Garden Update – End of August

The last few days I have been tweaking the aquaponics system. Fixing the sagging half barrels so they sit up a little more and drain a little better. Blocking up drainage holes and making smaller ones so the beds don’t drain so quickly. Supporting pipes wherever I could so that they drain or flow water a little more efficiently.

It’s paid off too. I think the system is running reasonably well now and the water is doing what it is meant to do.

The plants are doing well. Though some have only been in the beds about a fortnight or so I did have to relocate them and discovered that even though they weren’t looking so good after their initial transplanting, they were in fact budding up with new growth and looking a lot perkier with extended root systems. This is heartening.

The worms that were in the system are going quite well too, so I have since added more to some of the other beds. Yesterday (Sunday) was a gusty, windy, sand-hurling day where it was much more pleasant to be inside than out but I carried on while I could as the seedlings were drying out as I was fixing the piping – despite the odd spray from a water bottle.

So now I have added some of the other seedling that I had growing – spinach, parsley, chillies, lettuce and I have a bed designated to watercress also. Today I sowed some Asian greens, purple broccoli and cucumber seeds that I intend to put into the AP system when they are seedlings. I also planted some flower seeds – Californian poppies and Red marigolds.

The other incredible observation was the hydroponic lettuces that my wife bought from the farmers market. These she took the leaves off and washed but gave me the potted roots to plant into the system. These are thriving it seems. The mizuna lettuce doubled size over night. It was just a cropped little pot of green stems yesterday and today while I was checking the system over I could not believe the change. It had grown out leaves and was a bushy little miniature of its former self! How awesome. I wonder what it will be like tomorrow?! (ps. we also had a decent rainfall throughout the night which also often gives the plants a bit of help – extra hydrogen peroxide/ozone perhaps?)

So, though it is early days I am confident that the system will thrive. Figuring in that I have only one tank of goldfish at the moment and still have the other tank to fill with fish which will add further nutrients to the water. The water cycling is really only just working to its effectiveness now despite running for a fortnight, the latest tweaking means that all the beds are getting a good soaking of water. I have had seasol passing through the system in small quantities to get the plants off to a bit of a good start in the absence of the greater numbers of fish.

The goldfish appear happy too. The three larger fish are quite robust and next to the smaller fish from last summer – they look like sharks as they rise up through the still murky water to feed.

Also today the first little blossom appeared on the apricot tree with more looking like they will be out tomorrow. Very exciting and I am hoping the blossoms miss any hail storms this year.

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