Garinger Aquaponics

Updates on the 100 Gardens site at Garinger High School in Charlotte, NC


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Snowy Snowy Days

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Hey everyone,

I wanted to put in a mention that we haven’t been able to get any work done this week as a result of the veritable blizzard what came through. A few weeks ago we had a light dusting (The Farm in its light dusting glory is pictured above). This time around I saw about 10” on the north end of the county, and a healthy dose of sleet. Most of the roads are clear by now, and the Southern Spring Show is coming up next weekend which we will be preparing for. Our focus this week will most likely be on getting the demonstration system ready for the show (see in posts below). Hopefully we will be able to catch up with you on the main setup soon!

Stay warm, safe and dry out there y’all!
Jacob

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Gone Fishin’

Hey folks,

 

Just a quick update, we worked a lot on the setup for the Spring Show today (http://www.southernshows.com/sss/). Tilapia have now been added to the system, and they’re already a feisty bunch so I think they’re going to do well. But then again, I’m new at this, so maybe that doesn’t mean anything. Sam tells me they’re just pretty aggressive in general.

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In the background is the grow tower, one of the hydroponic installations that is part of the demonstration system. Out of the frame is a hydroponic raft about 2′ x 8′, but I could be wrong on that one again… Sam built it, I just tinker with it.
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So there’s the whole setup. We’ve got a lot of plumbing to do on the big system (which is behind me from where I took that picture, see in posts below). I’ll be sure to update you guys on that next time around, I believe next Wednesday we’ll be working at it again. Monty did some work on the plumbing, digging a trench for the pipes that will connect our two main rafts. We’ve also got the trim strips for the tops of the hydroponic rafts painted a nice gloss black, and will be getting those down and cutting off the excess plastic in due course.
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We harvested a big bag of Red Lettuce and Mustard Greens from the hydroponic raft for the demonstration setup today. There’s a bit of an Aphid infestation going on right now, so we’ve been trying to curtail that. Most of the mustard greens were either too overgrown or overrun for us to save them, so Sam took some to the roommates, and the Vermicompost bin got the rest. The funny thing about a greenhouse is that it’s the perfect habitat for plants in the summer, but it’s also the perfect place for bugs that eat plants. The Red Lettuce was mostly untouched. I dunno if that’s a dietary preference that Aphids have. I’d like to start doing some companion planting if the infestation gets worse. Marigolds evidently do the trick, so that’s one option.

Point is, the first of the Tilapia have arrived, and we’ve gone fishin’.


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Getting Up to Speed

Hey folks, Jacob here,

Sam and I have been hoping to get this blog up and running, but the focus lately has been more on getting construction in the greenhouse underway. We are probably about halfway finished at this point, so it’s a bit late in the game, but I think a short update as to what is going on down at The Farm would be appropriate.
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We’re currently building an Aquaponics system. If you aren’t familiar with that term, the elevator pitch is that it’s an agricultural technique that focuses on the relationship between fish and plants, where the fish produce waste full of nutrients necessary for plants to grow, and the plants clean the water pumped from the fish tanks through the grow beds. This water is then pumped back into the fish tanks and the cycle continues. There’s more information on Wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquaponics) for anyone who is curious.

Sam works for a non-profit corporation here in Charlotte called 100 Gardens (http://100gardens.simdif.com/index.html). The 100 Gardens mission is to establish a partnership between aquaponics labs in Charlotte and in Haiti. The story of how this idea came about is really compelling, and I highly recommend you take a look on the website sometime. Feel free to follow the progress of the 100 Gardens mission via Facebook as well (https://www.facebook.com/100Gardens).

So far, at Garden Number 4 at Garinger High, we have finished the construction of the two Grow Beds and as of Friday they have been lined with carpet and plastic (kind of like a milk carton sort of material). The fish tanks are full of water and we’ve been checking the pH and ammonia levels getting the water ready for fish to live there. We’re expecting to have 75 fish in each of the four tanks and 250 servings of greens a week from the Grow Beds.

Our next steps in construction mostly involve installation of the plumbing. Unfortunately I’ve got next to zero experience with PVC and plumbing related installation, but I’m excited to learn! We’re hoping to keep the blog updated after each work day, so hopefully this was a good introduction and you are now up to speed with everything going on.

Feel free to email us at garingeraquaponics@gmail.com with any questions.

Best,

Jacob