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 Post subject: Re: My first system
PostPosted: Dec 13th, '17, 09:10 
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Rob

I just checked out your thread and I must say I can't wait to be that far along. Looks like we have a lot of the same interest. I hope my small project can turn a little bit of a profit so I can expand. I have a perfect space for 3 - 30'x140' greenhouses. I know that is ambitious considering I am just starting out but that's the goal. I am curious on how your experiment with bluegill went? Bluegill is what I planned on starting with so any info on that would be greatly appreciated!


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 Post subject: Re: My first system
PostPosted: Dec 14th, '17, 21:27 
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the bluegill are currently in the system. I think I bought them in August or September so haven't had them very long. I don't think I've lost any of them so far. I started with them in the 75 gal tank in the house until I got most of the tilapia processed then I moved them out to the AP system in the greenhouse. So far everything seems to be going well but I don't know how fast they will grow. I've read that they will probably take 2 years to get plate sized so they don't grow as fast as the tilapia do but only time will tell if they grow at a rate that is still acceptable or not. I am more curious about how fast the catfish will grow. I hope they will grow large enough to eat in a 1 year time span, I've read that they will but will wait to see it myself. I plan on raising one more year of tilapia because I won't be able to harvest any catfish until next fall anyways so want to make sure I have fish if they don't get to an acceptable size in a year, but if they do grow fast enough I will likely switch to running just catfish, or sprinkle in some bluegills and perch with catfish in future years.

bcotton has a thread on here about trying to breed bluegills. I have hybrids which is a bluegill / sunfish cross so they are mostly male, not going to breed, but if you get actual bluegills it does sound like it is possible to breed them in an aquarium.

I am of the mindset that I want to try making a little money with everything I'm growing too. I will keep expanding slowly when I have the money. I hadn't really mentioned it to the wife until last night, but I have been reading a lot on market gardening and CSA's... I am working out some of the details and considering trying to start a small CSA (maybe 10 shares) next year as a trial run, but I might wait another year so I can test out my plans to make sure they work out how I want them to before I am on the hook for providing for a CSA. I think adding fish to the CSA would be a unique option that no one in the area has right now. Looking at other CSA options in the area there are only 2 in my area and the one that I found info on costs they charge $550 per share, will drop to $400 per share if the person comes and works on the farm for 15 hours a year to help you out. They didn't list a half share but from what I've read they typically go a little over half price for a half share. So I thought I could do $400 / share and $250 / half share would give the potential of $4000-5000 off of 10 shares. That would give me a little more play money to move the projects along a little faster and I don't think would be too difficult to manage 10 shares worth of produce. Then if it is successful I could slowly increase the number of shares. The main reason I hesitate is I'm not sure how much more work it is going to be with the growing plan I am working on now. So I might try and track it for one season when I'm not on the hook to figure out how much extra effort I need to put into it in case I run in to a situation that I'm not able to put the time into it that I need to. But then I have to figure out what to do with all of the extra food that I produce that we're not going to consume. I hate the farmers market idea. If I didn't have a full time job then it would be fine to spend a day or two a week at a farmers market, but with a full time job and trying to produce all of this I can't afford to lose even half of a day to sitting at a farmers market. I could do a road side stand to get rid of some of the produce, but I'm not ready for that yet there are a few things I want to do before I'd attempt that (need to build a mobile stand so I can store it out back in the off season and only have it out front when I have produce to sell).

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 Post subject: Re: My first system
PostPosted: Dec 14th, '17, 22:38 
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My first year of catfish I was able to raise them to plate size in 9 - 10 months, though I prefer fish a little larger. Growth depends on feed rate which depends on water temp and conditions. They really don't eat much when the water is below 60°F. I use auto-feeders so my fish never miss a meal. Also the first year I was diligent about adjusting the federate every couple of weeks.

Now I'm a little more lax and I have more fish. My 150 fingerlings only reached 3/4 size this past year. So I'm hoping next year with better feed management I will have at least 100 catfish over 2 lbs.

As for your excess production, in addition to for profit options please consider donating to a local food bank. You might get someone to come to your house for pickup if you have regular donations.

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 Post subject: Re: My first system
PostPosted: Jan 2nd, '18, 03:17 
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I like how you transformed the shed, well done. Got any more recent photos? KE

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 Post subject: Re: My first system
PostPosted: Jan 2nd, '18, 05:57 
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Nothing new to show right now. It has been sub zero temperatures the past week. Hoping to have some progress to show in the coming weeks.


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 Post subject: Re: My first system
PostPosted: Jan 2nd, '18, 07:47 
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I guess I have a couple pics. My little helper and some lights.


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 Post subject: Re: My first system
PostPosted: Jan 3rd, '18, 01:53 
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have you checked your air temps in the greenhouse when the sun is shining? I went out in my hoop house a couple days ago when it was 10F outdoors and it was 39F in the hoop house. I went back out later that afternoon when it was about 12F outside and it was like 54F. It gets really nice in the hoop house when the sun shines even if it is nasty outside!

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 Post subject: Re: My first system
PostPosted: Jan 6th, '18, 08:28 
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Wow those temps are awesome. The last few times I checked mine and the temp in the greenhouse was only 10 deg higher. I do need to seal up a couple areas. I have played with the idea of building a rocket stove in there but not sure if that is a good idea. Any thoughts?


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 Post subject: Re: My first system
PostPosted: Jan 7th, '18, 07:03 
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I wouldn't bother trying to heat it unless you've already got a double layer of poly inflated with a blower to create an air insulation layer... Otherwise you will just burn a lot of fuel and still be pretty cold at night. A single layer of plastic just doesnt insulate enough to be able to heat it. There is a guy on another forum I'm on that runs hydroponics in hoophouse with a couple of vent free propane heaters in them but I think he has the double poly.

