Click to view this email in a browser

Friendly Aquaponics Newsletter
Number 151
December 10th,  2013
Images from our farmily aquaponics farm
Aloha Friend

Our new book: "Aquaponics The EASY Way!" is done!

Sincere thanks (!) to everyone who purchased it at our presale discount. We sent you an email with a link to download your copy of this E-book on Friday, December 5th. If you purchased the book but did not receive this link, email me (Tim) and I will fix it.

To purchase this E-book for only $29.95, click here. By the way, it's an excellent textbook for aquaponics for students from 6th grade on up. If you are a teacher, school administrator, or other faculty member, email us for information on pricing and volume discounts for textbook use.


Today's "Nugget #151" subject is "Seeding, Germination, and Sprouting" (below our sales pitch for our trainings).
We cover
how to easily and economically seed and sprout plants to get them ready for your aquaponic system; also, our invention of the "sprouting table" (in 2007, please correct me if someone else invented it first!).

Our side column today
is Part 2 of "Martin's Fish", first of the "Fishing Chronicles", when Tim was on his 37-foot cutter "Spice" in the Marquesas Islands.

Friendly 2014 Commercial Aquaponics and Greenhouse Trainings:


Texas Training from January 13th to the 17th at Ben Godfrey's farm in Milam County, Texas (Click here for more information!).


One-day CSA (Consumer Supported Agriculture) Course given by Ben and Alysha Godfrey at their farm on January 18th, Saturday (click here for more information!).


Tennessee Training from January 27th to the 31st at Randy Campbell's farm in Elora, Tennessee (Click here for more information!).


(Below) One of Ben and Alysha Godfrey's aquaponics systems in a greenhouse in Milam County, Texas. I can't wait to taste their system water! lettuce2-385px

(Below) Another of Ben and Alysha's aquaponic greenhouses.
BenGodfrey1

(Below) Tim drinking water from one of Randy and Katie's aquaponics systems at a Tennessee training. "I've been doing this for six years; I'm certain the food from these systems is safe and healthy" (Tim).  TimWaterDrinkingNugget


These five-day trainings allow you to travel during the weekend so that you only need to take a week off your busy life to attend, and include our $999 DIY Commercial Aquaponics package, $998 DIY Farmer's Market Aquaponic Solar Greenhouse package, and new $295 DIY Commercial Tilapia Hatchery manual as course materials, plus our Plywood/Epoxy/ Tank manual, CAD construction drawings for all greenhouses and aquaponics systems, and much more!


(Below) Randy and Tim showing attendees at a Tennessee training how easy it is to use a DO (dissolved oxygen) meter to measure oxygen levels in the vegetable troughs.

DOMeterTimNRandyNugget


In Tennessee: Call Randy and Katie at 256-679-9488 or email Randy to find out when the next farm tour is scheduled.


In Texas: Call Ben at 254-697-2927 or email Ben to find out when their next "Family Day" farm tour is scheduled ($15 fee per family is charged).


More details of the Aquaponics Technology course here.


More details of the Aquaponic Solar Greenhouse course here.


More details of the Commercial Aquaponics course here.


(Below) Randy and Katie's Chinese-style Aquaponic Solar Greenhouse in Tennessee in the February snow, 2013. 70 degrees inside and you had to take your coat off when working with the vegetables!

GreenhouseSnow3Small 2


An Aquaponic Solar Greenhouse with the participants in our second June 2013 course in Tennessee!

June2013Class1-385px 2


For smaller home backyard and apartment systems, please read on:
box_top.gif
Purchase Construction Plans and Operating Info for 4 Different Sizes of Table Top Aquaponics Systems $49.95

Our TableTop System package includes easy-to-understand building instructions and operating information for 4 different sizes of small aquaponic systems based on our years of experience. Anyone can build a system out of plastic barrels or IBC totes, but operating one successfully without good and easily-understood information can be frustrating. You simply use the "Daily Operations Checklist" in the manual and follow the step-by-step instructions on your way to success. We also cover how to make aquaponics systems out of weird things like old refrigerators and door frames; this makes aquaponics much more economical to get started in, and fun too!

We spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, hundreds of hours, and built our first commercial aquaponics systems with FAR less information than this manual contains. We included all the information learned from that experience in this manual so you don't need to make any of the same mistakes we did.

Learn about our TableTop Systems!

box_bottom.gif


Aquaponics Nugget #151, Part 1: Seeding, Germination, and Sprouting


Conventional Sprouting On Greenhouse Tables Was OK (The first thing we tried)

 

Good aquaponics sprouting methods involve putting the seeds into a potting media. Right from the beginning, we always used 60% fine coconut fiber (coir) and 40% vermiculite for this – NEVER use anything that contains peat, soil, or other “potting mixtures”, even if it says it’s sterile, as it will bring fungi and destructive molds into your system! Wet the coconut fiber overnight, then break into small pieces to mix more easily with the vermiculite.

 

Put this potting mixture in 2-inch slit pots in a plastic nursery tray that holds a lot of them for easy handling, then put the seeds on the top of the damp potting mix in the pots. Now, spread a thin layer of vermiculite only on top of the pot, covering the seed with 1/8 inch or so of vermiculite. Put the nursery tray in a shaded place, preferably warmer than the surroundings (if it is cold), and cooler than the surroundings (if it is really hot) for germination.


Special Note: You don't need to use bigger slit pots than this: we've grown a 7-pound taro corm and a 3.4 pound turnip in -inch pots using this technique! We tried leeks in 3-inch pots for awhile (3-4 leeks to a pot), until we realized we weren't getting any better production per pot, and were using more system real estate with the 3-inch pots!

 

You want the germination area to be around 80 degrees F in the shade, if you can manage that; this will give you optimum germination. “Germination” is the period during which the little plant sticks its first roots out and puts out its first two tiny leaves. After 3 to 4 days, your seeds will have germinated into sprouts, and you can move them to a nursery table (which is a wire-topped table that drains excess water).

 

While they’re on the nursery table, you water them regularly with an overhead spray system or by hand-watering with a watering can until they sprout and you put them into the system. Since this system does not use any kind of nutrient solution for watering, the sprouted plants grow more slowly than is possible with other methods.


This is the method we first used, and it worked OK (but not well). The seeds took around three weeks before they were ready to go in the aquaponics system.

 

Sprouting Table System Using Aquaponics' Water Was Best! (We’ve never been too happy with just “OK”)

 

Our best aquaponics sprouting methods involve putting the seeds into a potting media that has been soaked overnight with aquaponics system water. We always use 60% fine coconut fiber (coir) and 40% vermiculite for this – NEVER use anything that contains peat, soil, or other “potting mixtures”, even if it says it’s sterile, as it will bring fungus and destructive molds into your system! Wet the coconut fiber overnight with aquaponics system water in a bucket or plastic trash can, then break into small pieces to mix more easily with the vermiculite in a 60% coir/40% verrmiculite mix.

 

Put this potting mixture in slit pots in a plastic nursery tray that holds a lot of them for easy handling, then put the seeds on the top of the damp potting mix in the pots. We generally use 32-space trays, a common nursery and garden store item. Now, spread a thin layer of vermiculite only on top of the pot, covering the seed with 1/8 inch or so of vermiculite.


Put the nursery tray in a shaded place, preferably warmer than the surroundings (if it is cold), and cooler than the surroundings (if it is really hot) for germination; you want the germination area to be around 80 degrees F in the shade, if you can manage that; this will give you optimum germination. “Germination” is the period during which the little plant sticks its first roots out and puts out its first two tiny leaves.

 

What we use now for sprouting (for our smaller backyard systems) after the seeds germinate is a waterproof 4-foot by 8-foot sprouting table: a simple plywood and lumber-framed table with a fiberglass coating in the bottom and 2 inches up the sides, with a drain fitting at one end to drain the water back to the aquaponics troughs. We put the slit pots in nursery trays that hold 32 pots and they go on top of this table.


