Farm Update | All about the Strawberries | Festival | Florida Radiance | Camarosa | Fish Tank Heaters | Harvest Baskets

VertiGro installation is nearing the end as all the drip irrigation was added. Next come the misters for heating and the hoop house structure.

Vertigro Drip Installation

Vertigro Drip Installation

Drip Installation

Drip Installation

Vertigro Drip Install

Vertigro Drip Install

 

Radiance Strawberries

Florida Radiance Strawberries

Festival Strawberry

Festival Strawberry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Strawberries are loving the cooler weather.

All 560 strawberry plants seem to have taken. Planted 3 varieties – Camarosa, Festival and Florida Radiance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The tilapia are happy again. We had to add fish tank heaters and heavy exterior tank insulation this week as the water temps started dropping after two nights in a row in the 40s and a day in between with little or no sunshine to warm ambient air up past 58F. They enjoyed the brief sunshine during the day once we hit the 70s again, but will be covered and wrapped each night below 50F.

Red Nile Tilapia with Heater

Red Nile Tilapia with Heater

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 Farmer’s Market at Pelican Preserve was a bit chilly this week, but there were the faithful who braved the cold for their healthy produce.

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These are our two Organic Harvest Baskets for this week.  The one on the left is a $25 Organic Harvest Basket, which includes 2 lettuces, corn, green beans, rainbow carrots, apples, shallots, potatoes, radish and a choice of cranberries, pie pumpkin or roma tomatoes.  The one on the right is a $20 Organic Harvest Basket, which includes 2 lettuces, corn, green beans, rainbow carrots, apples, shallots, and potatoes. To sign up for the Buying Club, click here and to buy either one click here.

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Farm Update | Prepping Strawberries for Planting | Installing VertiGro Towers | DIY Compost Bin

Rolling Fish Tanks

Rolling Fish Tanks

Our quest for strawberries started with rolling the fish tanks through the greenhouse to the planned fish house area.

 

 

 

 

Those really are not crop circles, just where the fish tanks were previously stored.

Strawberry Field

Strawberry Field

Vertigro stakes

Vertigro stakes

 

Next was putting in the stakes for the posts

 

 

 

 

This is what happens when Farmer Tim is left alone too long - selfies :)

This is what happens when Farmer Tim is left alone too long – selfies 🙂 or maybe it was all the math from laying out the stakes and posts!!

Vertigro Posts

Vertigro Posts

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prepping Strawberries

Prepping Strawberries

Lots of Vertigro Pots

Vertigro Posts

Vertigro Posts

The strawberries arrived dormant and refrigerated

 

 

 

 

 

Vertigro in the Rain

Vertigro in the Rain

Strawberry Planting station

Strawberry Planting station

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vertigro Post install

Vertigro Post install

Strawberry Planting

Strawberry Planting

 

 

 

 

 

 

Planting progress

Planting progress


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Planted 180 Camarosa strawberries and 143 Florida Radiance.


DIY Composting Bins made from ordinary pallets. We simply screwed three pallets together to make the sides and back. For the front we added a couple planks to the side of the pallets to create a stacking front wall that can be raised or lowered as you go to make adding materials (and later removing compost) easier. This is a hot compost bin and will be added to for an entire year, then allowed to sit for one year and used for plantings the year after that.

DIY Pallet Compost Bin

DIY Pallet Compost Bin

We also built a bin to hold hay and/or our brown matter to make our lives easier.

Hay Bin for Composting

Hay Bin for Composting

Composting

Composting

Farm Update | Farmers Market | VertiGro Class | Honey and the Bees

 

Farmers Market at Pelican Preserve

Farmers Market at Pelican Preserve

 


 Vertigro Class

Vertigro Class (Tim and Tim)

 

 Vertigro Class

Vertigro Class

Vertigro Class

 

 

 

Vertigro Class

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Honey and the Unhappy Bees

Our hives were getting honey bound, so we pulled a couple frames of honey today. Leaving the hives a bit unhappy and confused. Lucky for us, they gladly make more.

