Well, it’s only taken a little over a year, but I think we’ve finally got the farm running the way I always dreamed we would. It’s taken a lot more problem solving than I thought it would, but it’s all been worth the education and process.
One of the biggest challenges was the growbed medium I was using. When I first ordered my gravel, I expected something similar to pea gravel and I ended up getting something much larger. At that point I figured I’d just give it a try and see how it worked out. Unfortunately, it really didn’t work well at all. The veggies weren’t growing well in it and it wasn’t filtering the water very well either. It took me months of researching and asking around to figure out what the best available gravel around was. Fortunately, it ended up being cheap and quick to deliver. The only problem after getting the new gravel was the daunting task of taking out all the old gravel so that we could put in the new stuff. Not fun!
After we got the new gravel in, we planted a whole new crop of tomatoes, bell peppers, chili peppers, and eggplant. The tomatoes are doing great and the bell peppers are delicious! I don’t think that chili peppers or eggplant really seem to like Aquaponics, but I am open to suggestions if you have them. This may just end up being strictly a Tilapia and Tomato farm, and I’m okay with that.
Also, we found out that our fish are breeding in the pond, which is great news! That means that either the pond will be able to re-stock itself, or the fish have created a self sustaining source of protein for their diet. Either one is a win in my book!
Check out some photos of the current state of the farm and join me in rejoicing at the long awaited success of this project!