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The Termite Mansions New Lease on Life – New Aquaponics Build Begins!

So, here was all this wood just sitting in our yard, a vestige from the previous owner. We didn’t like the old shed, we didn’t care for its location.. so what did we do?

In all honesty, I wasn’t sure how much of the old shed might be salvageable, but surprisingly I’d say we were able to save ourselves about $250 in lumber material by taking from the old and re-purposing for the new. The new in this case is a continuance of our desire to build an Aquaponics Greenhouse in our backyard. This is no small task. Financially it definitely goes beyond a simple home setup. But with a little patience and a lot of hard work we hope to end up using 1/5 of our backyard for the sole purpose of growing food.

Now the best way I can see of taking on this task it to start initially with the idea of how much grow area we will appear to have available then building a fish tank that will be of an appropriate size to accommodate that grow area. Eventually the mindset came out to be that the larger the amount of water volume you have in your system, the more stable its going to be from variations in nutrients, Ph and temperature fluctuations. So for our purposes we decided to start big on the tank and limit the initial amount of fish based on the amount of grow bed area we’d have available. This would allow us to size up as additional beds are added to the system, but provide a much more stable environment right from the get-go. Our tank will be 8′ long x 4′ wide x 3.5′ deep. This gives us a total volume of 112 sf, or just shy of 837 gallons for the tank… and that is where I begin the actual build of the AP for our greenhouse.

As you can see from the pictures, there was plenty of reclaimed wood that escaped termite damage from our old shed. I figure I’ve got enough OSB board and 2×4 material to complete the fish tank and at least 2 grow beds to start. What you don’t see is the sheer amount of time I had to spend ‘de-nailing/screwing’ this timber. I spent 2 days and roughly 11 hours dedicated solely to that purpose.

In the last shot, you are seeing the beginning of the base for the tank itself. I will be adding prodigious amounts of reinforcement as 837 gallons of water is equivelant to 3 1/2 tons!!!

Extra reinforcement, coupled with the fact that I intend to bury this tank in the ground should provide enough support to keep anything from busting (fingers crossed).

I’ll keep you appraised!

Urban Farm Fanatic Item #2 – Aquaponics Greenhouse… The Build Continues!

Well, the opportunity to finally get down to the fun part of building the greenhouse, i.e… actually building the greenhouse has come! No bushes to dig out, no irrigation to dig around for, no screening out river rocks. Just fun old, “Break out the power tools and grunt like Tim the Toolman Taylor building!!!” Arrrrghhh arrrgh aaahhhh!!! 🙂

Originally my thought was to just start adding in a few images as the build progressed, but by the end of the day I had realized that I had been quite the camera bug.. and so putting together just a few still frames wasn’t going to do this build the justice it deserved. After all, you plan a project for months, you need to give it the full blogging treatment. So, I decided to dust off what little knowledge I have about video editing and put together a nice little clip of the days progress… and yes, this all occurred in just one day! (The magic of the hoop house build.) All together about 8 hours of work.

After completing the first days work, I’d have to say the hardest part of the initial build was the 2x4x6 foundation. I was wanting that to be as level as I could get it, but realized that the ground was in no way level for my needs. I pre-drilled holes for each of the pieces on my back porch which I knew to be level, then moved them into the yard for assembly (the greenhouse’s dimensions are 12×40). I used scrap blocks to add support to the low lying areas. Followed that up with the sledgehammering of the 3 foot re-bar pieces (drove those half way into the ground.. my right hand is dead by the way from swinging an 8 pound sledgehammer).

As for the easiest part, that would be the assembling and installation of the PVC supports. Got a nice little 45 degree joint to mount the two 10 foot sections together, slid one end over the re-bar on one side, then bent and slid it over on the opposing side. That part took all of 20 minutes to complete the entire hoop!

Next weekend I will be receiving a large order of rock that will be applied to the foundation. The plan was to do that anyway and I thought it better to work with the rock in order to achieve a level base rather than trying to dig up the surrounding dirt and raking that around. But as I said.. next weekend.. right now the old bod is ridiculously sore, so I’m going to be giving it a breather before I put it back to work!

Enjoy the video!!! 🙂

Fanatic Inspiration #3..

If ever you need ideas, the webs just a click away 🙂

Dislike of Corporate ‘Farming’..

The concept of this message is sound. The means by which its delivered is quite engaging. Granted.. this is by Chipotle.. sooooo take this with a grain of salt in regards to their motives 😉