I never particularly liked ants, and I never had an ant farm, though the idea of an ant farm always fascinated me. I mean, imagine it, you could actually look under the soil to see what the ants were doing! How cool is that? Thats what I consider to be the ‘cool factor’ of Aquaponics.
Sometimes, it seems like forever between happenings in my soil garden. I plant my seedlings and then wait, fighting the weeds along the way, little buggers. In the soil, the plants take time until they become acclimated. In an Aquaponics System, not so much. Admittedly, I shock my plants by knocking the soil off the plant roots and separating the individual seedlings. The first day or two usually has the plants laying down, as if wilting and dying in front of my very eyes.
Then, after those first sour days, the new plants perk up, letting me know that they are doing just fine. Once established, it can take up to a week before I actually register plant growth. This waiting period can be maddening, but as I’ve come to learn this is the time the plants are putting all there energy into root growth.
This is the cool factor. Usually after 4 or 5 days, my anticipation gets the better of me, and I have to pull up a plant to see how it is doing. You can’t do this in a soil garden.
Pulling up the plant to inspect the roots would greatly damage the plant and tender roots. Replanting takes additional time to re-acclimate to the soil. In aquaponics, I can pull the plants up at will to inspect the roots and place them back in with no shock. The roots just keeps on growing, and growing, and growing…. Oh, and the roots are BEA-U-TIFUL ! A luscious white, (in bright lights, as seen above in the headline photo) with strong solid tendrils growing in the nutrient rich water.
Lately however, I am noticing a general yellowing of the leaves in my lettuce and especially the broccoli, as seen in the picture attached. My research leads me to believe this is a Potassium deficiency, as opposed to a Nitrogen deficiency. I mixed up a spray bottle with a teaspoon of potassium bicarbonate to a quart of water, and spray directly on the leaves of the affected plants. As potassium Bicarb is not detrimental to the fish, I also add a tablespoon to the bed with the CLAE pebbles.
**This is my own anagram. The rest of the world refers to those little brown pebbles as LECA, or Lightweight Expanded Clay Aggregate. But since it is essentially clay, kiln fired to some outrageous temperature which causes it to expand, and since L.E.C.A also spells CLAE, why not call it that. They all call me Crazy. It’s ok if you do too.
But I digress.
For my faithful followers (both of us (:-), kinfolk, and all new readers, I admit to being a bit slack on my postings, and I am now a week behind on my self appointed schedule. This was in small part by design, as I will now have an article or two ‘in-the-can’, as it were.
Until next time…