Monday, August 29, 2011

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Replanting of Raft Beds After 4 Weeks of Autopilot

It's been a heck of a time since I posted any updates. That's because I was away on vacation for 3 weeks, and then even after I got back, it's taken a while to get back in the "swing" of things.

The time off served as a good test for the system. Sure, my caretaker watched after it, feeding the fish and taking water measurements. And he threw plants out that were stricken with disease. Maybe it was more of a good test for me! Normally, I can't wait to get back to the farm every weekend to check on things. This is a good thing, but it's also important to have enough confidence in the system and the person watching after it to be able to let go for a while.

All the tomato plants that were in the floating raft beds had to be thrown out. Apparently, they were afflicted by the same black, filmy, bugs that took out my watermelons a month or so ago. The same thing happened to the eggplants.

The floating rafts were proving tricky for the growth of tomato plants anyway. The roots were so developed they were clogging the flow of water from one bed to the other. That's because the floating beds are only connected via a 1" or so pipe and there is almost nothing I can do about that and keep these particular beds.

I will only grow lettuce and other not-so-large plants in them going forward. Tomato plants will have to go into the gravel beds or whicking beds for now on.

I brought the level of fish feed down to 1/2 the normal amount in the last two weeks, due to all the plants that had been taken out. I am bumping that back up to normal now that I have the floating rafts planted again.

I don't have any plans for the vertical grow towers at this point. I obviously need a stronger pump and I don't feel like making that investment right now!

I replanted the rafts beds with lettuce this weekend.
The first video below was taken the day I returned to the farm. The second video shows the planting of lettuce plants in the raft beds yesterday. It shows how to remove the starters from nursery trays, how to wash them and how to place them in the raft beds. Obviosuly, there are many different ways of doing these things, and different people have different "tricks" they use.  Would be interested to know how other people do these things.

If the first video doesn't play, click here.

If  the second video doesn't play, click here.