Monthly Archives: December 2010

Growth Update: Week 5.5

All right, I’ve been gone for just over a week and there has been some pretty decent growth.


They’re looking good. Still waiting to see them start bulbing up at the bottom though. It’s almost two weeks past due in terms of when they should have fully grown, but I’m assuming that has to do with the fact that I’m only using gold fish.


The garlic is growing like gang busters. The biggest has nearly doubled in size to about a foot tall. As you can see the top part of one of them is kind of wilting. Is that good?


Starting to sprout. I’m mildly concerned I didn’t plany the bulbs low enough, but you can see them starting to creep out.

I didn’t even take pictures of the Romain Lettuce cause one of them seems to have disappeared all together and the other one is hardly growing at all. I’m thinking of replacing them with garlic too, for now.


Ok, this part is the craziest part. After watching some videos online (at the bottom) I decided I could make a solar powered water heater for the fish tank. If I’m right, the pressure from the fish tank should cycle the water through the pipes and heat the water.

Right now, there’s no way I could farm Tilapia because the fish tank gets as low as 55deg’s sometimes and as low as 30 some nights. Tilapia can’t live in waters below 60 degrees. They just die. And paying to heat the water regularly is just flat out cost prohibitive. This led me to looking into solar powered water heaters.

This thing is going to require 132 soda cans. I have 21.....

The basic idea is that the light from the window passes through, hits the copper coil that from either a refrigerator (or something I’ve made) heating the water as it passes through. The aluminum cans behind the coil also act as heat gathers. I’ll also be spray painting them black before I’m done. The hardest part has been trying to find the refrigerator coil for the box. Older refrigerators have the coil in the back while new ones have bunched up coils on the bottom. And seemingly no one has the coil I’m looking for. I’ll figure it out eventually though.


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“Brunette” purchased & other things

Several things going on with the unit. Like to hear about?

NEW FISH – “Brunette”

Purchased a third fish, which max’s out the capacity of the unit. Gold fish run a high alkalinity, so if there were more than three (from what I’ve heard) the fish would start dying.

maddy with brunette

Hoping to switch to tilapia in the Spring, but this will do for now.


The other garlic bulbs were doing so well, I decided to plant some more. So I went to the Safeway and settled for Christopher Ranch garlic. SET-TLED. And these seeds look huge. Atleast 50% bigger than the last ones I planed.


fresh garlic bulbs



In preparation for a potential switch to tilapia in the Spring, I want to start growing some duck weed. The plan is to use the upper tank that I took off the unit to grow the it. Eventually, I ‘d move the goldfish over to nutriate it. Right now, going to use the waste from my turtles cage to feed it. Just gotta find some frigin duckweed seeds. I’ll save this one till I get back from the city.

That’s it for the update. I won’t have anything again until I get back from the city on the 23rd. Hopefully the new garlic will have made some headway and we’ll see some radish bulb growth. That’ll put the next update as Growth Update: Week 5.5. Rage.

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Growth Update: Week 3.5

I’m a little late this week with the update as I was in San Francisco longer than I was expecting. Exciting things happened with the unit!


radishes 12.09.10

While the radishes doubled in size, from 1″ to 2″, they are still way behind the curve in terms of expected growth. According to the package of seeds I got, I should be able to harvest on Dec. 13th, a scant 4 days from now. As you can see, there are no radishes appearing yet.

radish leaves 12.09.10

This happened in San Francisco as well. It probably has something to do with the overall weather as well as the fact that I’m using goldfish for nutrients as opposed to the more common tilapia. With a larger setup, of say a solar-powered water heater for the fish tank I would switch to tilapia, but it’s just too cold right now.


romaine 12.09.10

Well… it’s growing. It’s up to a full 1″ height. I got nothing else about this one. I’m a stones throw from chucking it for something that grows better. Like….


The garlic seems to be doing reeeeeally well. It’s nearly doubled in size in the last week and a half from 3″ to 6″. I’m debating replacing the romaine lettuce with garlic bulbs. I have no idea what kind of garlic my Mom gave me to plant, but she told me it was the standard white Christopher Ranch garlic she buys at Safeway. If only I knew someone who could tell me what that kind of garlic it is QUESTION MARK QUESTION MARK EXCLAMATION POINT

garlic 12.09.10


It’s growing mold. So I turned it. It’s been a while since I did that. Obviously, that needs to happen more often.

compost 12.09.10


Probably going to get a third fish in the next say or two, much to the joy of the niece. Hoping the increase in “nutrients” from an additional fish gets us some more growth.

When it starts to get warm in Sac, I’m planning on switching to tilapia. This comes with its own host of issues, namely: where do I get them and rigging a feeder on a timer so I don’t have to remember to feed them 3 times a day (or whatever is required). I’ve read that they eat quite a bit/often so we’ll have to see about that one. The cost is mostly what concerns me about it.


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