Today, it was all about sustainability and appropriate technology (using what you have to make what you need). ECHO is an amazing farm that teaches missionaries how to make the most of their resources and specific gardening environments while fighting hunger worldwide. Thank you Craig for the behind the scenes tour!
If you haven’t been to ECHO yet, you don’t know what you are missing. Make sure you catch a tour at ECHO! You will definitely learn something new on either of their two tours. ECHO’s Global Farm Tour is a fascinating walking tour of the most creative working farm you have ever experienced. You will find demonstrations, plants, and techniques useful to farmers and urban gardeners in developing countries and learn all about ECHO’s mission of helping the poor help themselves. Experience seven settings of the Global Farm and taste tropical leaves while you explore rain-forest habitats, stop at a simulated rural school and witness urban gardening techniques that allow gardens on rooftops. You will also see some of our simple technologies and visit our friendly farm animals: goats, chickens, ducks, tilapia, and rabbits….and if that is not enough to entice you, ECHO has one of the largest collections of tropical food plants in the United States. Appropriate Technology tour discover simple technologies made from local or recycled materials that can improve lives. Learn how sand can be used to filter water, how manure can be converted into energy, even how a bicycle can be used to run a power saw!
This week we released the composting worms into the media bed to do their thing (vermicomposting). They help break down any excess and dead roots, fish solids, along with other organic matter in the beds that could otherwise produce anaerobic conditions in an aquaponics system. As an added benefit during that process, they release nutrients into the system for the plants to uptake that would not otherwise be available, mostly micronutrients and chelated minerals. Due to our hot climate, we chose a NightCrawler specimen rather than the more common Red Wiggler, who like the cooler temperatures. Didn’t take them long to run from the light.
Worm Release in Aquaponics Media Bed
More on the worms in the coming weeks, including how to build a DIY Worm Tea Brewer. The aerated worm tea contains lots of beneficial microbes that help the plants fight off pests and diseases naturally (not for human consumption). While you are waiting, here’s a great video from Murray Hallam about the Aquaponics Secret Weapon – the worms!
The Red Nile Tilapia are getting to a good healthy size. They are ranging now from 1″-3 1/2″ still being fed pellet crumbles and few whole pellets.
Red Nile Tilapia
The Blue Nile Tilapia are enjoying some duckweed in addition to the pellet rations. Some are getting to be breeder size. Time to build the hatchery!
If you live in their Central Florida area (Hernando/Pasco counties), I would strongly suggest joining their CSAs. They are wonderful giving people that were an absolute joy to meet.
Harvesting worms and worm castings
We took home our first pound of composting worms for the media bed and to start some vermicomposting. We picked the “Eudrilus eugeniae”, African Nightcrawlers, which can grow to 6-8″ long, have a flat belly and a purplish sheen; usually averages 600-1000 worms per pound. More details on Vermicomposting to come.
We are proud to be a Member of the Aquaponics Association, which each Spring the Aquaponics Association coordinates a nationwide educational event to bring more awareness to aquaponics called Tour De Tanks. Tour De Tanks allows commercial and hobbyists to display their systems and offers free tours to the public. This year GreenView Aquaponics is proud to be a host location for this event from Thursday-Sunday, May 15-18, 2014. To register for our free tours, please click here. This is a nationwide event, so if you are not local, check out the locator map to see if there is a tour available in your area.
Aquaponics Association Tour De Tanks 2014 host location
The Red Nile Tilapia were released from their mini-home to the whole tank. Some were too small on arrival and would have gone through the pick up tube into the media bed to their demise. No kamikaze’s here…all made it safe and sound!
Lettuces are growing like crazy in the DWC, but it’s starting to get hot. We’ll see how well they do in the coming weeks. Hit 92 already this week!
Wheat Grass and the microgreens are doing great. The Cucumbers in the Dutch Buckets are having a flower fest with tiny cukes forming every few inches.
Chickens still growing and check out those feathers! Btw…the chick’s not really that red (even though it’s a Rhode Island Red) that’s just the glow from the heat lamp to make it look like a pschydelic bird. Gave them a roost last week and they have all figured it out, but only 10 of the 12 fit up there…Heat lamp goes off this week.
We have our first chickens ever! Picked up six Rhode Island Reds and six Ameraucana 2-week old chicks in Wildwood, FL on Thursday on our way back home from Mother Earth News Fair in Asheville, NC this past weekend It was a traveling zoo after we picked up the next 50 Red Nile Tilapia fingerling in Clearwater, FL. Then it was the 12 chicks, 50 fish, and our 19-year old Jack Russell Terrier crammed in amongst the farm goodies and camping supplies for the last couple hundred miles. Not to mention, duckweed, 10 strawberry starts and a raspberry plant. 🙂
A big shout out to our neighbor – Denny – for watching after the farm in our absence! THANK YOU Denny! Everything is growing great!
