipini.pdf

The pond might be 2 feet deep but the walls of the structure might extend 6-8 feet below grade. I'll come back with a drawing...


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PostPosted: Jul 11th, '11, 07:13 
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PostPosted: Jul 29th, '11, 09:57 
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Very nice. Do it! :headbang:

Some things to possibly consider:

You might need some extra pumps or power heads to keep the water circulating around such a big circuit, if you don't have any elevation change in the pond.

It seems you could easily have problems with things falling into the water, if your walkway is open, or conversely a problem seeing and catching the fish, if the walkway is too closed. I would expect dying leaves from the plants would be particularly problematic. On the plus side, if the leaves or dead fish plug anything, you won't lose any water!

You'll need to be very careful to divert any external water away from the whole structure. If it were to flood from outside, you could have a real problem with contamination.

It would be awesome to do this, and the amount of stuff the community would learn from you (provided you were OK with sharing your successes and failures :D ) could be huge.

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PostPosted: Jul 29th, '11, 12:27 
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Thanks Karen. I haven't even moved to this property yet but as soon as I get there I will start working on a google sketchup and at that point I will need some more in-depth sanity checking of the design.

Yes there will be a good sized pump. Not because of the length of the circuit (the paths are wide so it will flow without a problem) but just because I want to turn over a lot of water. Probably I will use a small pool pump both to circulate the river and to push water up to the grow beds (with ball valves to direct the volume). I am also thinking I might split the river up into separately regulated troughs of water, so that for example I can have faster flow for the fish and slower flow for growing duckweed. Haven't thought it all through yet but there are lots of ways to do it.

I did not think about plant matter falling in the ponds - that's a good thought. I guess the big stuff would have to be scooped out and the smaller stuff should decay or get eaten? Maybe I need a skimmer on the suction end, if nothing else to keep some out of the pump.

Yes I am thinking about sealing issues. I know my water table is very deep so there won't be external water pushing hard into the structure. But I know I will need a seal on the inside to protect the water chemistry from the concrete. I am planning to use some kind of epoxy coating for that since I think that would be the most chemically inert.


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PostPosted: Jul 29th, '11, 22:03 
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Looks like a great idea....

I would like you to consider 2 things..... Get the Growbeds upto the height of the windows as more growing time then if down a hole.....and

I think you could incorporate a solids remover or 2 into the design.....as when going around corners you could put a slightly deeper hole for the solids that are getting slowly pushed along, they fill fall intothis hole then everynow and then you could get a portable or fitted Sump pump and suck out all the solids...... JUST like gold falling to the bottom of the logs or rocks in the river the solids will do the same

JUST A THOUGHT or 2 anyway

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PostPosted: Jul 29th, '11, 23:23 
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I wouldn't use gardenpool.org as an example to go by. Whenever I look at the water in that system there is a yuck factor.

Things to consider; warm blooded animal dropping such as chickens can introduce human communicable diseases and algae uses up oxygen in the water.

Other than that pool/pond is fine. If it is a decorative pond then I recommend using constant flood with the grow beds so that the water level does not fluctuate and you don't need a sump.

No matter how much fish tank/pond water volume you have, stock to the filtration capacity of your grow beds.

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PostPosted: Jul 30th, '11, 08:05 
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Yeah personally I don;t know that I'd want to eat fish swimming around in chicken poo... Maybe ok if your not eating the fish, but a bit yuck.

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PostPosted: Jul 3rd, '13, 04:00 
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I have been wondering about the feasibility of this style system. Can you update us on whether or not it ever happened?


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