Thursday, April 16, 2015

Water Wise Garden

This is basically the same Earthan Beds I've been building, but it's done in the ground.
Here are some pictures of how I built this water wise garden.
The hole was dug with a trench for the 4" drain line and a sump pit at the lowest point

The pond liner placed with 4" perforated drain line.  Notice the filter sleeve on the drain line.

Gravel begin spread level
  Here the water is used to help me spread the gravel level across the entire bed.  I find it useful to temporarily raise the water level to the top of the gravel for this procedure.  When finished the water level will be maintained 2" below this level so that the soil does not sit directly in the water.
This black shade cloth is laid on top of the gravel to keep the soil from washing down into the gravel
The water tank has not been installed yet.  I will bury it next to this garden bed and pull the pond liner down so that it drains excess water into the tank. 
The soil has been added.  This soil mix contains has enough clay that it will wick the moisture up from below
I will clean up the edge so that it looks nice.  The pump sits inside the 6" PVC pipe.  I used 1/2" PVC pipe to connect the tube that runs to the other end through the 4" drain line.  I will also extend electricity to the side of the garden so that I don't have to use this extension cord.

A thick layer of mulch will be added when I plant.  This garden will save rain water, and maintain moisture below the surface without loss to evaporation.   There is no need to water this garden other than occasionally maintaining some water in the reservoir tank.  The amount of water used will depend upon the type of crop and the heat, but it will not waste a drop.

After I install the large reservoir water tank the pump will be moved out of the sump to the larger tank.  It would have been easier to have done it this way from the beginning, but I did not feel that I was up to digging a hole that size right now, and wanted to get this garden planted.   Here is a diagram of how it will eventually work.

This could be duplicated on a much larger scale for commercial farming. Sure it's a lot of work and extra expense, but the savings in water should count for something. With a large enough reservoir, and contouring of the land; the need for any extra water could be eliminated by capturing rain water..

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Can aquaponic, bioponic, and hydroponic become dangerous ?

I wonder how dangerous aquaponic, bioponic, and hydroponic can become...
Harmful algal bloom (HAB) are capable of producing a number of toxins that may pose a risk to human and animal health. HABs occur when excess nitrogen and phosphorus are present in lakes and streams. Such nutrients can come from runoff of over-fertilized fields and lawns, from malfunctioning septic systems and from livestock pens

Monday, April 21, 2014

Frogs have an anti-bacterial bio-film on their skin

Frogs have an anti-bacterial bio-film on their skin.  In fact there is an ancient Russian practice of placing a frog in milk to keep it fresh longer.    My bioponic systems are teaming with frogs and tadpoles.  Nitrification continues but it makes me wonder if I'm deriving a special advantage from the frogs that may help prevent diseases such as bacterial canker, soft rot, leaf spot, and wilt.  I rarely experience these problems, so maybe it's a gift from the frogs.  At night their singing it very loud but I like the sounds of nature..

Monday, February 3, 2014

Using Humona (human urine) for Fertilizer

When I read this article I felt validated.  I've been promoting the use of urine and weed tea as a replacement for fertilizer created from petroleum.  Urine contains nitrogen and phosphorous as well as many other trace elements necessary to plants.

In order to sanitize urine, it can either be stored for 30 days in a sealed tank at room temperature, or heated for 30 minutes in a solar pasteurizer.

I work at home so I was able to save about 70% of the urine I produced, and in 2013 I easily filled a 55 gallon drum.  This will drum remained sealed for at least 3 months. 

Since the urine is added the system's water and the water wickes up through the soil I see no possibility of contamination, but others may not feel comfortable so I will let the humona (human urine) age for their peace of mind.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Nutrient Imbalance

Nate Storey has done it again!

Figuring out nutrient imbalance is in my opinion the most difficult thing about aquaponics.  Nate really lays it out in an easy to understand method for us to determine a course of action when our plants begin to look a bit peeked. I would post the link  to the KEY he has developed for diagnosing these problems right here, but I feel that you should go to Nate's site and find his offer.   When asked to register just do it.  You will be pleasantly surprised.

Videos by Nate's


Friday, January 10, 2014

Good Air Pump


I found this air pump that seems to be exactly what most of us would want.
The AP 100 is quiet at 45db.
It pumps 144 liters per minute at zero head pressure
And the pressure is outstanding - 181 inches of water, but they conservatively claim 11 feet! 
100 Watts is not bad either.
It even comes with a rebuild kit!


This General Hydroponics air pump is Extremely Quiet has a lot of pressure (84" of water) which is required for many air lift situations. 20 liters per minute is not earth shaking but it's enough to air lift the water for my Earthan Beds. 

The quiet operation and psi of this little $69.00 pump really impress me.  General Hydroponics does not state in db how much noise is made, but I think it could be placed next to a living room aquarium.  The sound of the bubbles would probably be louder than the pump.

Another good air pump is the Hakko.  Here are the specs of the six modles they build.
Hakko25 - 21 liters per minute, 17w, 3.7 psi (32dB)
Hakko40 - 51 liters per minute, 40w, 5.5 psi (35dB)
Hakko60 - 68 liters per minute, 63w 6.7 psi (38dB)
Hakko80 - 86 liters per minute, 85w, 7.8 psi (38 dB)
Hakko100 - 105 liters per minute,116w, 6.5 psi (40dB)
Hakko120 - 121 liters per minute,126w, 7.8 psi (42dB

For large air I have used the Active Aqua 70 lpm and the Eco-Plus 7 with 200 lpm.  Both of these are very loud.  My Active Aqua 70 lpm destroyed itself in less than a year.  The Eco-Plus 7 has been in continuous use for about a year and it runs much cooler due to the larger fin size.  Eco-Plus 7 is the better pump in my opinion.   Mine uses 60 to 90 Watts even though it's rated at 200W.  It also will pump to a depth of 84".

I have no experience with the Elemental O2 Commercial Air Pumps but the
571 gph/43 lpm delivers 2.47psi
951 gph/72 lpm delivers 3.48 psi from 41watts
1157 gph/87.6 lpm delivers 4.64psi

1 pound per square inch = 27.6704523 inches of water. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Water manifold for a solar heater

Many people get the idea to heat water after attempting to drink from a hose that has been laying in the sun.  The water is hot so wouldn't it be easy to get a 100' of black irrigation tubing a coil it up. Yes this will heat water but there are problems involved with this method.

First is poor efficiency. As the water travels the length of the tube it begins to quickly gain heat, but the hotter it gets the slower it gains additional heat.  It would be better to use several short lengths to warm the water only as much as you need.  Adjusting the optimum length is more than I wish to get into, but with some experimentation you will find a range that suits your needs.

Another problem with one long coil is resistance to flow.  The longer you make the tube the slower the water will flow.  A manifold  can solve both these problems. Fabricating a manifold may appeal to some DIY folks, but hot tubs often use manifolds and so they are readily available for about $10.00
Water Manifold 2"S x 2"S (6) 3/4" Ports

It's been pointed out to me that a better choice would be CPVC due to the high temperatures these systems can reach especially when not in use and the water is not moving.

Flow Gaurd MultiPort CPVC Manifold

By using several short lengths you will increase the effective diameter and reduce the resistance as well as the demands on your pump.

Don't forget to use a high temperature water pump.  They are easy to find, but this is an important consideration that could be over looked.

Also the roof may look like an ideal place for a solar collector but you will have to have a pump tha can provide enough head pressure which will influence the cost of the pump and your choice of locations for the collector.