Monthly Archives: March 2011

Growth Update: Week 17

OK, lot’s to talk about since I haven’t been updating. Here, let’s take a look.


I harvested the last of them weeks ago. They ended coming out all right. Lot’s of shapes and sizes. I think I would have gotten a better harvest faster had I done the trimming like I was supposed to. But then again, the number of fish I had at the beginning wasn’t really enough nutrients either since I grow straight from seed as opposed to coaxing them along in another container or something.

That means I’ve moved almost everything over to garlic, which has been growing like gang busters. I planted a couple more, obviously way out of season, but heck, who cares? It’s a greenhouse for a reason, right? We’ll see how they work out when I come back in October or November to harvest them.


It’s growing really well still. I yanked some out to take a look at how well they were doing, expecting to see some kind of bulb growth but I saw none. Ken says that should come later in the season, but I’m not totally convinced. We’ll see what it looks like when I’m supposed to actually harvest in June. The concern is the the pebbles won’t move enough to let the garlic grow naturally because of the weight. I guess that’s June’s problem though.


I’ve dubbed the unit “Red 5” but now I’ve added it’s partner, the Millenium Falcon to the mix. Since I have extra parts lying around I built the second unit pictured below. It isn’t up and running yet because the pump is on back order. Should have it going by next week hopefully for my latest addition to the crops: sugar cane.


I’ve ordered a total of three so far. The climate in Sacramento is not what is considered to be conducive for sugar cane growing as it is a tropical or sub tropical plant. I’m testing the theory it CAN be grown up here, because one of the major components that sugar cane needs to grow is a lot of water. But that’s based on the estimates of growing it in soil. It requires 24″ of rain typically in a year. But with aquaponics, I want to see if it’ll grow using the 90% less water estimate that is achievable.


Mom accidently knocked the leaves off in the trashcan (or something like that), but you can see the new shoot coming up on the left.

The overall point of the sugar cane is to grow it for ethanol production, as well as its waste run off being used as a fertilizer because they only use like 6% to 11% of the actual juice for ethanol. And since it’s all pretty liquid like it could, theoretically be used for hydroponics if processed properly.


yellow is bad, right?

I planted this one a week ago and it looks like it’s wilting. I think this has more to do with a problem I had with the water, which was not cycling properly cause of a valve issue and that side of the unit has basically been try all week. I fixed it today so hopefully it’ll perk back up soon.

I’ll be planting this 3rd one picture below in the Falcon as soon as the pump shows up, along with some garlic I suspect. Sugar can grow up to nearly 20′ tall, so eventually the indoor stuff will have to be moved to either a larger greenhouse or to an out door setting.


I might also be having a problem because I added a fourth fish to the mix. The pH levels are running higher than they were before, so it might be bad for the sugar can in particular. Once I get the Falcon up and running I’m going to move one of the fish over to that tank so the levels can be brought back down to three. Hopefully that will solve the issue if having the water run through it properly doesn’t.


I bought a couple of dual pain windows as well as some single panes to help insulate the unit a bit better. I really wanted to get double pain for the top too, but I couldn’t find the size I wanted. Still, it should help keep the unit warmer as well as provide better sunlight than the 3mm thick visqueen I was using.


The Solar powered water heater has been built, but it’s still missing a pump that is on back order. The plan is to have it running during the day to heat the fish tank. In Sac, even when the sun is out it still stays pretty cold in bodies of water. This should heat the tank during the day, leaving only the night that I now have to figure out with some kind of heat pad.

Ok, I think that brings everything up to speed. I updated the water testing part as well if anyone is interested in checking it out. Link in the sidebar.


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