Microgreens wider test

I’m taking a fresh pass at Microgreens today, but this time in soil. 

I’m running with chicken peas, alfalfa, sun flower, fenugrec, and wheat.  

All of which I have read are high producing crops.  I’m sprouting them in Grilling trays which cost euro 4 for 5 trays, and I picked up some potting soil for euro 3. 10 for 40L. 

I wasn’t sure how dense to plant them but remember hearing that think is better because they support each other and are less delicate… In hindsight I don’t feel they are planted thick enough. 

Lastly, I stacked them all on top of each other and added an non sowed tray on top to block the light.  I saw the urban farmer stack his this way.  So we’ll see. 

Planning on sowing a tray of each type once a week, to get some momentum going. 

Advertisements

Root problems?  Food problems? 

Upon checking the roots this morning, I found that they have a slight discoloring.  Upon closer inspection, it became clear that they had a deposit of some kind of material sticking to them. 

In hypothesing what it might be, I came up with two possible causes. 

The first, is that it could be a deposit of clay from the media bed.  There are deposits of clay in the floating rafts where the water shows down – you can make it out in the photo above on the tank floor. 

The other, is that it could be the quality of the fish food which is not being digested properly – I read stories about that. 

In thinking about it a little more I believe it is the latter.  In the micro aquarium when  I switched to the large bucket of cheaper food, the gold fishes poo’s were coagulated and they floated.  I read about this being a problem with not being able to digest the food well, consequently jamming up the rest of the system. 

It’s not a critical problem for the system yet, I don’t believe – the roots aren’t as bad as they look in the photo.  I am changing the fish back to their original food and will continue the search for something better. 

Water quality and nitrogen cycle

This is what aquaponics is really all about – the nitrogen cycle

Fish poo creates amonia which is eaten by Nitrosomonas sp. Bacteria which then poo out nitrite, which is eaten by Nitrobacter sp. Bacteria which poos out nitrates, which are then eaten by the plants. 

I just took all my levels for the first time in 2 months – (note to self: do this more regularly). 

Everything looks fairly balanced, with only the nitrate and carbonate levels a little on the high side. 

The nitrate levels on the high side could be a good thing, especially seeing as my nitrites are at zero. Seeing as 2 months ago, when  I had no fish or plants, there were no nitrates in the system, I presume this means that my nitrogen cycle is functioning well.  

This also aligns with the recent growth ive noticed with my plants.  This also makes me think that I’m clearly not maximizing the vegetables that this system could handle.  I imagine, that as the plants and roots grow that the nitrates my go down… I’d like to see if that hypothesis pans out. 

The other way it could go is for the fish grow, and the nitrate production potential may therefore outgrow the rate of the vegetable growth to consume it… Which could mean that I have to add more vegetables to balance it out.

It will be interesting to measure this to see how this changes over time. 

Lastly, in regard to the high carbonates, I believe that is a result of a recent top off that I did – and we have very hard water here.  However there is one concern  with this.  Seeing as carbonates are alkaline, yet my pH was last at 7, it does make me wonder if,  prior to adding top up of hard water, the water was fairly acidic. 

Another thing to keep an eye on. 

6 x sprouts in 4 days

Overall, the system seems to have jumped up a gear.  The fish seem well and are feeling strongly.  The plants have taken a torn towards looking better. 

Another good sign, the 6 lettuces I sowed 4 days ago have all sprouted. (although you have to look close to see them all).

With the system more balanced, and with the addition of a fan, I’m hoping these sprouts start off with better stems. 

Last note to self:  to have a more substantial source of  vegetables, I need to figure out a sowing schedule so that I’m constantly growing more plants to replace one’s I hope to one day harvest. 

Time to figure out planting

When  I first planted my plants for the aquaculture it was pretty cold, and it was 4 weeks until i got fish.  

As a result many of my young plants have issues with their stems, and generally doesn’t stay of life strong.   I’m therefore getting rid of the runts (and feeding them to the fish) and resowing a few lettuces. 

The new seeds above are:

3 x laitue verte maraîchère 

3 x laitue rouge Grenobloise 

Planted in floating raft 2, 30th March, water temp 24.1 C.