Aquaponics September 2014

First year of attempting aquaponics.

 4 feet deep 3 feet wide and 24 feet long. There are two grow beds Lots of room for expansion.

We hope to keep it going till the end of October and restart it when it thaws out around March.

Grow little squash grow!
Purple basil is happy in the upper bed.
 Yummy duckweed!
 The fish love it! I scoop out handfuls
 from the floating rafts and feed them,
 the raft keeps it safe
from being eaten completely gone.
We are setting up this immersion heater as a heat exchanger. The tank water is piped through a garden hose that is submerged into the very hot water in the 55 gal drum. It returns to the tank warming the fishy water. This keeps the fish happy and they eat better. We will be moving the stove set up inside the greenhouse as soon as we get a couple more lengths of stove pipe.
So far it is a great experiment in growing food. We have lots of plans of expanding and ways to keep the water warmer than the expensive electric on-demand heater that we first tried. Yes! The water temp is up to 72 degrees! It is 44 degrees outside and 65 in the cabin.  Can’t wait till we can get the whole stove inside the greenhouse.

Starting Seeds for 2018

Growing seasons are short in Alaska, a little longer where we live in Wasilla. I started many seeds in February, like garlic and onions, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. Some teas like chamomile. Asparagus and artichokes, tomatoes and tomatillos. I just planted some Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower here in late March.

I looked up how long it took to germinate each type of seed, when our last frost date of 2018,  and how many days till harvest was expected. I thought about how many onions I would like to have to last a year. If I used an onion a day I might want to grow 365 onions then! I watched videos on how to braid onions to store them. I may not get 365 onions to grow but it is a goal now.

All the new windows were great for the seedlings. I was able to use natural lighting even as little as we have worked fine. I used trays to keep water from dripping everywhere and that worked well. Since we were in the middle of finishing the new addition to the cabin, there was no window trim yet and I was able to put up shelves. I have a new design idea for the brackets that should work better next year.

I used a homemade mix for soil starter at first and then purchased some dirt from the local shopping store. Growing plants really helped with the cabin fever we get after the long winter. Windows full of green and three feet of snow on the ground is pretty comical. Also, remind you that you really do believe spring is just around the corner.

Pruning the Kiwi Vines

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Female Kiwi Flower

I have had some amazing kiwi vines growing in my green house for the last few years.  I have two Arctic Beauty vines that I purchased from Northern Fruits in Palmer, AK.

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I had originally put up some plastic chicken wire for trellising the vines but discovered over the years that it catches the leaves and then as it got taller was blocking a lot of light and spiders were making webs of them and just getting very messy looking. So I actually did a lot of pruning and using scissors, cut out all  the plastic.

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Now I have it zip tied to some wire  I put up. It is all clean and tidy!

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I looked up some trimming ideas and will be learning more as this plant gets older. The kiwi needs lots of water in the spring and throughout the growing season I keep it well watered. I have it over a huglekultur bed so it seems to be well drained and doing well in this environment. Here is a link to an article I read years ago about huglekultur.  Huglekultur

Kiwi need to mature at least four years before they bear fruit. I am very excited for when it will produce fruit.