(Below) Our 24-foot-long sprouting tables (for commercial operation). They drain back to the aquaponics troughs visible lower on the right.

sproutingtable


We sprinkle the smaller 4' x 8' tables once a day with a watering can filled with Aquaponics system water. The big commercial sprouting tables are even less work than this, because they gravity flow from the fish tank. All one has to do is turn on a valve at one end of each table and come back 15 minutes later: all the pots in the table have been nicely watered from the water flowing by underneath them and wicking up through the potting mix in the pots. I can water 54,000 sprouts in 12 sprouting tables in a total of about 8 minutes a day.

 

The idea is to just keep the potting media medium damp without soaking it or letting it dry out. This germinates and starts seeds really well, because of the nutrients contained in the system water you are using to keep the potting media moist with. Slit pots and trays to hold them can be purchased at garden stores and greenhouse supply houses. And the best part? Seeds that used to take 3 weeks now sprout in ten days using this method.


This is hugely important for a commercial operation, since this technique cut our sprouting time in half, meaning more production. It also meant that we only needed half as many sprouting tables, since the sprouts came off the tables in half the time!


Thanks to all the readers of the last newsletter who sent in suggestions for a newsletter series. We got an overwhelming vote for this week's subject. Next week, we'll continue this series on seeding, germination, and sprouting systems for aquaponics.


After this series is done, we could use another round of suggestions on the next most important topic that you, the readers, suggest. What are you interested in hearing more about?


Please email Tim and make your request for a subject, either for a single newsletter, or for a series. Thanks for listening!.



The Friendly  Aquaponics Way Video!
~~~~~~~~~~~
Back Issues Of Newsletters Now Available, Click Here!
~~~~~~~~~~~
Trough Liner Distributors:
West Coast USA
East Coast USA

~~~~~~~~~~~
Click here for Trout fry and fingerlings directly from the hatchery to you!

~~~~~~~~~~~
Spanish Language Micro System package now available!
~~~~~~~~~~~
Free Farm Tours

..............................................
DSC02309
Aquaponics tour at the Friendly farm!

We hold a free Farm Tour on our farm the FIRST Saturday of every month at 10:00,  focused on growing food with aquaponics.  Click here for information. See you there!

If you are a school, a non-profit organization, an organization working with the poor, Native Hawaiians, or ex-inmates, or if you are a church, we will hold a free farm tour for you anytime. You DO need to email us first to schedule, or we might be out on errands!
~~~~~~~~~~~

1MonthFry1Small

Thousands of inch-long "fifty-cent" baby tilapia from our "backyard" hatchery.


TilapiaRoseNDad1

What they turn into about a year later: a beautiful 2-pound white tilapia grown in the fish tanks of our aquaponics systems.

~~~~~~~~~~~

SPECIAL OFFER:


Sign yourself up for the Texas January 2014 (13th-17th)


Or sign yourself up for the Tennessee January 2014 (27th-31st)


Commercial Aquaponics and Solar Greenhouse Training
NOW, and receive a free Micro System DIY package so you can begin studying aquaponics, as soon as you register! ($99.95 value)


~~~~~~~~~~~

Micro System Classes!

Our four affiliates are now offering Micro System courses.