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 Post subject: Re: My first system
PostPosted: Mar 4th, '18, 22:50 
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Hello everyone. It's been a busy couple of days in the greenhouse. Grow beds are ready to go just waiting on the liner. If everything keeps going like this I should be cycling my system by the end of the month.

Keegun


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 Post subject: Re: My first system
PostPosted: Mar 4th, '18, 22:51 
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Keegun wrote:
Hello everyone. It's been a busy couple of days in the greenhouse. Grow beds are ready to go just waiting on the liner. If everything keeps going like this I should be cycling my system by the end of the month.

Keegun


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 Post subject: Re: My first system
PostPosted: Mar 7th, '18, 19:14 
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beds look good, what kind of liner did you decide to go with?

might be a tight squeeze fitting between those beds... I left 2ft walkways between beds and if I had gone any narrower would have been screwed because my tomato plants grew up to the roof had to get a step ladder in between beds to reach the tomatoes and wouldn't have been able to if I went any narrower because the ladder touches both beds right now with a 2ft walkway. Keep that in mind when you consider where you plant things that if it's going to grow tall you'll need a way to get to it otherwise might want to consider making one or two of them narrower to be able to have better walkways before you put the liner in...

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 Post subject: Re: My first system
PostPosted: Mar 7th, '18, 21:57 
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Awesome setup. Excellent beginning. I'm getting envious of these hoop-house GHs. They look so good. Thanks for sharing.

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 Post subject: Re: My first system
PostPosted: Mar 8th, '18, 09:12 
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Boss

Thank you

Rob

These are the liners I went with. Hopefully it was the right choice.
http://www.pondkingpondliner.com/

I knew the walkways were going to be tight so I just have to plant accordingly. The two outside beds will be dwc and only be planted with different types of lettuce. I want to do expanded clay in the middle two beds but boy is that stuff expensive... I am still trying to work on getting better prices on that. Do you know if anyone sells in bulk in the US?

I still have room to do a dutch bucket system that I can do tomatoes and cucumbers in. Yesterday was a big day and I purchased everything else I need to get it running. Just waiting for the fun stuff to arrive and start getting everything plumbed and ready for the first test.

Such an exciting time for me personally with the system and an exciting time of year for everyone I am sure. Can't wait for the fun road ahead.


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 Post subject: Re: My first system
PostPosted: Mar 8th, '18, 19:37 
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That liner is EPDM so it should be OK... they are saying fish safe which leads me to believe it's not roofing EPDM because that I've read isn't good for plants. I am using Firestone EPDM myself.

I originally thought the expanded clay was a bit expensive myself, so I have one bed out of pea stone (which I like, I grow my tomatoes mostly in this bed and they do really well), I have my one DWC bed with rafts in it which I grow most of my leafy greens in, but also grew some tomato plants in last year which everything has done pretty well in this bed. I have one bed that I put lava rock in which I absolutely hate because it is way too tough on the hands which means it is not very easy to transplant into and I tried direct seeding which didn't work very well in that bed. I have a smaller hydroponic rock on top of the lava rock but it doesn't really help. My smallest bed I filled with the expanded clay and at first I wasn't a fan of it because it is so light that it kept floating up, but I read that was because my water level was too high so I lowered my water level and now I see why all the Aussies use this stuff... it is really good for transplanting into! I can hold on to a root ball in my hand and just push my hand down in the bed to the depth I want the roots (just hitting the water level) and let go of the roots and pull my hand out and it pretty much fills itself back in, no need to dig anything. I will probably change my lava rock bed over to this some time this year and I'm torn about if I should change the pea stone bed over or not. I am questioning if the pea stone is buffering my pH up because my system has been running a year and is still well above 8 for pH. The pea stone is my largest media bed, so it has a pretty big impact compared to my other beds. I also have a dirt wicking bed that I'm debating about changing over to AP now that I have the hoop house with dirt beds in them. My kale has grown really well in the wicking bed but the rest of the stuff is just average but I think it might be due to compaction, the top soil I used wasn't very good so I have added perlite a couple times but I might need to remove half of it and try to lighten it up with potting soil and see if that makes it better. Long story short, I don't have a source for bulk hydroton... I bought mine from the local hydroponics store at about $35 per 50L bag. It's a bit pricey, but worth it IMO... if you want to try to save some money maybe just fill one of the beds right now and put something cheaper in the other bed to get you going then swap it out later if money is tight... will cost more in the long run, but like my pea stone I'll just toss on my floor if I change it out because I put a gravel floor in my greenhouse which could use some more in a couple spots. The problem with hydroton is that it is manufactured in Germany so it has to be imported... so it is expensive.

It is an awesome time of year, tired of winter ready for the new life that spring brings... but nothing beats the excitement of building something new! It is my drug of choice to keep building new things! I will probably end up with a field full of hoop houses at some point and hope to expand my AP system to an outside system for summer (or in a hoop house) in the future... I am thinking of building a hoop house just to house a large fish tank in to grow more fish... my wife thinks I'm crazy. She said her co-workers took her out for lunch yesterday because it was her birthday. They got talking about how they all go home and don't feel like doing anything, so she told them about all of the things I am working on around the house and they couldn't understand where I find the mental capacity to undertake all of my projects... pretty simple... I have a soul-sucking high stress job, all of the projects I do at home are fun for me so it is what keeps me going and keeps me sane... =)

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