Wednesday, July 18, 2012

2012/07/18 - Enjoying the produce

Not much to say this time.  Things have gotten terribly busy and I haven't spent as much time in the garden as I'd like.  But the tomatoes and cucumber have been wonderful.

We oven-roasted some tomatoes:
We used those and our basil to make a marinara sauce, and have had homemade pizza several nights.

We've also been enjoying snacks of fresh, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers:

I just love to look at the lemon cucumbers.  Fiance took this picture.  Isn't it beautiful?

We're getting married in a few months.  This weekend we're going to try making a bruschetta topping from our garden and freezing it, then thaw it in a week or two and see if it's still good.  If so, we'll be feeding 100+ guests an appetizer from our own garden.  Yippee!


  1. Just a quick "hello" from someone who just read most of you blog! It's a fascinating and wonderfully exciting time you've had with your aquaponic setup. I am going to be starting my own this coming month (I'm homeschooling my teenage daughter and she and I are making aquaponics/aquaculture/hydroponics and all the science we can find and absorb along with this our science study for the year.) I have learned many things from your experiences (loved the problem with "too many" tomato plants!) that I hadn't learned from other places, so thank you so much for sharing. =Paula

    1. Thank you so much, Paula!
      While I don't have children of my own, I know many aquaponics systems (both small and large) have been set up in classrooms. It's considered an excellent learning opportunity. Not to mention the yummy produce you get from it. And doing things as a family is always more fun.

      Feel free to ask me any questions and I'll share my limited knowledge with you. There are also several great forums where you can also get more information if you'd like. I highly recommend this one as a great starting point:

      And thank you for writing in. It's always good to know people are reading and interested. :-)

    2. That's one of the sites I've been reading. It is a really good place (though a little more awkward to navigate than others.)

      Thanks for the offer to help, too. I do, in fact, have a question for you from reading your blog. You start the seedlings in coir filled baskets right in the GBs. Why not just leave them in the baskets once they sprout? But, since you do remove them to transplant, when you do, do you remove as much of the coir as possible or not worry about that? I really like the idea of planting in the coir filled pots as you do right in the GB. It just seems to make sense.

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  2. My typos make me nuts sometimes. Let me try that again:

    Here's a more technical forum I also really like:

    I like starting my seeds in coir because it's more absorbant than hydroton. And I put them into the GB because I'm lazy and don't want to water every day. But once the plants are bigger, they don't need (or sometimes want) the constant soaking to their roots that the coir provides. Also, for many plants, the roots outgrow the 2" pots I use, and that makes it difficult to remove the plant even to transplant it if I don't do it soon enough. The roots squeeze through all the tiny slits in the pot and sometimes get so full I can't even see the pot through them.
    I'm not a plant expert by any means (I kill houseplants) but that doesn't seem healthy to me, for plants that have larger roots. I do grow my lettuce and such in pots their entire lives, in the raft bed. But I don't think tomatoes would do well that way. Unless I used a much larger pot.

    I do remove the coir before transplanting. But I'm not fanatical about it. It won't hurt the system. I just pull the seedling out and give it a shake over the compost bin (or seedling tray if I'm going to reuse it on another batch of seeds) and almost all of it comes off. If I want to remove more, I give the roots a swish in a bucket of water and everything else slides away. I do the same thing with seedlings from the nursery when I don't start from seed. (Though with nursery plants I *always* do a thorough swish. I don't want any of their dirt and chemicals that I can possibly avoid. I try not to get nursery plants except from an organic, heritage nursery run by a neighbor I adore... but now and then laziness takes over.)

    If your focus is more on things you might grow in pots, you might consider NFT (Nutrient Film Technique) instead of a full GB. Here's a YouTube video describing that:
    (Confession: I only watched the first 30 seconds. I'm at work and shouldn't be on YouTube. So I don't vouch for anything the guys says.) I know many people use NFT with aquaponics. It's as valid a method as a full GB, or can be used in conjuction with it. Or you can do a raft (DWC - Deep Water Culture) as I did, which is also all net-pots (and which I've combined with a GB).

  3. Where in FL are you? You might be near TCLynx, who has a huge set up in her back yard. And she's also much more knowledgable than I am. (I'm not asking you to leave! Just add her to your list of people to talk to, since she'll know a lot of things I don't.)

    This is her site:

  4. I've read many posts by TCLynx and I'm hoping to one day be nearly as knowledgeable. =) She's about 3 hours from me, somewhere up in central FL, while I'm down on the SW coast. Not all that bad a distance, but not next door. I'm hoping if I have more FL specific questions, she might be a good person to ask.

    Thank you for the info on using the coir, transplanting, and purchased seedlings. Now I get it! (I hope.) I'm leaning toward GBs rather than the others at this point in time. (Though, adding an NFT is already starting to intrigue me.) I really have to get started!

    Thank you again!

    1. Heard from TCLynx this week that she's going to be doing tours on Saturdays this month, if you're interested:

    2. Thank you! I'll check this out now. =)