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PostPosted: Feb 28th, '14, 16:30 
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Finally, had a week where i was 1) at home, 2) forecast has no nights of freezing and 3) no rain to paint the grow bed.

On the inside i used drylock latex based paint and on the outside a normal driveway concrete paint.

The paint helps cover up my shoddy workmanship but it continues to be a good learning experience.

The reason the bottom of the grow bed is so rough is because the last layer of ferro went on too close to a freeze and it was not structurally sound.. it started cracking and didnt stick to the other layers in most places so i had to rip it up before i could paint. I think there's still plenty of cement left to protect to steel skeleton but i guess time will tell.


The plan this weekend is to:
1) get some river rock and fill the grow bed.
2) plumb the fish tank exit to drian into the grow bed
3) plumb the grow bed exit to drain into a 100 gallon stock tank sump.

The stock tank sump is temporary while i add onto the system.. Hopefully the next stage wont take a year to complete. I plan to start in mid march when chance of freezes goes down and my goal is to have a second and matching fish tank + grow bed in addition to a 1000-1500gallon sump tank (exact size and dimensions of sump are still being debated) by the end of may when it starts getting hot outside.

now that i understand what i am capable of with ferro my big picture plans are starting to take shape in my head. I will probably sketch something up soon. I plan to keep adding to it each year until i am done which may take 2-3 more years. The end result will be 4-5 tanks, 8-12 grow beds (assorted sizes) and a large sump which will double as a DWC


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PostPosted: Mar 1st, '14, 00:36 
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No one will notice the bottom of that grow bed when it is filled with gravel. :thumbright:

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PostPosted: Mar 1st, '14, 07:15 
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Cool! What are you going to do with all those fish and veggies when you're fully operational?


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PostPosted: Mar 1st, '14, 15:40 
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Great results.. they look good

watching with interest as I want to get my hands dirty in ferrocement someday


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PostPosted: Mar 1st, '14, 15:44 
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Can you describe a bit more how you've created the base of the above growbed bcotton?

From here it looks like a 3 inch approx cement slab, on top of thick timber beams, on top of besser bricks - have I got that right?

thanks


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PostPosted: Mar 1st, '14, 15:59 
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Apoc,
Maybe I am underestimated the harvest but the majority of my fish are/will be slower growing sunfishes like crappie and bluegill that i only plan to harvest every 2-3 years. I also dont plan on running high density so i think a fish meal every now and then will be on the menu but not more than i can manage. I also have lots of friends willing to take fresh fish and produce off my hands. As for veggies, i can preserve and can a bit, but I like to experiment and not all of my grow beds will be used in the most efficient food oriented way. I dont doubt i will try to grow odd things like barley, green tea, coffee as well.

jono.

The grow bed stands on a few cinder block legs. The frame is very thin/cheap 3/8" x 6 foot long cedar fence panels held together by some 1x2's i used around the edges. It's only there to provide shape while the cement dries. It has no long term strength or use intended.. if i could safetly remove it i would remove it or even reuse it.

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PostPosted: Mar 4th, '14, 10:53 
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thanks, and well done - looks like the design is working well for you


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PostPosted: Mar 5th, '14, 08:40 
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Did you put any horizontal rebar in the walls of the GB? I didn't see any in the pics.

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PostPosted: Mar 5th, '14, 14:57 
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It froze this weekend and I wasnt able to go get the gravel, Next weekend should be nice weather as long as i can get access to a truck.

There's no horizontal rebar on the grow beds, I am just using the steel mesh. for side to side support. the corners will be structurally weak, relatively speaking but there's not going to be a ton of outward pressure on something so shallow..

I am debating the idea of cylinder shaped grow beds in the future because circles are better structures and perhaps easier to make with cement but i will have to see if i can do it without sacrificing grow bed space in relation to the the footprint

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PostPosted: Mar 5th, '14, 16:29 
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You've probably seen his thread but if you haven't checked out Brian Fanner's system it might be worth a look, he did circular growbeds of blocks with a concrete foundation - http://www.backyardaquaponics.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=6277.

Here's a video of the system - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Awi_4aKJSak
One of the more interesting systems with things like the roadkill processor and the water heaters.


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PostPosted: Mar 5th, '14, 16:50 
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Scotty, Thanks for the link.

yes i have seen brian's thread but it's been probably two years... I had completely forgotten about it.

Sometimes time, motivation and new experiences really affect what you comprehend, remember and get out of a thread.

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PostPosted: Mar 11th, '14, 06:43 
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Today i took a road trip to a place i had never heard of called streetman, texas to picked up some "1/2 inch" expanded shale. This is the place where expanded shale is made


I am only able to find pea sized expanded shale around dallas and I have had a lot of problems with clogging and pooling... not initially... but after 6 months or so it becomes a constant battle that i am not interested in fighting in my new ferro system...


A cubic yard cost me 75$ plus somewhere between 40-50$ in gas round trip... so it's more than the 60-70$ i have payed in the past but i was going to resort to river rock which is a lot heavier, less porous and doesnt have the same moisture qualities that expanded shale has.

It was somewhat refreshing when i called ahead and asked what PH the expanded shale was and they told me this batch is about 8.0 but it usually ranges 7.6-8.0.. i am really sick and tired of people trying to tell me ES is PH neutral.. but regardless... a little ph buffer hasnt deterred me before.

Here's a picture of the kiln in the background and the second picture is the ES churning out into a big dusty pile.... the last picture shows the size of this expanded shale is much bigger than the expanded shale that is typically sold and even a little bigger than the average hydroton. Assuming the performance is as good as hydrotion, this wont be me last trip to nowhere, texas.

However, my after thoughts tell me one of the dallas folks that are planning to MAKE A MILLION DOLLARS ON AQUAPONIC should start buying by the train car load and reselling this stuff local both by the CY and the bag.


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PostPosted: Mar 11th, '14, 09:31 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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After some time, most expanded products become pH neutral (it isn't like limestone which will continue to buffer pH up over 8 till it completely dissolves) but most of the manufacture produces some form of oxide dust on the media that will initially boost pH when first introduced to a system so I always recommend at the very least rinsing all expanded shale or slate products before putting them into a system.

After time in the system the pH elevating effect goes away.

Good On you for making the effort to go get 1/2" grade media. The 3/8" and pea gravel size stuff is just WAY too small long term.

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PostPosted: Mar 11th, '14, 10:02 
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bcotton wrote:
I am debating the idea of cylinder shaped grow beds in the future because circles are better structures and perhaps easier to make with cement but i will have to see if i can do it without sacrificing grow bed space in relation to the the footprint


Well one problem with circles is getting to the middle to pick the crop, so you have to have fairly small circles.

But with ferrocement you are not limited to circles or squares.

You could make a mandala or a keyhole garden bed

Image

Image

If you are going to grow weird crops you might as well grown them in a unique bed. Most of the straight lines can be replaced with curves for added strength, and the central area can be a grow bed, sump or fish tank depending on size.


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PostPosted: Mar 12th, '14, 01:29 
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that arrogant bastard ale is some good stuff!

great find on the es

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