Have you ever vacuumed your garden?
Neither have we…until today.
It would have sounded like a crazy idea until we hired a stump-removal service to grind up some stumps near our house, including the remains of a very large Crape Myrtle. It’s been an eyesore for years and we were ready to get rid of it.
When the guys arrived, we asked them some questions about their stump-removal process and then we pointed out the stumps we wanted removed. While discussing the Crape Myrtle, the supervisor recommended that we cover our bay window with a sheet of plywood so it didn’t get damaged by flying debris. When I asked him if any of the dirt or wood chips would get on the rafts in the growbed, he assured me that they would be flying away from the growbed so there was no need to cover the rafts.
Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Why did I listen to him?
This is what one of the rafts looked like last week…
And this is what it looked like after the stump was gone…
After all of the hard work that has gone into this system to make everything perfect for the fish and plants, I was a little perturbed. Not at the workers…at myself. I should have watched as they worked near the growbed or covered the rafts with a bed sheet or piece of plastic before they started grinding.
Actually, I don’t really mind that the top of the raft had dirt on it. That can be cleaned. I am more concerned about all the dirt and other unknown objects that are now in the water.
After giving it some thought, I got a brilliant idea…vacuum the top of the raft.
It actually worked…a little. We got a little too close to a couple of seedlings and vacuumed off a few leaves; otherwise, the rafts are a little cleaner than they were.
Now we’ve decided to transfer the net pots to another raft so we can remove this one and wash it. If there is dirt at the bottom of the growbed, we’ll try to remove that as well.
On the bright side, there were no known chemicals in the soil and we now have the opportunity to see what happens when dirt gets into the system. I suppose you can’t keep dirt out of an outdoor aquaponic system even under the best of circumstances, so this may not be an issue at all. We’ll see.