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PostPosted: Mar 9th, '18, 05:37 
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Ok sounds like you have some decent maples. We only have Manitoba maple around here.


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PostPosted: Mar 9th, '18, 19:03 
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Manitoba Maples in Saskatchewan! Oh no!

So down here we call Manitoba Maples by another name... Boxelder which I have some of those too and did not realize it was a maple until I started looking in to maple syrup trees... I did find websites that claimed you can tap Boxelder maples for sap so you could probably still get some!


https://wildfoodism.com/2014/02/04/22-t ... and-syrup/

Boxelder (Acer negundo)
Also known as Manitoba maple, boxelders can be found growing in urban areas and along roadsides. They’re not recommended as a first choice for sugar production, although maple producers in the Canadian prairies rely almost exclusively on boxelders for their sap. Research suggests that boxelders may yield only half the syrup of typical sugar maples.

I've also read you can tap birch, black walnut, sycamores, palm trees... there are a lot of different trees you can use to make syrup (although I read one that said keep them separate don't mix them because each will have it's own unique flavor).

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PostPosted: Mar 9th, '18, 21:17 
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Yup we use both names around here. The town south of me is called maple creek because of the Manitoba maples growing on the banks. Then there is a Hutterite colony not to far away along another creek and that colony is called Box Elder Colony. Dad once taped some but they just don't produce enough to make it worth it.


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PostPosted: Mar 9th, '18, 22:13 
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I'm not planning on producing on a scale that I can sell any syrup, but it will be nice to have home made to share with a few people and eat ourselves so even on a small scale it should be good.

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PostPosted: Mar 20th, '18, 07:10 
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I'm back at it again... trying to figure out how to spend more money... I've been trying to think of a way that I can incorporate more fish tanks in to my system so I can increase the number of fish I am keeping and eventually expand to an outside AP system in the summer. I cannot seem to come up with a solution that I like. Originally I was thinking a long tunnel out near the garden that would just have one long channel of fish tank, but I don't really like the way it looks when I sketch it up. Next thought is instead of a long channel maybe do a wide channel that would be attached to the greenhouse. I am thinking this next tunnel will probably be made out of cattle panels for the structure. I've seen single cattle panel hoops which are about 6 ft tall and about 9-10ft wide which was my original thought that I don't really like. I've seen other cattle panel tunnels that use two cattle panels so they are basically 20ft wide and 10ft tall. I think this works out decently and I could line the south side up with the edge of the greenhouse and just have it overlap at the back of the greenhouse the extra 4ft or so, which could then be used as a door, or I thought I could cut through the second door that I framed in on the greenhouse would just have to rework the fish tank plumbing a bit and take one of the IBC's and wood platform it sits on out of the greenhouse to make a walkway through the greenhouse in to the cattle panel hoop house.

With the 20ft width I then can fit either 3 rows of IBC totes or 3 wooden framed fish tanks in that area. I am debating about temperatures. My current hoop house gets down to ambient temp at night so the fish tanks would freeze at night, I'm not sure if they would thaw back out in the day or not seems how on sunny days the hoop house still gets really warm in the winter. Having all of that water in the hoop house might help stabilize the temps a bit though too... and being able to open the door to the greenhouse I could either get heat from the greenhouse as needed, or add to heat in the greenhouse if it's really hot in the hoop house during the day.

I was thinking 8 cattle panels would give me a 20ft x 16ft add on, so leaving room in the middle on both sides for doors I could probably fit 10 or 11 IBC totes... I like the idea of having 10 fish tanks so I can keep species separate to make it easier to monitor if they are eating (right now it's tough to tell if the catfish are eating because the bluegills go crazy eating I don't know if food gets to the catfish. At the same time I think it would be simpler to have two 15ft x 4 ft tank and one 8ft x 4 ft tank (or maybe it would be a central sump between the tanks). Less plumbing, less tanks to feed, but also less room for different age/types of fish. But I like the looks of the wood beds better than the IBC tanks as well (and they are probably cheaper to acquire too... food grade IBC's are $80 a piece around here so that would be $800 just in tanks... I think I could build this entire add on for less than that including wood tanks so thinking thats probably the way to go).

I really want more room for fish. My wife isn't thrilled about it, but I'll get her on board once I figure out what I want to do.

wood beds idea
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IBC tank idea
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PostPosted: Mar 20th, '18, 20:16 
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I bought 30 meat chickens and 12 combination of pullets and straight run chicks on Saturday. I decided to put them in the greenhouse since it is a little warmer than the chicken coop for them plus running the heat lamp in there will be beneficial to help warm it up more for the plants. It kind of stinks but I'll just have to change chips every couple of days... I didn't want to put them in the coop because I have to cover the tank to keep the big girls out when I put them in the coop so they will be raised in the greenhouse then when they are feathered I'll move them to my pig pen that I'm preparing for them... added hoops over it to put a tarp roof on to protect from hawks, added chicken wire to the cattle panels to keep critters from getting in to get them. tossed grass seed to try and get it to grow before I moved them in there otherwise I'll have to toss a lot of straw and wood chips so it's not so muddy.

