Building an Aquaponics system in the Dominican Republic. Part 5
We’ve had a good and steady week of work with great growth in both gardens. Seedlings are coming up everywhere in both the shade house and the garden beds, while growth in the aquaponics grow beds increases with strong leaf colour and fast growth.
Now that system 1 has a new barrel grow bed up and running, it is time to shut down and remodel the old grow bed. As with the first bed, the second had a very large ants nest in between the liner and the bottom boards that has to be removed. As I have mentioned before, the importance of the first gravel clean is evident again.
With the old liner, boards and gravel removed, it is time to do the conversion to a frame to hold the half barrels that have been cleaned and cut already.
With all the plumbing in after some aggravation with finding the right parts and joiners it has sealed up very well and can be replicated easily for next time. The beds will be filled with water on Monday and will become raft grow bed system, making System 1 a hybrid system (a combination of gravel beds and raft beds)
With System 2 showing good growth and good water readings, it is now time to add more pots to the raft beds.
As we do struggle to find some products here in the DR, it is important to make do with what we have and use alternatives. I ventured to the local supermarket and found a few different sized packets of plastic cups to make our own grow pots with.
I found a PVC pipe that was the perfect size to make a hole cutter with. With a long level, tape measure, and pencil, I cut the holes for the pots and cut slits into the plastic cups to let water through and roots to grow out of.
I’m using coco fiber as my growing medium, it helps with the hardness of the water and lowering the pH. I have been using it on top of the tanks’ bio-filter and although it has not been as fast a change as I would have liked, it has changed the water’s hardness and pH for the better. I will continue using it in more places like as the growing medium for raft beds and for the tomato pots.
The rest of the rafts will be filled once we increase the fish count in both systems to sustain more and larger plant growth.
It is both heart warming and sad when you can physically see the water use difference between aquaponics and standard vegetable gardening. It is easy to see why the claims of up to 90+% on water use from aquaonics are well founded.
The things we see.