Full Frame of Honey

Full Frame of Honey

 

Unhappy Bees

Unhappy Bees

Unhappy Bees

Unhappy Bees

Farm Update | Endwalls with Lower Purlins | Pickling | 12 Seasons Farm Tour | Laying Hens

Endwalls and Purlins Done

Endwalls and Purlins Done

Endwalls and Purlins Done

Endwalls and Purlins Done

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Pickled Shallots, Jalapeños and Cucumbers

Pickled Shallots, Jalapeños and Cucumbers


 

12 Seasons Farm

12 Seasons Farm

We visited Danny and his family at 12 Seasons Farm in Olga. They are a very giving family in spirit and knowledge. We purchased some strawberry plants from them, shared lunch and helped plant a few of their strawberries at their planting party.


Rhode Island Red Laying

Rhode Island Red Laying

Americauna Laying

Americauna Laying

Farm Update | New Honey Bees and How-To Pages

We had a new Honey Bee ( Apis mellifera ) delivery in the early part of the week from the Bees Choice.  Yay!  There were some minor delays in getting queens this year due to the massive pesticide incident in California during the end of the pollination of the almond crops. Someone “accidentally” killed 80,000 colonies by tank-mixing pesticides and spraying during the daytime hours while the bees were out foraging. That’s a LOT of bees when you multiply that by 40,000-80,000 per hive. So sad. 1,300 beekeepers suffered losses. This also started the initiatives from the White House to Save the Bees!  Without these wonderful pollinators, the United States would be out of food in less that four years!

This brings me back to our little story…in Florida, we have an africanized honey bee drone population for queens to mate with (a no-no), so we have to buy queens from areas that are not yet infiltrated or ones that were artificially inseminated to help dilute this current drone population. The goal is that the more beekeepers we have in Florida that follow the best management practices, the more we can dilute the undesirable traits of the africanized drone population. The beekeepers in most of the southern states have to order queens, in addition to the 1,300 beekeepers that lost their colonies in California, which caused an unexpected high demand and therefore, low supplies and delays. Our queens made a long journey from Hawaii to be with us.

Our two 5-frame NUCs should be ready to be transferred to their new lavender 10-frame Langstroth hives very soon.

GreenView Aquaponics Family Farm and Apiary NUCs GreenView Aquaponics Family Farm and Apiary NUCs GreenView Aquaponics Family Farm and Apiary NUCs


This week, we were at Mote Marine’s Aquaculture Park (sturgeon facility) and ECHO where we made some new friends and met up with the Phil and the crew from Morningstar Fishermen.

The remainder of the week was a clean up week since it’s a holiday weekend – Happy Birthday America!

  • Lots of mowing and weedeating since the grass, pastures and weeds grow REALLY fast down here in Florida with our hot, rainy summers. By the time you finish, you have to start all over again if you don’t get rained out in the process. 😉
  • Getting materials for next weeks projects – end wall posts to be installed. Yay!
  • Procured a walk-in cooler that we disassembled and transported most of last week that needs a new home in the Quonset. Still trying to figure out exactly where.

We’ve added some Resource pages under HOW-TO link in the menu above. Pages that have links are completed, those that do not are planned and we hope to keep adding to these as we go along. Those following us on this blog and Facebook will be the first to know! So, don’t forget to follow us and LIKE us, if you haven’t already.

Currently, we have:

Florida Gardening – planting calendars, guide for herbs, guide for vegetables/fruits, integrated pest identification and options and other useful online resources that we have come across. More coming soon

Florida Beekeeping – calendar of blooming plants, FL BMPs, diseases and pest of the honey bees, beekeeping associations, and other useful online resources that we have come across.

Aquaponics – here we plan to add Q&A type info from the questions we tend to be asked more frequently. Got ?s, let us know.  The most specific information on aquaponics will be in the DIY Projects section for those that have attended our classes.

Recipes – here we plan to add recipes for many of the items as we get ready to harvest to  allow everyone to see the versatility that heirloom vegetables and fruits can have.

DIY Projects – here we plan to put all the handouts and materials from our various classes. It will be a members-only section, log-in information will be provided at each class.


Still planting and harvesting microgreens (sunflower, radish, broccoli, wheat grass available) and our 3 foot basils (genovese, citrus and thai available). The citrus basil knocks our socks off. It’s really flavorful. Let us know if you want to pop by for an order.