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Got a handful of cherry toms out of the greenhouse last night... toms are ripe before the first day of spring (today)!

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PostPosted: Mar 20th, '18, 21:34 
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It's always fun to read what you're up to Rob. Fascinating about the Boxelder trees giving syrup. Nell's son Jona has Boxelders on their land on the Pecos River. They removed a few last year and wow the stumps are still oozing sap. Thanks for the heads up, I'll pass it along and see if they want to try and tap some of the remaining trees.
I can't wait to see what you come up with on the new fish house. I had to look up "cattle panel hoop house" as I couldn't visualize that.
Thanks for sharing.

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PostPosted: Mar 20th, '18, 22:38 
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Rob, You are really inspiring. I like both ideas for your fish tanks. I like the ibc tank idea better in the case of possible disease with the fish. I have had many fish tanks and it seems if there were something going on with the fish you could isolate the sick ones, or even prevent contaminated water from entering the whole system. Both Ideas look really good though. You could always figure a way to heat that part of the hoop house via rocket stove or passive solar. There are so many possibilities though. I cant wait to see how well your beds do this year.


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PostPosted: Mar 21st, '18, 08:23 
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Maybe a compromise and use half ibcs and half wood tanks. I think my catfish need more room by the time they are full grown they will be really crowded in an ibc. If I could do a big tank for catfish/trout then smaller beds for perch, blue gills, smaller catfish or trout, tilapia if I keep raising them... Etc. Just move the bigger fish to the bigger wooden tank as they get bigger.

I was thinking about possibly having room for a double barrel wood stove if I do decide to build a fish addition. It would be nice being able to open the greenhouse to the fish hoophouse to help mediate temperatures.

Here are a couple pics of one bed that has new tomato plants growing in it. They are just getting roots established I think because I noticed they gained about six inches in height the past week soon will reach my strings to start tying them up. That Swiss chard I that bed is over a year old. I harvest it regularly and just leave three or four leaves so it keeps growing.


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PostPosted: Mar 29th, '18, 00:30 
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If looking at wood FT with liners. 4x6 spaced 4' o.c. is not enough vertical support unless you ran a 2x4(6) on edge to help reduce bowing. My 1300 diy koi tank is holding, but have approx 25" above grade causes a bit of an outward bow.

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PostPosted: Mar 29th, '18, 17:51 
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Adam if I build a wood tank this is the design I will use shown on this page... modified to fit the size I want https://backyardtilapia.com/Backyard_Ti ... arming.php

They are using 2x6's to reinforce plywood so shouldn't be any bowing in this design...

Either that or JT had a design that built a 2x4 stud wall that was lined with plywood on both sides and could insulate in the stud wall but his original design bowed as well I would have to look back at what his modified design was for how he overcame the bowing.

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PostPosted: Apr 21st, '18, 10:04 
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I have caught up on your adventure and look forwards to seeing future projects. I have learned a lot from your thread and thank you for your dedication to posting your journey on here. I has gotten me through many long days at work and I am looking forwards t building my own year round green house on day.


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PostPosted: Apr 21st, '18, 20:32 
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Hey Rob thanks for that link to the Backyard Tilapia farm tank build.

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Specs: 2600 gallon (347.56cf) Masonry fish pond. 44cf GBs. 200 gal (26.7cf) ST. 15 gal (2cf) RFF. 50 gal (6.7cf) biofilter. Brook trout and Comets.


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PostPosted: Apr 29th, '18, 06:35 
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Spring is slowly picking up pace here although tonight will be below freezing and tomorrow will be close to freezing overnight. I planted one bed of tomatoes in the garden with a low tunnel over them and bought some terracotta pots and candles to burn under the Terra Cotta pot for supplemental heat the next couple of nights. Fingers crossed it will be enough.

The greenhouse cherry tomatoes are going wild. I've been picking some every few nights but this is my largest harvest so far. Some fresh jalapenos too, made some fresh salsa.
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I sold my tilapia breed stock today. Six females and one male for $70, I was going to eat them but posted them on Facebook and someone drove 2.5 hours one way to come buy them so he wouldn't have to wait as long to start hatching his own. I have probably close to 1000 fry to sort through for the ones I will raise this year then I'll sell the rest. I want to start shutting down tanks so decided it was time for the breeders to go.

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PostPosted: Apr 29th, '18, 08:55 
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I graded two batches of fry to take out the smallest fry and put them in another tank then I combined what was left of the other two tanks together into my 75 gal tank. I counted 424 fry that I moved into that tank and I have two more tanks to grade one more time before I combine them in to the 40 gal. Shutting down my extra tanks so I will end up with two or three running instead of 8.

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