Sunday, March 23, 2014

Catfish Disaster!

3/29/2014 - Update
I am not up there this weekend because of work, but my parents and their friends are and they reported back that the goldfish survived the week with only 1 casualty. Also, my mom's friend found some turkey eggs that had been laid in the bushes by my front entry. Here is the picture.. 
Just what I need - more turkey babies!

My aquaponic adventure is off to a really rocky start, I managed to kill off all of the baby catfish. Every single one in less than 1 week. As near as I can tell, the fish feeder I bought was pumping out too much food polluting the water. I had a solid cover of duckweed that blocked oxygen transfer to the water and the tank didn't have time to cycle. AND the pump doesn't go all night long and there was a silt from the clay planting material which resulted in the great catfish massacre of 2014. I am regrouping after cleaning out the dead fish, and 80% of the duckweed and replacing 50% of the water, I bought a dozen feeder goldfish and threw them in there. I have no food in the water for them, since there is so much in there already and frankly if they survive until I get back again, I will be amazed.
Good luck goldfish!
Even though the fish died, the plants in the two grow beds are doing good! 
Raft plants doing good!

Tomato babies

Lettuce with great root system

One new thing I am trying besides the aquaponics tank, is to see if hops will grow there. I have 2 rhizomes of  "Nugget" that I planted in pots to grow up to my deck, and since they are a vining plant that can grow up to 25 feet it should reach it. Why hops? Well it seems that there is never enough supply in the world and home brewing is a very popular and growing hobby. Most home brewers have to use pelletized hops, so if I can get these to grow I will have organically grown hop flowers that I can sell. I have a friend at work who is a serious home brewer and he is ready to try them out for me and brew some beer! (He is so excited he actually bought me a book on how to grow hops!) I am not sure what the deer will do with them.. I will need to protect them a bit I am sure.
Nugget hops - they are doing really good!
Here are more pictures of flowers that are starting to bloom in the is some kind of hybrid of the California poppy. Hopefully I can be there when it blooms since it is so interesting already to look at..
Not sure what this is but it is blue and beautiful

Hybrid poppy? orange and red?

Erigeron (Santa Barbara Daisy) with some strange bug on it

My lady bugs are coming back!

Pretty flowers hanging out together

Lasagna garden update

Last year was the 4th year that I added layers to the garden that I call my "lasagna" garden. I am not planting the veggie yard this year because of the drought, but we have had enough rain to cause the weeds to spring to life and take off. Guess what? That lasagna garden area has no weeds! I am stunned at the difference, so see for yourself.
Left side is lasagna garden area - right is traditional garden area.
See? I swear I didn't run out and weed that side before the picture was taken and really I can't weed too well with my back anymore. The impact is stunning...and I think I will need to try it on the whole yard now.  

Here is hoping for a better outcome with the $2 worth of goldfish that are in the tank now..and some happy news for my poor aquaponic system!


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