GreenView Aquaponics Family Farm Genovese Basil

Genovese Basil

GreenView Aquaponics Family Farm Citrus Basil and Thai Basil

Thai Basil and Citrus Basil

ECHO | North Fort Myers FL

ECHO Tour

ECHO Research Farm Tour

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!

ECHO Tour

Biogas Digest

ECHO Tour

Bamboo Bike

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Ram Pump

ECHO Tour IMG_5872 IMG_5822 ECHO Tour IMG_5956                           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!

Farm Update | City of Cape Coral gave us the Thumbs Up!

After 6 weeks of discussions, we finally have our occupational license from the City of Cape Coral!! A great big THANK YOU to Vince Cautero for making it happen! 


Microgreens are back in production!

Available next week: Wheat Grass, Popcorn shoots (green and blanched), Pea Shoots w Tendrils; and Microgreens: Broccoli, Fenugreek, Kale, Mustard, Radish, Sunflower

GreenView Aquaponics Family Farm | Wheat Grass | local microgreens

Wheat Grass

GreenView Aquaponics Family Farm | Sunflower | local microgreens

Sunflower Microgreens

 

GreenView Aquaponics Family Farm | Popcorn Shoots | local microgreens

Green Popcorn Shoots (also available blanched)


 

Grape tomatoes are growing like crazy!

GreenView Aquaponics Family Farm | Grape Tomatoes | Local Produce

Aquaponically grown                   Grape Tomatoes

GreenView Aquaponics Family Farm | Grape Tomatoes | Local Produce

Grape Tomatoes in the Hoophouse

Farm Update | Worms in Aquaponics and Worm Tea and Fish Update

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.

GreenView Aquaponics Family Farm | Worm Release

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.

GreenView Aquaponics Family Farm | Red Nile Tilapia | Farm Fresh Fish

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!

GreenView Aquaponics Family Farm | Blue Nile Tilapia | Fingerling and Fry

Blue Nile Tilapia


Reloading the DIY Black Soldier Fly BioComposter… papaya and other goodies we didn’t get to in time.

GreenView Aquaponics Family Farm | Black Soldier Fly Composter

BSF Composter

Avocado tree grafting | Naples, FL

Today, we met the most charming and inspiring couple, Jenny and David Burd of Friendly Burd Tree Service as they were presenting a Fruit Tree Grafting workshop in Naples, FL. We learned how to graft avocado and mango trees. For us students, learning how to graft means being able to prune years off what it would usually take to raise a mature fruit tree, allowing us to produce a viable food source in a short period of time. For example, a mango tree grown from seed can take 7-9 years to bear fruit, whereas a grafted mango tree can produce fruit in as little as 3 years. Grafting also provides farmers with an opportunity to create trees that are able to withstand a variety of climates and environments. You will also know more about the characteristics of the fruit they’ll be producing, in particular the quality and taste of the fruit by grafting known scions of existing delicious mango trees with resistant and hardy rootstocks. David Burd is known as SW Florida’s grafting guru and the Mango Man with more than 70 mango trees in his backyard.

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Thank you Robert Halman at Collier County IFAS for putting this workshop together.

Resources:
Avocado Grafting
Mango Grafting

Canning Class | Fort Myers, FL

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Today was canning class. Lots of chopping, lots of preciseness and lots of pickled carrots and regular carrots.  The importance of following the recipes to the letter is critical in home canning to avoid botulism and food poisoning. If the recipe says 1/2″ pieces in a pint mason jar, then it must be 1/2″ pieces in a pint jar and not 3/4″ pieces in a quart mason jar. For the same reason, it is also important to use reputable recipes from reputable sources, such as Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving (or at the very least the recipes from the manufacturer of your pressure canner) Grandma’s recipe simply may not be safe!  Knowing the acidity of your food that you are planning to preserve determines which canning method you should use. Low acid foods, like tomatoes, must be done in a pressure canner; where as high acid foods can be done in a water bath canner. Thank you Celia for making our canning experience such an informative one!

Resources:

Canning Class