Can’t believe we have cucumber blossoms a week after transplanting!
And a big Thank You to Rob for uncovering the sunflower microgreens!
Along with lots of booths proudly representing their innovative and sustainable products and services.
Let’s not forget the livestock.
As executive board members of the Aquaponics Association, Meg and Astrid manned a booth for the Aquaponics Association handing out lots of brochures as well as explaining aquaponics with the representative mini aquaponics system on display. The response was phenomenal.
For more information on the remaining Mother Earth News Fairs this year in other parts of the country, see their website. Next is Puyallup WA 5/31-6/1, then Seven Springs, PA 9/12-14
We have Sunflower Microgreens! Yummy! Our microgreens are available for sale online as a pre-order for those in Lee, Charlotte and/or Collier counties at our square marketplace. Several other varieties are available as well, such as kale, radish, broccoli, pea shoots, and wheat grass for juicing! We offer farm pick up for the online pre-orders on Wednesdays from 4pm – 7pm and Saturdays from 10am – 2pm. Contact us if you need delivery or large quantities.
In our greenhouse whole organic sunflower seeds are planted in a soilless mixture and grown for 7 days until they become baby plants, also referred to as microgreens. These microgreens provide us with incredible health benefits and are delicious eaten as snacks on their own or can transform even the most ordinary of salads, sandwiches or wraps into a presentation that is equally impressive and nourishing. Simply put, sunflower microgreens are one of the best foods you can add to your diet for overall health and well being.
Unfortunately, like all microgreens, it is virtually impossible to find them fresh on the market. This is why we have set up a system that allows you to pre-order your sunflower microgreens to receive them the very same day that they are harvested.
Sunflower greens are a nutritional powerhouse packed with vitamins A, B complex, D, and E; they also contain minerals including calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus.
They are a perfect source of complete protein. In fact, they are considered to be the most balanced of all of the sources of essential amino acids. Protein is well-known for its ability to repair muscle tissue and aid in enzymatic functions in the body.
Sunflower microgreens may activate every cell in the immune system.
They are high in B vitamins, especially folate. Folate (or folic acid) is a necessary B vitamin for pregnant women. Folate helps to protect babies from developing neural tube defects (NTDs). The combination of B vitamins also assists in the mother’s circulation as well as aids in stress relief. In fact, sunflower microgreens are rich in all of the nutrients that are important during pregnancy such as iron, calcium, essential fats, and folate.
Sunflower microgreens are a rich source of lecithin, which helps break down fatty acids into an easily digestible water soluble form.
They are rich in chlorophyll, which benefits many functions within the body, including building blood supply, revitalizing tissue, calming inflammation, activating enzymes, and deodorizing the body.
Sunflower microgreen is a natural expectorant for chest congestion: In Ayurvedic medicine, these greens are thought to have the ability to encourage clearance of the lungs. Natural expectorants may also be used as a preventative measure against lower respiratory infections to deter the invasion of pathogens.
They may boost your antioxidant capacity since these sunflower microgreens contain high amounts of vitamin E. Vitamin E works synergistically with vitamin C and selenium to reduce blood pressure, increase the elasticity of arteries and prevent heart disease.
Sunflower microgreens may build the skeletal, muscular, and neurological systems.
They may boost your fertility since they contain high amounts of zinc. Zinc is a well-researched mineral that is essential for the development of sperm.
Sunflower microgreens are low in calories and high in nutrition, making them ideal for any natural and healthy fat loss program
DIY Dutch Bucket System for Aquaponics
Our dutch bucket system is based on the one in this YouTube video by mhpgardner with some improvements to make it work in our aquaponics system. Make sure if you are using recycled buckets that they are food grade or had something food grade stored in them. We planted ours with field peas and cucumbers. Let’s see how they do.
HINT: Don’t use a flat paper towel, like Viva. The seeds will not come off. Use a textured paper towel or a dish cloth for easier removal. Or ferment your seeds in a jar of water for a few days and rinse, then dry. Make sure they are completely dry before storing and use a food grade desiccant.
Cuttings for propagation from the leftover tomatoes from October’s grafting class.
Or neem oil would be another option. Neem is a key ingredient in non-pesticidal management (NPM), providing a natural alternative to synthetic pesticides. Neem seeds are ground into a powder that is soaked overnight in water and sprayed onto the crop. To be effective, it is necessary to apply repeatedly, at least every ten days. Neem does not directly kill insects on the crop. It acts as an anti-feedant, repellent, and egg-laying deterrent, protecting the crop from damage. The insects starve and die within a few days. Neem also suppresses the hatching of pest insects from their eggs.
Parking Lot is being demarcated with some recycled electrical poles and recycled dock pilings with caps!
This week the last of the micro green system is the 150 gallon tank and the automatic timer….installed! Time to start seeding!