Monthly Archives: June 2011

Algae Eater

Last Saturday, I added an algae eating fish to the open air fish tank with the koi in it cause there was just a ton of algae. Below is the photo showing how much it’s improved since it was added.

Neat, right? It’ll probably all be completely gone by this weekend. Nuts. It means there will be more nutrients for the plants since the algae won’t be there to suck them up. Awesome!


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Water Testing


It’s been months since I tested the water out in the unit cause honestly it’s fine 99% of the time. I’m still kind of concerned that the water is screwing with the growth of the plants, but maybe not. The water looks like it’s within acceptable levels for growth, it might just be that I don’t have enough fish in the tanks to generate the kind of nutrients the plants need. I’m thinking of bumping up to one more goldfish as well as adding in some variety for the food cause to date I’ve only fed them fish flakes. According to a couple different sources, including the Petsmart employee I spoke to the other day, i need to throw some veggies in there. Like a sliced strip of some vegetable that slips my mind right now. I’ll probably throw it in there tomorrow morning.

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Garlic Comparison

In a bid to avoid boredom, I went out and dug up along the sides of the garlic I planted to see how they were doing. Here’s what I got.

They don’t look that far apart in terms of growth, but it’s got me thinking that I will be waiting until July to harvest. There is a lot of green up top, but that could even out with a bit more time in the ground I’m hoping. The problem is that I feel like I need to harvest it all at once since they’re all in the same growbed cause I’ll be drying it.

Anyway…. I guess I should find something to do….

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Harvest Valve Update

So today, in advance of the harvest that I’m anticipating doing next weekend (a whole 7 garlic bulbs, BOOYAH!) I added valves so I could shut off flow to one side of the unit or the other. The point, as I said in yesterdays post, is to give the garlic a day or two on one side to dry a bit and stay more intact for harvest.

But, whoops, as you can see on the right I forgot I had that pipe running between the two units. I’m going to cut that one in the middle and add a valve just before I shut off flow to the that side. That’s because I’ll be disrupting the caulk that I’ve got on there, potentially creating another leak issue.  But since I’ll be letting that side spend a day drying out of the bed, I can re-caulk after and let it dry normally as opposed to the crappy “blow dryer” drying I’ve been doing to make sure the plants don’t get dried out.


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Final stretch before first harvest


Ok, so I haven’t been planting on exactly the best schedule for everything. In fact, for the last few months I’ve just been throwing stuff in and seeing what happens. That all said, it’s coming close to time to harvest the garlic and I’m not entirely sure when to yank it out.

I’ve basically got three zones of garlic, one that has been growing for 7 months, another that’s been going for 6 months (The late harvest) and the last has been for 4 months. I’ve read that the most common time to harvest is about 8 months from planting, but I’ve also read that you’re supposed to harvest when the “fronds” hit about 3 or 4 dried out ones on the bottom and 5 or 6 green on the top. Idiot me yanked off the dried out ones long ago. On some of them I’ve got like 5 or 6 dried out at the bottom and huge green action on the top. Take a look.

Once I’ve got a spot setup to clear dry out the 7 month garlic, I’m going to harvest it and do a high density planting. To harvest I’ll be adding valves to the pipes that lead into the tanks so I can dry out the garlic a bit before harvesting. Apparently it’s essential under normal conditions that the dirt be kind of dried out so that the skin can also dry out a bit and the now turn to mush in your hands. I am very interested though in taking one, fresh out the ground and making something with it to see if it tastes stronger than something that is uncured.

Last time I planted, I did it in a more traditional lay out. But I’m going to try planting a bit more in the tighter zone because of how much nutrients I feel the aquaponics provides the garlic.

I was also having problems with the algae, so I threw some basil and rosemary into the unit to soak up excess nutrients. I also added an algae eater. Take a look. The combination seems to have cleared everything up.

The sugar cane is also growing like crazy. It’ll have to get moved to something in the next month. Hopefully I’ll be able to build another version of the Falcon. to move them to.


Another new development that I failed to blog about is that I finally got the Millenium Falcon up and running with the right pump. I transferred one of the sugar cane plants I bought over to it and it’s been doing ok for the last few weeks. I’ve had issues though with the fact that I was gone for a bit. Mom and Dad weren’t exactly sure what they were looking at, so at one point there was not nearly enough water in there. Evaporation has been seriously hitting both the Falcon and Red 5. I’m hoping that now that the water is back cycling, the sugar cane will rebound.

I’ve also added a plastic sheeting around the Falcon because apparently while I was out-of-town because the koi I first bought disappeared. Either cause of animals or suicide (cause one of the replacement ones my Dad got jumped out) they died. And the automatic feeder I have isn’t really made for the outdoors. This should help though.

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