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Bonsai aquaponics

This is the post excerpt.

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This blog is to record experiments in lifestyling and micro farming that I’m conducting over the next few years. 

First step, was to take a step.  Set up this simple little tank to get some fish set up in the house but also to use as a seeding bed for micro tests. 

Came together pretty quickly, works well and looks cute. 

Pear shaped

Over the last month we’ve had family staying and things have fallen apart somewhat.  Routines have been disturbed and the flow that had been established is a chore. 

The system is still alive, the plants are still growing but there are a bunch of issues.  The flood and drain system is no longer flooding, and this morning the pump stopped working, the chickens have figured out how to get in to the veggie patch, and the meal worm farm has been decimated by neglect ( and the occasional attack by the smarter chicken), my sowing plan has gone to crap, the coriander is all dead, one of the chickens is brooding, the grass lawn is all dead due to drought, and the place is in a general mess. 

Personally, I’ve stopped eating healthily – so not harvesting salads or tomatoes –  weight is coming back on, and generally feeling more tired. I’m back smoking again, and although not drinking too much I’ve been having a few drinks every evening. 

Its also been very hot. 

Fortunately, none of this is beyond repair however this experience does give me pause to reflect. 

Clearly the more systems I try to maintain the more opportunities there are for things to go wrong.  And so focusing will help to minimize the load. 

But perhaps more importantly I’m recognizing that progress and getting better is not a straight line affair.  It’s hard to constantly improve.  I needed a break and I subconsciously used the visiting family as an excuse to take a break and change things up.  And abused that to its fullest.  

If I’m honest with myself, I knew I was neglecting my efforts to improve but I didn’t want to face it and it’s not until now – now that they are gone – that I’m facing it. 

In the meantime, a month of damage has been done. 

Going forward, I need to recognize this pattern and plan for it.  I need to recognize that improvement is not necessarily a straight line growth, and that it will more likely take the form of 3 steps forward 1 step back. 

One clear example of how recognizing this fact, lead to me having some longer term success is my weight loss efforts.  The graph below shows my weight loss progress over an 8 week period where I lost 7 kgs (98kg to 91kgs).  Each weekend, I’d take a break from the diet and consequently my weight would bounce back up, but it was these scheduled breaks that helped me to maintain motivation to keep the diet going for a meaningful period of time.  Over the last month I’ve let things go and I’m only back up to 92.6kg this morning.  So it’s not all terrible news, but it does make me reflect on what I can do to keep a more stable pattern over time. 

And I think the answer to that is two fold. 

Firstly I think I need to reflect on what my goals and vision are.  Where do I want to get to.  Give myself some tangible targets.

And secondly I need to plan in periods where I can take steps back.  Reduce the stress,  pressure, and guilt of taking a step back and instead recognize that sometimes that’s just life.  Sometimes I just need to chill out, relax, and let it all hang out. 

So, I’m going to take the effort to try and plan these two things and to start again.. I’ll see how that goes. 

Hidden eggs

I fou d one of the chickens chilling out by the back of the garden.  I got suspicious and so checked it out.  Seems she’s been stashing her eggs.  

I figure she’s been going there because it is shaded and cool.  So I added a tarpaulin over the chicken house to add more shade. 

Summer solstice update 

It’s the summer solstice tomorrow so I thought I’d do a general update. 

Things are growing well.  The salads have been the most successful with plenty more than we can consume.  The tomatoes are looking to be pretty decent too. 

Both chickens are still alive and laying on average about 1.5 eggs a day.   All 25 fish are going strong and have grown significantly. 

I’m building a new floating raft bed that should be about 3x the size of my existing one so that I can dial up my aquaponics salads and basil.  Once I get that going I’m going to test différent types of salads for a bit of variety. 

I’ve been servicing my compost in preparation for a fall planting of winter crops.  

But it’s not all good news.  It seems my potatoes got sick and I lost 2 out of the three plantings. 

New salads going in this evening. 

Tomato jungle

A quick update on the aquaponic tomatoes.  The system is running well.  The salads are running low as I’m in the middle of building some new beds and am behind on sowing new salads.  Fortunately the garden salads are more than compensating. 

The tomatoes though have gone nuts.  I’m really not growing them for high productivity, or I would have trimmed them.  Instead I’m leaving them to grow as bushy as they want. 

There are a good 20 tomatoes fruiting already and plenty more buds – although the bud to tomatoe rate seems much lower than outside. 

I’m enjoying just letting it go to see how big it gets.  Obviously, many lessons learned – chief of which is not to have them up so high.