When we built our backyard Aquaponic system we looked for a partner who would give the food we grew to people in need and share the story of Jesus Christ. We found Tree of Life Ministries (TOL) in Purcellville, VA which operates a Food Pantry and shares our goal of telling people about Jesus.Continue reading “TOL Aquaponics Greenhouse Ready for Production”
I planted 36 TRUCHAS OG MTO seeds from Johnny’s Selected Seeds on 1/5/2019 in a 36 cell propagation tray using a 60%/40% mix of Coconut Coir/ Vermiculite as a planting media. I’ve found that these seeds germinated better without the use of a propagation mat (or heating pad) with an optimal surface temperature of 68 degrees fahrenheit (F). The sprouts began to appear after about 5 days.
After 11 days under the grow light for 14 hours per day I moved the seedlings into 2″ net pots in the 2-inch by 16-inch by 24-inch STYROFOAM XPS floating rafts. These plants grew well in my aquaponic system even though it was 55 days from rafting until harvest. The seed packet says 47 days to maturity but we only use Sunlight in our backyard greenhouse and the Winter days have been short. The temperature in the greenhouse typically stays above 40 degrees F during the night and can reach 85-90 degrees F during a sunny day.
It took me about 14 minutes to harvest 29 plants on 3/22/2019. (We had harvested 7 earlier for meals). The plants were dense and weighed about 4 ounces each. In total, the harvest produced 7 1/2 pounds of lettuce that filled 10 1-gallon bags.
After washing and bagging, I delivered 9 bags with three heads each to Tree of Life Ministries in Purcellville, VA for distribution to families the next day.
God Bless you! Thanks for reading.
My Niece Allie loves Kale so we gave her a bouquet to take back to college! Fresh cut organic baby Kale from our Aquaponic garden. Kale grows great in the cold – the outside temperature was in the low 30s (F) last night and the green house was about 45 degrees Fahrenheit. I’ve been cutting a big handful every morning when I go out to feed the fish. We use it in smoothies and salads. I’m amazed how long it lasts in the fridge! I’ll fill a gallon bag full and it stays fresh for at least a week or two.
Normally, we harvest the whole plant when it reaches maturity, but I’ve been experimenting with cutting Kale leaves off the plant rather than removing the entire plant. We had a baby Kale salad at a restaurant and it got me to thinking about harvesting Kale while the leaves were small. The young leaves are tender and tasty! So I started cutting the leaves off the plant when they were about the size of my hand. This is working well! The smaller leaves continue to grow and within a few day there is more baby Kale to harvest. There are about 320 Kale plants in my 48 square foot troughs. I’m keeping an eye on the roots and will remove the entire pant when they get too dirty.
In my last video on harvesting lettuce, I did not show the actual harvesting! So here’s a quick update video on how we do that.
Happy 4th of July!
Several people have asked for a tour of my greenhouse, so here is a more detailed walk through during my Friday morning harvest. This video is posted on YouTube here:
For the last several months we have been harvesting lettuce on Fridays and taking it out to Tree of Life Ministries in Purcellville , VA. Today I made a brief YouTube video of the Harvest. Today we harvested about 7 pounds of Romaine and Butterhead lettuce. Let me know what else you’d like to see or hear about.
On Friday February 24, 2017 we harvested 11 pounds of Bibb and Butterhead lettuce and gave it to Tree of Life Ministries in Purcellville, VA. The next day it was distributed to 7 families in need of food.
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