Yesterday, we started some flowers and more veggies in the aquaponic grow bed. What a beautiful sight.
To prepare for all of these new additions, we drilled 2″ and 3″ holes in three more rafts. The new raft with 3″ holes has a slightly different pattern and fewer holes (32 vs 53) than the first one we made. You can see the difference in the photo above. The first raft is on the far right side and the latest one is the second from the left. This change makes the raft much stronger and less likely to break when we lift it out of the grow bed.
We added net pots that were filled with flower seeds and many of the veggies we listed in another post. Now we have a total of five planted rafts in the grow bed…only four more to go.
So far we have experimented with the following media:
Sure To Grow (STG) in the bottom and Hydroton on top
This time we filled the net pots with Hydroton in the bottom and Sure to Grow on top.
Then seeds were placed on top of the STG and more STG was placed on top of the seeds.
This combination was very easy to use. When small seeds were placed on the STG they didn’t fall out of the Hydroton like they did when they were place directly on the Hydroton. After the STG was placed over the seeds, we sprinkled the entire net pot with fish water. This protects them from birds and sun, holds them in place so the seeds don’t fall out of the pot when it’s handled, and maintains a moist environment so the seeds will germinate quickly.
The photos above also show the latest change to the germination table. We placed some nursery trays on the germination-table liner and then covered the trays with a plastic screen. Our local garden store was throwing the trays away, so we got them for a great price . . . FREE!
We have also added a Tetra Whisper AP300 air pump for the grow bed.
This pump has two outlets for air lines, which allows us to place an air stone in the beginning and middle of the grow bed. This should keep the water well oxygenated, which will help prevent root rot. They will also maintain a high level of dissolved oxygen in the water for the plants and the fish, especially the mosquito fish and rosy-red minnows that we will soon add to the grow bed.
Here’s a list of the flower seeds we planted yesterday. All of these were purchased from VictorySeeds.com:
African Marigolds, Crackerjack Mix
Bachelor Buttons, Dwarf Cornflower
Daisies – Garland, Gloriosa
Nasturtiums, Dwarf ‘Alaska Mix’
Rocky Mountain Bee Plants
Pollinator Insect Wildflower Mix
Southeastern Wildflower Mix
Larkspur Giant Imperial
Annual Baby’s Breath
Dwarf Evening Pimrose
Annual Phlox Red
These flowers should attract beneficial insects such as honeybees, bumblebees, carpenter bees, butterflies, ladybugs, and many others. Hopefully a little extra pollination will result in plenty of plump vegetables and fewer nasty pests.
Wow! It’s been a busy past few days. Many thanks to everyone who helped! We owe you some delicious Tilapia tacos and a giant bag of fresh veggies…and so much more.