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The Gravel Is In The Grow Beds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well that is the good news. I got the plumbing done, and the pump in to lift the water up hill to the grow beds. I also got the gravel in the beds. Most of it came from the first system , I took one half of it apart and reused that gravel, I hope it will still have the Biological filter and speed up the cycling process so I can get the fish in the tank. Like I said that was the good news.

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As you can see the Bell Syphons have been pulled out of the grow beds. They were not working and I decided to go another way . So the bad news was I had the gravel in the beds, now I had to take it all out again.

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I decided to try laying a water hose connected to the out let and protected that with a corrugated pipe.

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Well when I tested this it did not syphons as fast as I wanted it to. The problem seems to be the height of the outlet on the barrel, I use the bung hole.  Also the drain going to the holding tank was bigger than the hose so the that didn’t help.  So I went with just a simple elbow that syphons from the bottom of the bed.

Syphon drawing

This is a drawing to show what I ended up with. I didn’t get any pictures of this before I covered it up with the gravel. Basically you see the pick up tube coming in the barrel, the small gravel guard goes around this and the large gravel guard goes over all of it. I can watch the water rise in the large tube, to adjust the in flow.

Plumbed in With a few leaks

Well finally got out in the greenhouse today and worked on the system. Have been super busy lately, so haven’t been working out there.

But today I got the plumbing to the grow beds and the return to the holding tanks in.

Got all the bell syphons in the line from the pickle barrels and the return lines in.

That is where the went well part ended…lol

I was able to use the parts from the old system for the bell syphons

Here is how I tied the grow beds together to make sure they fill at the same rate.

The Duck weed tank full and draining

showing the intake for the Duckweed drain. So it will pull water from under the Duckweed and not drain it in to the fish tank.

This is the line to the grow bed almost full

Just as the water started to flow to the grow beds.

Water to the grow beds.

Here is where the good news stopped.  The water only made it to the first bed.  After I re-checked. the pipe ran up hill from here. So I will have to do a little re-plumbing. But other than that and a few leaks( every thing is dry fitted) it works well.

It is Really Coming Together Now

I have been working on the system just not documenting it. Had a little snag the other day. Burned up my old Miter saw, So had to go to Lowes and get a new one, ah shucks…lol. Well got all the lumber cut and partially assembled. I did all that I could in the drive way. It is a better work surface than the backyard, not such a grade.

My New Toy

The rails for the carriage

The rest of the carriage.

Yesterday I got the rails on the IBC to hold the Duck Weed tank.

I have gotten started on the plumbing. I have the fitting in the fish tank where the water will flow to the two pickle barrels.

Also in the pickle barrel coming in from the fish tank, and the connection of the the two pickle barrels.

SO that is where the project is right now . Tomorrow I plan on putting the carriage that will hold the grow beds . I think it will be easier to put it together inside the greenhouse.  we will see how that turn out.

Cleaning the Barrels

I got out and cut the barrels in half yesterday. Then today I washed the insides of them. At first I thought it would be harder than it was. The rusty looking stains that were on the inside and tops of the barrels actually came off very easily. Just used the dish soap and scrub brush that I used on the pickle barrels. That got most of it and then detailed with Mr. Clean errasers, and it turned out pretty good. 

Got More Barrels :oD

Went yesterday to Pink Hill NC to get the rest of the barrels I needed to complete the system. I pick up 2 of the blue barrels 55 gal,with the bung holes that will be cut in half to make the Grow beds.  

I also picked up 4 black pickle barrels, 60 gal ea.  Two of these will be in the system and 2 for rain barrels.

I got the pickle barrels all cleaned out and ready to go . The blue ones I did a little bit on them I will get them thoroughly after I have cut them in half.

These are the 2 that will be the rain barrels.

Here are the two pickle barrels in place .

My original system had a catastrophic failure Sunday. THe left bank of grow beds had been slipping slowly toward the pond.  So I needed to do something anyway , well one of the totes broke at the bottom and I was lucky I didn’t loose all the water. So I took the left bank out and the flood tank out. I piped the water directly to the right bank of grow beds. So they are now running continuously.

The rest of these are some plants I have brought into the green house because the nights are getting cooler.

The milk jugs are filled with water , part of the thermal mass.

OK thats it for today ,will start the plumbing tomorrow. Hopefully I will be able to get it up and running soon. Might be running on a extenion cord for a little bit , I will eventually get it wired …I know Eric I will call before I start tat  LOL..

Did you notice the volunteer tomato I have coming up out of the cinder block hole. I will keep it and see what it does. The rest are weeds and I will get rid of them.

Hugelkultur??? Give it a Shot???

I read about Hugelkultur on line several places and I just happened to have a lot of wood and brush laying around. So going to give it a shot.  If you don’t know what Hugelkultur is you are not alone,I didn’t eithier. Of course I couldbe wrong and you and I are the only ones who do not know… any here is what Wikipedia has to say about:

Hügelkultur

The practice of making raised garden beds filled with rotting wood.[16][17] It is in effect creating a Nurse log, however, covered with dirt.

Benefits of hugelkultur garden beds include water retention and warming of soil.[16][18] Buried wood becomes like a sponge as it decomposes, able to capture water and store it for later use by crops planted on top of the hugelkultur bed.[16][19]

The buried decomposing wood will also give off heat, as all compost does, for several years. These effects have been used by Sepp Holzer for one to allow fruit trees to survive at otherwise inhospitable temperatures and altitudes.[17]

That said what I get from it is Lasagne bed. Just layering material over logs and rotting wood. OK so that is what I have started. I removed all the top soil from the bed and just for lack of a better place to put it I moved it inside the green house frame. This is all soil that I have been amending for several years with compost in my raised beds. I will use this on the hugelkultur bed along with the top soil from the green house site.

This is the bed with the wood and brush I had around the yard. I also used the old rotting lumber that was the other two beds.

I am not going to make a traditional hugelkultur, in that it wont be six ft tall and about 4-5 ft wide. This will be 4 ft wide and how every tall it gets. I might have to bring in some extra top soil, we’ll see.

 

this was just some shots around the yard. My better half Sharon told me that i needed something in the picture of the tree frog for scale to show how small they really are.

Going to get the IBC and two blue 55 gal drums that will be the grow beds. Once I get them and the IBC dug in I can put the green house up. I will get hem tomorrow, have to drive over Beullaville to pick them up , that will take most of the day tomorrow.  But I will be sure to get pictures.

Got my New Camera

I got my new camera last week . Have been waiting to get this for a while now. So hopefully my photos in the blog will be higher quality. I got the Cannon Eos Rebel T3I

Ok enough about that lets get to the Aquaponics . Things are looking good for the most part. The fish are very active, and seem happy ,they are going pretty fast. The water is testing in the good for all tests. It is a little cloudy, added some barley extract hope the will help. We have had quite a bit of rain and I wonder if that has anything to do with the cloudiness. My flood tank is also giving me some concern. It tends to bulge at times . this causes the toilet vale not to open sometimes. I think I need to put some more straps going over the top on it.  Ok here are some pictures:

Romaine Lettuce and a small tomato (sucker from dirt garden tomato)

Here are peppers and a Leaf lettuce mix

The radishes under the pepper are going strong.

The tad poles are still going strong