Man, did I take on a huge project!
About a month ago I was having a slow saturday so I started fumbling around Vimeo and YouTube for permaculture related videos. First, I really have to say, there is some amazing content out there. I would recommend it as a rainy day passtime to anyone. One documentary that I stumbled upon was called Back to Eden. You can watch it in its entirety on Vimeo. The story mostly follows one man Paul Gautschi, and his methods for mimicking some of the natural decomposition patterns of the forest to create lush, fertile soil for your home garden.
New experiment time!
As those of you regulars know, I began building an aquaponics system to tie in with my existing koi pond. With the build mostly completed and the plants doing their growing thing that they do, it was time to do a minor shift to putting some attention to the fish and populating the pond. I have been in contact with a local aquaponics company called Fishnet Aquaponics who not only sells equipment, fish and supplies, but apparently does a whole line of permaculture and aquaculture training classes. I am consulting with them to find out which fish would be the best for my area of Santa Cruz and the size of my pond.
With a week hiatus it was time to dive back in and finish up the aquaponics system. When I last left off, the fill plumbing was complete, the grow beds were resting comfortably on their sturdy foundation and two of the beds were filled with their expanded shale from RASA Hydroponics.
The portion that was still desperately lacking was the drain plumbing back into the pond. Since I had three individual grow beds with their own bulkheads and drains I had a more complex system than standard. I really wanted to avoid having three separate 3/4″ lines going all the way back to the pond. I figured I would tie the three drains into one “master” 1 1/4″ line. Read more
Now that the foundation of the aquaponics build was taken care of, it was time to focus on the grow beds themselves. I found some good, used hydroponics reservoirs up in the East Bay to be used as my grow beds. They are made by Botanicare Hydroponics. I also did all of the fill-line plumbing and did a mock drain line just to test the cycling.