Continuing the gardening blog:
We had very little space before moving out where we are now and where we have a little more room for gardening. We started with a 6 x 10 pre-fab greenhouse which would fit the small area we had with a little room left over for a garden in the soil roughly the same size. It took quite a while to get the ph of the water balanced and the bacteria in the grow beds balanced where we could introduce the plants and the fish.
I half-buried a 300 gallon water tank for the fish and built the grow beds out of 2×4 stock and plywood then lined them with very heavy pond liner. The grow beds are raised to waist level. You’ll see in all of my writing about our gardening that we are pretty big on raised gardening. At my age and with recurring back problems it makes it much easier on me. I put a window in the end of the greenhouse to get some cross ventilation and put insulation between the grow beds and the outside of the greenhouse from the top of the bed to the floor.
We plumbed a PVC collar around both grow beds with small holes drilled every six inches and connected the PVC to a pump down in the bottom of the water tank. A hole with a 4 inch PVC drain took the water back down to the tank. An insert into the collar of the drain held another piece of PVC with small holes drilled into it to regulate the amount of water flowing back into the tank. That was a matter of trial and error to get the right number of holes that would keep the water level in the grow bed at the level we wanted.
The fish part of the aquaponics came when we introduced a dozen fingerling catfish. Over the course of the first season some of the smaller fingerlings were eaten by larger ones until we ended up with two good sized fish. We planted lettuce, onions and tomatoes the first season, but the tomatoes took over the entire greenhouse, pushing the rest out after small harvests. In an aquaponics growbed the plants are basically growing in water, no soil, held in place by a bed full of small clay pellets. We were giving away tomatoes by the sack full.
In the small outside garden we grew a half dozen squash and zucchini which turned out to be quite prolific. We also had a row of green beans that did well. We planted okra and got some production from it but not what we had hoped. But we enjoyed getting into gardening and would soon move, still in the city limits, but further out where we could have more room for growing. We live in a manufactured home, and the neighbors who lived by us there decided to move out with us. We got four city lots between us with no fence in between, which gave us room to take our gardening up to the next level.
They key to a hydroponic setup is the solution added to the water. This provides the nutrients, trace minerals, etc. something like Dyna Grow. Right now we are trying Sea90. Do need to check the ph balance and ec occasionally.
Dutch bucket hydroponics https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXy32Dr4Z4A
Hydroponic fertilizer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYv9iu2NI3M
Hydroponic nutrients https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tI2K45je-Rw
Aquaponic vs hydroponic https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgCRZAVA3Ms
Best hydroponic nutrients https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuMMWMgPopY
Hydroponic gear and products https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPCuRxQQv-E