I love to watch Spring unfold here in my West Atlanta yard and garden. Daffodils are one of the first flowers to bloom here, usually in early March, and signal the beginning of growth, if not Spring. Change happens so quickly and so rapidly, that it takes my mind to a wonderful song by Dinah Washington entitled, “What A Difference A Day Makes”.
For instance, in just a few days times, the Broccoli I had planted in the wicking bed went from freshly planted in the soil in it’s starter cup (left) and no change, to Holy Cow look at How Much That Has GROWN !! In the Picture on the right, you can see the big protective leaves branching and growing outward. As an added bonus, if you look closely, you can see a baby broccoli head taking form.
In other news, shortly after my last post, we took a 3 day weekend to check in on some relatives, and before we left, I was able to harvest some lettuce out of the Aquaponics
Raft System. I don’t know what the weight was, but I would have to compare it to a head of iceberg lettuce. However, these beautiful and scrumptious darlings came fresh from the Aquaponics water in the raft system. Fresh Romaine and Bibb lettuce. MMMmmmm.
The wicking bed is also doing nicely. In just 3 days time, not only the broccoli we mentioned above, but the bean plants also began their vertical and leafy assault, growing to almost twice their sizes in that short time span. Of course, it helped that the weather was cool during this stretch, and conditions were ideal for these plants.
Back in the raft system, the broccoli there is doing well also, as seen in the picture to the right. While not as bushy as the sister plant in the wicking bed, these plants have also formed baby heads… wait… did you hear that?? It sounds like the steamer is serenading the broccoli…with what sounds like… the mashed potato??
Crazy plants. On another high note for Aquaponics, I took several bean (or are they pepper plants?) from the rock garden. The young plants had been defoliated by some sort of pest feasting upon them! (I later squished nearly a dozen slugs trying to escape the pepper and onion bed). While many might assume these plants are dead and destined for the compost pile, I pulled these pathetic plants up out of the shallow bed, rinsed off the soil, and sank them into the media filled grow bed. Sure enough, in a matter of just a few short days time, the plants had not only recovered but have also started growing leaves once again.
I have been having an issue with fish dying lately. It’s only one fish every day or two, but it has been going on for a week now, and everything should be balanced out. Hmmm. Well, when in doubt, do a water test. And what do you know? An answer to our problems! Aha! It seems we have very high Nitrates. How do we fix that? With more plants, of course. You see, Nitrates are the form that plants readily take up through their roots, and are a direct result of the amount of waste produced by the fish.
But we don’t stop there. What might be causing that ammonia spike? Surely the fish haven’t grown that much in just a week or two? Thankfully the water is clearing up, and I can see down to the pump filter. Sure enough, there are dead fish in the pump filter. ugh. I pull it up, and clean it out, sweep up the few fish on the tank bottom, and start everything back up. All in all, 8 fathead minnows have perished.
I haven’t yet gotten the wife up to speed on starting seedlings in a tray, so I hopped on over to the local home improvement store, and lo and behold, it’s my lucky day. All plants are 1/2 price, one day only! Oh joy!! We are due another cold snap tonight and tomorrow, so I will hold these until Monday for planting.