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 Post subject: Re: Grafs urban farming.
PostPosted: Jul 13th, '18, 10:47 
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Agree that looks very good.


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 Post subject: Re: Grafs urban farming.
PostPosted: Jul 15th, '18, 15:19 
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thanks all, yes I am very happy with the way things have been working out so far. Gave a foliar application of EDTA-Fe as I haven't brought any that will work in my pH range.

Measured water quality yesterday just prior to doing a 100L top up. Surprised to see nitrates at 0! Obvious the rampant growth has sucked them all up, will have to try force feed the fish I think! Ammonia and nitrites also 0 as one would hope.

Will be interesting to see what starts to happen to the plants now that nitrates are limited rather than in excess as has been the case since startup. Romanesco and white caulis are starting to head, hopefully the reduced nitrates will still be sufficient. With a bit of luck as the fish get bigger and more food goes in the nitrate levels will start to go into excess again. Definitely is a great learning curve seeing the fluctuations over time as things grow.

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 Post subject: Re: Grafs urban farming.
PostPosted: Jul 15th, '18, 19:16 
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You've created a beautiful aquaponics system there Graf. I thoroughly enjoyed reading as I caught up with your successful and well documented adventure. Thanks for sharing

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 Post subject: Re: Grafs urban farming.
PostPosted: Jul 18th, '18, 17:42 
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I am also enjoying your journey and haven't had any nitrates for over a month which is probably why my growth is slow but I have only got 15 trout. Been adding a few caps of seasol every week but still down and I've also added a teaspoon of iron chelate but now have darker water and still yellowing of some leaves but oh well.


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 Post subject: Re: Grafs urban farming.
PostPosted: Jul 18th, '18, 20:01 
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Thanks Liney.
Have you tried foliar spray? That's where you add the nutrients through the leaves. Most fertilizers say at what proportion to mix with water. The cool thing is if you are careful where the spray goes you can use stronger ferts which get absorbed through the leaves and not the water column so the fish aren't affected. Foliar sprays also help when the plants have a nutrient lock happening http://www.nosoilsolutions.com/nutrient-lockout/

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2017 season 100 Brook trout fingerlings. 5 Comets.
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 Post subject: Re: Grafs urban farming.
PostPosted: Jul 19th, '18, 08:17 
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echo Boss's comments re foliar application, thats how i'm getting iron into plants as my pH is remaining steady @ ~7.4 so the common Yates Iron chelate (Fe-EDTA) is readily bioavailable.

I'm now waiting for labybugs to arrive to control aphids deep in the new cauliflower growth areas, manual controls in place at the moment...squashing the buggers!

have also noticed the arrival of black aphids on the stonefruit trees I have in the ground, these will get an application of eco-oil if they get out of hand and the ladybugs haven't arrived.

It's also getting close to copper spray application time, getting on top of the peach leaf curl problem I've had over the past couple of years.

New issue to deal with however unfortunately :cry: The rear neighbours have demolished and are building a new house including a pool on our shared boundary. Part of the council approval conditions is that their land height in increased by ~400mm across the block, because of some bullsh*t flood risk (not in any identified flood prone zone). They are currently replacing the rear boundary fence with ~600mm concrete underfence plinth with 1800mm colorbond fencing above that, taking total rear boundary height to ~2100mm above our finished ground level. :upset: Will have approximately 8m shadow line from rear boundary at winter solstice. Aquaponics system will now be pretty much fully shaded in winter, chook run will be fully shaded from mid autum, through winter to mid spring and espaliered pears closest to boundary will also be impacted.

Will have to deal with it I guess. no recourse, as the pool safety requirements determines finished fence height on their side @ 1800mm. Will see how things go shade wise over the next couple of seasons and change things around if I need to.

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 Post subject: Re: Grafs urban farming.
PostPosted: Aug 2nd, '18, 09:03 
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So here we are in the second day of spring and the signs are showing. Flower buds are swelling on the Nectarine and one of the peach trees, new growth is starting to show on the citrus and the aquaponics system is going great.

Interesting that I'm still at Zero nitrates even though the fish are feeding and growing well. Talk about voracious feeders once the water warms slightly.

The beetroot are starting to develop nice bulbs, the caulis are heading, peas are flowering and producing lots and the broccoli just keep on giving.

Time to start sprouting seeds for the next rotation spring/early summer rotation. Will need to see where i'll have room, as the photos show the beds are pretty full.

The new fence went up on the back boundary, will see what its like in the dead of winter next year. At least its a light color rather than a gunmetal grey that was first proposed.
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 Post subject: Re: Grafs urban farming.
PostPosted: Aug 9th, '18, 11:37 
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Work is still ongoing, have harvested the 1st few heads of cauli, the curd was pretty loose but still tasted great, we've had the osscasional warmish day ~20C which brings the water temp up to 12-13C. The trout feed significantly heavier when the water warms up even a couple of degrees.

Already planning for the spring plantings, have seeds starting in the poly house for both the aquaponics and soil beds. Planning on Leeks, carrots, onions, spring onions, shallots, Capsicums, Eggplants, beetroot, Kale, Basil, Tomatoes, cabbage, coriander, cucumbers, fennel, peas/beans, wombok, coriander, chives, other herbs, strawberries, rockmelon, watermelon, pumpkin. Will need to decide what I put in to the soil beds and what to trial in the aquaponics system

I've finally managed to finish of the wicking beds, they are settling for a week to naturally compact the fill before I top them up and start planting. Filled with a 50/50 mix of organic loam and compost. Plan on putting a reinforcing mesh arch over the 2 furthermost beds to grow cucumbers/beans on the western face and tomatoes on the eastern face, will give some nice growing space and dappled shade on the beds, protecting from the harshness of the summer sun.