Click here
for a listing of affiliates and course locations!

~~~~~~~~~~~

"Fish Bites: Food-Grade Liners and Fish Tanks"

Corrugated steel round fish tanks come from Scafco Grain Systems, http://www.scafco.com/grain/products/water-tanks

Tell them you need an open-top tank, not one with a conical steel roof, which you don't need or want for a fish tank.


For Liner, order standard sizes AND custom-sized round and rectangular food-grade vinyl liners from DLM Plastics, 1530 Harvard Avenue, Findlay, OH, 45840, 419-424-5250. Get "White NSF-61 PVC", it is FOOD-GRADE vinyl (the "NSF" on the label means "National Sanitation Foundation").


"Martin's Fish, Part 2"

We were trolling for tuna in the Marquesas aboard my 37-foot cutter "Spice". We had found a school, and with four husky handlines in the water proceeded to pass through the squawking mass of diving birds and surface splashes from the big fish below.

We hit all four lines! Each fish stretched the shock-absorbing  bungey cord on the handlines out to their full lengths, and we luffed up into the wind to slow the boat down and pull the fish in.

I put the boat on self steering so I could pull fish too, and (wearing my safety line), went to the rail, braced myself, and started hauling in a 120-lb yellowfin tuna.

Paul's nephew Martin was pulling in a line next to me, and he was a little slower on the draw; I got my fish up to the boat, and put a gaff into it while he was still pulling his in.

I saw Martin's eyes go wide when I hauled my gaffed fish out of the water, and, distracted for just a second, he lost his balance, then fell off the boat. I had my hands full still, and had to fling my 120-lb fish into a net area in the wingdeck, more or less one-handed (since I was hanging onto the boat with the other hand), stow the gaff, then make my way to the stern, where I dropped the man overboard gear into the water.

For those of you who have never fallen overboard before, or done a man overboard drill, the gear was a tall fiberglass pole with an orange flag on the top, with a bouy in the middle of the pole and a lead weight at the bottom to make it float vertically when in the water. It was coupled to a life ring, a floating strobe light, and some other miscellaneous boat "stuff" designed to help rescue people.

It all went in, and I turned and yelled to the others: "Get the lines IN!" as I scrambled back to the helm to get the boat turned around and back to Martin.

One of the guys was a little slow because he still had a fish on the line that he didn't want to let go of; and when I started screaming the F-word at him, combined with "Cut it, cut it, cut it!", I think it just confused him more.

So I grabbed one of the deck knives out of its socket near the winch handle holder (the deck knives are a whole 'nother story!), and in about three seconds I had gone over to him, cut his fishing line OFF (it could have hooked or wrapped around Martin!), and gotten back to the helm. I turned the boat around, checked for lines in the water (none), and headed back for Martin.

I'd kept sight of the flag on the pole the whole time, sort of a built-in human radar sweep thing that sailors do, but hadn't really noticed Martin until we got turned around and headed for the pole, and started looking for him. He was trying to climb the pole!

It didn't work, of course: Martin weighed about 170 lbs while the pole had a float that could hold maybe 15 pounds out of the water. It didn't stop him from trying, though. We got there as fast as we could, and hauled Martin up out of the water. I noticed him shivering, which surprised me, given that the water was about 86 degrees, and we hadn't taken that long to get back to him.

Martin didn't have much English, I didn't have much French (they are a French protectorate), and I was just learning my Marquesan, so I didn't understand what he was trying to tell us until we got back to shore and talked to Paul about it.

"Mano, mano", Martin had been saying. Well, what the heck, it means "hand" in Spanish. Turns out it means "shark" in Marquesan, and not just any kind of shark, but the huge, open ocean types: mako shark, tiger shark, and blue shark.

Martin had been trying to climb the pole to get away from the oceanic sharks which always accompanied large schools of tuna in their islands. We hadn't known about this, but a little later in the week we saw it demonstrated to us when we went fishing again.

A pretty good-sized yellowfin tuna; maybe 270 pounds or so. He's about to fall over, just doesn't know it yet!+
yellowfin165PX

This time, we hooked up three, and while pulling them in, one of the 200-foot trolling lines stretched WAY out, then came back to the boat with a snap, with just the head of a 100-lb tuna on the hook. My friend Chuck almost got clobbered by the tuna head; and we knew in our guts now what Martin had been trying to climb the pole to avoid. The tuna was just one bite for the creature who ate it!

Someone out there had lunched on what we thought was our lunch. After that, we never trolled without everyone on the boat having safety lines on and understanding the stakes.


(to be continued next newsletter)


Aloha, Tim....

Forward this message to a friend

This email, our manuals and construction plans are all copyrighted by  Friendly Aquaponics, Inc, Susanne Friend and Tim Mann, 2008-2013

Email: Friendly Aquaponics




If you no longer wish to receive these emails, please reply to this message with "Unsubscribe" in the subject line or simply click on the following link: Unsubscribe

Friendly Aquaponics, Inc
PO Box 1196
Honoka'a, Hawaii 96727
US

Read the VerticalResponse marketing policy.

Try Email Marketing with VerticalResponse!