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Grow Bed Build – Bed #2 Complete!


Got this one done in double-quick time!

Since building the first, I now know what lengths are needed without trial and error, plus I pre-cut some of the supports for the second bed when I was completing the first. Makes the work go by a whole lot faster 🙂

Now that the first two beds are completed, I can move on to getting them setup, lined, leveled and plumbed. I’ll then add additional beds in sets of two going forward till all 8 beds are completed. This should be interesting as now I’m having to pre-plan a bit with regards to how all the plumbing will work together (not just for the first two going forward, but all eight down the line).

Starting off, I’ll have 48 sq ft of growing space. Upon completion of all the beds this will give me 192 sq ft of grow bed area to work with! Not too shabby! I have also considered the possibility for expansion and so if down the road I’m feeling spunky, I can expand the width of the greenhouse to accommodate another 50% increase in grow bed space. That will be phase two. I’d also have to incorporate a sump tank into the setup to help keep my fish tank levels from dropping. So this idea is a bit of a ways down the road.

I’m getting quite excited now!

I should be ready to start cycling the system come mid-August.

A slight delay as I’ll be doing a bit of traveling in the coming weeks.

Progress is good! I’m happy.. and more updates to come! 🙂

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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 #2..


Took a tour of a commercial grade Aquaponics farm in Chandler, Arizona.. Rhiba Farms.

In comparison to the previous tour with Garden Pool, this was obviously an order of magnitude bigger than what I had seen before. A considerable amount of time and funding was spent on putting these facilities together and it shows. But it should in no way detract from the accomplishment the McClung families achievement.

This is version 1.0 of Rhiba Farms. There are currently plans in the works to move their entire facility over to a 3 acre plot in the near future, effectively increasing their size by about a factor of six!

The biggest surprises I found at this facility was that everything is raised on a foundation of asphalt (the current facility was at one time a phone servicing business). Mosquitoes were out in force over the floating beds since there was no barrier to keep them at bay. They are currently experimenting with small fish and shrimp in the beds to work on breaking down wastes, but also to act as a curb on the mosquito larvae that seem to thrive in these beds.

Our tour guide was actually the owner of the facility and took his time answering everyone’s questions (the tour was topping 2 1/2 hours before we had to depart). So if you are ever in the area, they give these tours the last Sunday of every month.

Unfortunately, video was not an option as my batteries were getting low, so I stuck with still frame shots. They do however cover the majority of the facility.

Siteplan of Rhiba Farms

Siteplan of Rhiba Farms

Seeding trays

Seeding trays

Rearing tanks (3,000 gallons), solids filter, de-gasser

Rearing tanks (3,000 gallons), solids filter, de-gasser

Floating beds (salad greens), make up 60-70% of his revenue

Floating beds (salad greens), make up 60-70% of his revenue

Sump tank (about 250 gallons)

Sump tank (about 250 gallons)

Rock box (bacteria and cooling, also grows peppers here)

Rock box (bacteria and cooling, also grows peppers here)

Greenhouse (about 25% of his revenue from here, edible flowers.. Really? Yes, really)

Greenhouse (about 25% of his revenue from here, edible flowers.. Really? Yes, really)

Showing his home based AP setup that's currently in development. Runs $3k.

Showing his home based AP setup that's currently in development. Runs $3k.