I haven't been talking much about the aquaponics system much. I've been too distracted by planning the beds. One of my most asked questions is what I do with my aquaponics system in winter. So away we go. I clearly need practice with my videos, so except more.
HEAT: For starters, I bought and built this greenhouse. It has been a good greenhouse and don't have any complaints. Well, other than it's too small! It was my compromise between what code would allow and what I wanted. I wasn't sure how much use I was going to get out of the greenhouse, but I'm finding I'm wanting to cram more and more plants in there. During the coldest days, the morning temp was about 40 degrees inside. A thermometer in the greenhouse is a must-have.
The fish tank water is heated, so that was a tremendous help. This was frustrating at first actually. I bought 2 aquarium heaters at the Pet Store because they didn't offer one for the size of my tank which is almost 200 gallons. Seems easy enough. The regular extension cord connected to the pump and two heaters (one on each side of the tank) couldn't handle the load. The breaker tripped after a short while every time. To fix this, I borrowed a heavy duty extension cord, and it's been working fine ever since.
This last month, I've even had to open the vent and door during the day. I've walked in the greenhouse throughout the day to 100 degrees! I haven't lost any, but the winter crops do not like the heat.
The plants grew just as well in the winter as they did in summer. They might have been a little slower to grow, but it's has been very productive. Correction, I slowly changed out all of the summer crops to winter crops. The tomatoes were not getting green because of the lack of sun.
Bugs. I've been having a little problem and that's another reason I changed out the summer to winter crops. I haven't sprayed anything, but I pick any leafs with damage. That has pretty much helped keep everything under control.
FISH: And the Tilapia... they like water in the 80's F, so the greenhouse was must. I've stopped eating meat, so the next question is if I still intend to eat the tilapia. DAMN STRAIGHT! I haven't eaten any of them yet. The 12 month mark to their mature size is in June at the earliest, so I'm fighting off measuring them. I also upgraded their food. (larger size food for bigger fish) The fish have all survived, and I haven't seen any signs of babies. I'm really hoping nature takes its course there!
Next Winter: Hands down, I would have it packed full of greens next year: kales, collards and spinaches. I grew broccoli, cauliflower and brussells sprouts in addition to greens. While veggies are nice, they take up a lot of room and take time to grow. It's just a preference though. I also used the veggie leafs in my green smoothies. Just use them sparingly.
Got yellow leaves in your system? Click here to see how I got rid of my yellow. Click HERE to read up on all my aquaponics adventures. I need more aquaponics friends, I wanna know how yours is doing.