Our Aquaponics system has been up for about 7 weeks now and after showing signs of being ready for growing, we finally got to add some seeds!
I just wanted to give a quick update, and discuss what we did to get here from the start. If you are looking for instructions on how to build a system like this for yourself, click here!
Initially, to kickstart the system we used the stumps of organic green onions that we bought at the store. On May 6th 2017 we took the stumps after using the onions and planted them in the grow bed. This was our first foray into regrowing, and it was so successful that it won’t be our last!
After a couple of days we added a celery and a lettuce stump to the grow bed as well. The celery really started to pop (as did the lettuce, however it did not seem to be doing as well as the celery).
It was astonishing how quickly the green onions grew. After about 12 days we were ready for our first harvest. It was so cool to see how wildly the roots grew, shooting off into many directions! At this time we pulled the celery and lettuce. They did not grow a lot, but the stumps were showing signs that they were starting to decompose.
Upon testing, our tank was still not showing signs of being fully cycled (this can take about 6-8 weeks). We planted a second “crop” of green onion stumps, which also took about 12 days to harvest. They were planted on May 19th 2017 and pulled on June 1st 2017.
Instead of getting new onion stumps, we clipped the onions and left the stumps in the grow bed. After 12 days this crop was also ready to pull however it was not in as good shape as the previous lot.
We got our toddler to pull this crop. Part of our motivation with the project is to instil a love of nature and self sufficiency in our children!
After this final harvest we were happy to see that our water testing showed signs that our system had cycled.
We planted Swiss Chard seeds and Romaine Lettuce seeds. We did one type of seed per side, and also added a row of new green onion stumps to the back of the grow bed (we wanted to make sure there was some root activity from the get-go to keep our levels in a good place).
So far it has been a couple of days and we are already seeing some sprouting. We read that aquaponics can grow quite quickly and so far this has been true!
A couple of other things that we have updated since first posting:
- We fiddled with the pipe that flows into the fish tank in an attempt to oxygenate the water more effectively. Basically we shortened it so that when the water flows into the tank it thoroughly swirls the water.
- We covered the grow bed to protect it from algae growth. The tub we used for a grow bed is clear, which while relaxing to watch also put it at risk of developing algae. At the moment we have protected it by putting up a blanket but this is temporary until we come up with a more permanent solution.
I am hoping to give updates on this system at least monthly as we continue, so don’t forget to subscribe to us!
Our Instagram will have more frequent updates, so if you’re interested in those, follow us there!