Our indoor, hydro garden

It’s getting cold outside, so who wants to go and harvest in the rain for dinner? Not me. The solution…an indoor hydro garden for the stuff we use the most. Of course, we wanted an aquaponics setup to mirror the big, outdoor one but weren’t sure how the fish would go under artificial light at wavelengths dedicated to plant growth. We didn’t have a pump small enough to recirculate in a system this sized either so I did a little research and came upon the Kratky method of hydroponics. With this method, you put enough nutrient solution into a container and place your plant through the lid (I used net pots and perlite to keep them in position). The plants grow roots that reach down as they grow. The nutrient solution and water used by the plants drop their level as the plant uses them. This leaves plenty of air around the roots for oxygen. Of course, different plants use

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Modularity rules!

One of the great things about aquaponics is that you can design a high degree of modularity and redundancy into your system. Am example is our floating raft beds – the plants in them aren’t doing so well now that the cooler weather is here. I noticed that, in these conditions, the Azolla was thriving. You can’t have too much Azolla, so I made the decision to swap out the floating veggie bed with a new Azolla mesh bed. Now, we have twice as much Azolla growing and the space and nutrients aren’t being wasted on struggling plants. The Basil that was in the vegetable raft bed will make their way to the front garden. They’re a perennial, bush Basil type so should do well after a period of adjustment. We were lucky enough to get some thick, construction grade, Styrofoam from Andrew Hurst and his Habitat for Humanity project. This stuff will last for years so I’ll clean up

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Winter veggie bed #1 is in

I know it’s not a lot like Autumn over here in Oz, but the plants seem to be keeping their own sage advice and are growing too quickly to leave. Even these have gotten a bit ‘leggy’. Today I prepared a wicking bed for them, the one that had Tomatoes, Amaranth and Okra in it over Summer. This bed has some old favourites now; Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Cabbages, Wong Bok and Spring Onions. Wish them luck! A flock of friendly Sparrows have discovered the joys of our garden and, while we appreciate the bug control and free fertilizer, we would appreciate them not eating too much of our food. Hence the need for netting on everything this year.

Our newest additions 

People say I’m crazy to plant in this heat. Maybe I am but I can’t help it. The new arrivals are all hot weather plants that are being grown by folks in the general area. Common sense prevails in the choice of plants even if not in the timing. In the pics below, you’ll see a couple of Giant Tree Tomatoes, an Hibiscus, a Long Melon Gourd and some Tamarillos.  They’re all planted in the garden in the positions that suit them best. With a little water and worm wee, they just might make it!  Wish them luck!