Each bed is 1800x900mm internal with a water void in the bottom of 8 milk crates arranged 2x4, wrapped in geotextile. Overflow is via a bulkhead through the side and liner into the water void, soil depth over the crates ~400mm.

Worked out all up to cost about $160 per bed including materials and fill. I spent a few months scrounging up the milk crates. Carpet lining was old carpet from local carpet store, timber framing is ~70yo recycled roofing timbers from our old house we demolished and the miniorb/corrugated iron were material coversheets from our new build I stockpiled.

Only materials purchased were fixings (Bugle screws), 75mm stormwater pipe elbows, bulkhead fittings, geotextile, plastic sheeting and the loam/compost fill. Very happy with the outcome and overall cost!

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 Post subject: Re: Grafs urban farming.
PostPosted: Aug 9th, '18, 17:46 
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you gotta be happy with that, looks fantastic.

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 Post subject: Re: Grafs urban farming.
PostPosted: Aug 13th, '18, 08:17 
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Yep, very happy with them, have come up a treat. I topped up the filling this weekend as it had settled with the rain we have had. Put up the reinforcing mesh for the climbers (cuc's, tomatoes, beans), the mesh is about 8' high at the center so I can comfortably reach to harvest.

This weekends job is to start getting seeds started for the aquaponics and soil beds and getting a couple of extra bags of sugarcane mulch to finish off.

Picked 3 very loose heads of cauli Sunday from the aquaponics, roasted them up and put over some grated parmesan for the last few minutes, kids devoured them. Still have 3 heads coming along, they seem to be a tighter curd than the last few, keeping fingers crossed!

Romanesco Caulies have started to head up, a couple are looking OK, some are bolting/not forming tight heads, a bit disappointing :( I'm hoping that as the beds mature these sorts of things will resolve.
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 Post subject: Re: Grafs urban farming.
PostPosted: Aug 22nd, '18, 12:06 
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This weekend was a few busy days, vacuumed the FT and RFF bases, dumping solids into the growbeds to build up the nutrient load in them. I really need to direct connect RFF inlet and outlets to flow through at this point I think rather than settling out the solids considering its still a new system.

Pulled up a few spent cauli stems/leaves, these went to the chooks which have finally come back on the lay. Yay, fresh eggs again!

Measured trout length of 1/2 the batch I have, ranging from 20-25cm, averaging 22cm for the 6 caught, they are looking fine, still some growth to be had.

Made up a stack of coir/vermiculite seed blocks for seed raising along with setting up seed trays and went seed shopping at Diggers shop, that was dangerous!!

Here's what I've started off, plan is to try different things in aquaponics & wicking beds. The larger curcubits will be normal ground underplanting my fruit trees

Blocks:
Cabbage - mini & red drumhead
Broccoli - De Cicco
Cucumber - Japanese climbing, plan to grow over westerly face of reo mesh arch over 2 wicking beds and also trial aquaponics
Pumpkin - Butternut & Musquee De Provence - ground planting under block planted fruit trees
Rockmelon - Prescott Fond Blanc - ground planting under block planted fruit trees
Zucchini - Black- ground planting between espalier row fruit trees
Celery
Kale - Tuscan Plack
Eggplant - long purple
Tomato - cherry style (Sunrise Bumblebee, Valentine,
Tomato - Beefsteak style (Brandywine Pink, Tasmanian Chocolate)
Tomato - Saucing (San Marzano)
Capsicum - Californian Wonder (Red) & Gilboa Orange
Basil - Sweet

Seed Trays:
Spring Onions - Red & green
Onions - Brown & red

1/2 toilet roll cardboard tubes:
Leeks

Direct sown into wicking beds:
Snow Peas
Carrots
Beetroot

Still to look at herbs like Thyme, Marjoram, Sage, figured I'll get those as seedlings. Have parsley growing well already in one earlier bathtub wicking bed and coriander starting to set seed in the aquaponics system.

Homemade seed cube maker made from some 50mm square steel tubing I had, worked well! Cubes/cardboard rolls and trays sitting on geofabric wicking mats in polycarb greenhouse to germinate and get a head start on spring. Plan for seedling planting out in the wicking beds once they are good to transplant is coming along, should have plenty of seedlings to go in. Any excess I'll donate to local community garden around the corner or put on the nearest Grow Free cart.

If you haven't heard about Grow Free, check out http://www.growfree.org.au/ or see their facebook page.

Have already direct sown carrot and snow peas. Beetroot seeds go in this coming weekend.

Excited to finally have everything coming together!!

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 Post subject: Re: Grafs urban farming.
PostPosted: Aug 23rd, '18, 09:15 
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Took off some Romanesco Broccoli this morning from the AP, aphids getting to them and they didn't form tight heads :( they'll do well for dinner though.
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Finished off the seed planting, thought i'd share some photos of the germination trays/cubes.
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 Post subject: Re: Grafs urban farming.
PostPosted: Aug 24th, '18, 03:18 
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looks awesome. I'm already jonesing as our summer comes to an end. I have not had time to prepare for our fall / winter crops so I don't know if we'll get to them or not before it gets too cold. I am hoping at least the tomato clones I cut and have rooting in the greenhouse will make it so I can grow tomatoes through the winter... need to finish cleaning out the greenhouse before winter though.

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 Post subject: Re: Grafs urban farming.
PostPosted: Aug 24th, '18, 11:35 
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I like the homemade seed cube maker. :headbang:

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 Post subject: Re: Grafs urban farming.
PostPosted: Aug 24th, '18, 21:23 
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Graf you are seriously well organised, well at the very least, you are making the rest of us look totally disorganized, haha!
:notworthy: Damn cool that coir seed pod maker! What a great idea and execution. :notworthy:
Brian.

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2017 season 100 Brook trout fingerlings. 5 Comets.
:?


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