BTE, hugelkulture, hydroponics and other unconventional gardening

Lazy Gardener

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one huge mouse caught in the HT last night, but not before he did a LOT of damage. 4 traps set again. Maggie thought that mouse was a lot of fun, even though the squeaker was broken.
 

thistlebloom

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one huge mouse caught in the HT last night, but not before he did a LOT of damage. 4 traps set again. Maggie thought that mouse was a lot of fun, even though the squeaker was broken.
Oh mylanta! I read you caught a huge MOOSE in your trap and I was so interested in how you managed that! :lol:
I may need a new glasses prescription.
 

Lazy Gardener

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Bingo! Finally, after 2 days of surfing the net, I've found what I'm looking for. Kratky aquaponics.
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Finally, the Kratky method of DWC can be used, which consists in leaving a space of 3 to 4 cm between the polystyrene and the water body inside the canal. This allows air to circulate around the top section of the plant roots. This approach removes the need for air stones in the canal as sufficient amounts of oxygen in the air are supplied to the roots. Another advantage of this method is the avoidance of direct contact of the plant stems with water, which reduces the risks of plant diseases in the collar zone. Moreover, the increased ventilation as a result of the increased airspace favours heat dissipation from water, which is ideal in hot climates. Do not add any fish into the canals that could eat the plant roots, e.g. herbivorous fish such as tilapia and carp. However, some small carnivorous fish species, such as guppies, mollies, or mosquito fish, can be used successfully to manage mosquito larvae, which can become a huge nuisance to workers and neighbours in some areas.

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So, my plan will be to set up a hydroton growing container suspended over the water, with 1/4 - 1/2" of the container below water surface. The tank will be divided, to keep the gold fish out of the root zone. I'll use a large or multiple airstones in the under water root zone to further increase oxygenation.

Since adding heater, air, and well water to the rain barrel survivor's tank, he's perked up a lot. come out of hibernation, swimming well, and actively eating and scavenging. Finally, after 3 years of reading and cogitating, I'm at the point of implementing!

The only other item I'll need to buy is a back up battery operated pump. A prolonged power outage can cause a system like this to crash and burn in a matter of hours due to plant roots drowning, and sudden pH shift of the water.
 

Lazy Gardener

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For now, I've given up on the HT. Mice moved in, in a big way. they have completely destroyed one bed, and are trashing the other bed. Many traps set. 4 killed. 1 escaped. Now they are trap wary. May have chipmunk or rat issues there as well. After extensive conversations with UMO cooperative extension agent re: safe rodenticides, she has directed me to: cholecaliciferol, which from my reading is approved for organic farm management. (though she is not endorsing it's use)

So, moving forward, I'm going to pull all the greens in the HT, put out some bait, and keep things baited up this winter. I'll need to re-build the HT anyways, b/c the non-PT base is rotting into the ground. Re-thinking my winter gardening. While I love the HT, my needs may be better met with multi layer cold frame which can be set up in the garden, and moved from one place to an other as seasons dictate.

Yesterday, I planted the first batch of lettuce, basil and cilantro. Some will stay in the window box with soil, some will go in 10 gal fish tank aquaponic experiment, and the rest will go in a HK set up: perhaps combination of DWC and tower with trickle down set up. If I do a tower, I plan to add some redworms. They would also do well in the aquaponic set up. If mice get into these plants, I just might need to get out the .22!

throughout the remainder of the winter, any food scraps that are headed to a compost bin/pile will be placed in my secure compost tumbler or worm bin. The tumbler is too difficult to turn, but it will hold the nutrients until weather warms up in the spring.
 

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HT: High tunnel: Similar to a greenhouse, big enough to walk into and work in. The difference between HT and greenhouse: Former is not heated, at most taking advantage of passive solar gain, while latter is climate controlled.

HK: HugelKulture German origin. Typical construction: wood is piled in a trench, with largest pieces on the bottom, and increasingly smaller pieces as you get to the top. Many HK mounds are at least 4' tall. The entire mound of wood is topped off with soil. HK is often used to dispose of junk wood while creating a super fertile bed which wicks and holds moisture, and is super loaded with bacteria and fungi due to the decaying wood. HK shines in management of areas that are either prone to drought or standing water, directing water flow to improve the land. I can attest that HK works very well, even in my mickey mouse mound which did not get trenched, nor did I have enough top soil to effectively cap it off.

DWC: a method of aquaponics or hydroponics in which the plant roots are left submerged (instead of a constant flood/drain system). The plant roots are kept oxygenated by air stones which keep a high level of O2 in the water.
 

Lazy Gardener

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Today's google search: Garden planning 101. What is the size recommendation for a back yard vegetable garden. There are as many variables as there are gardeners. But, I wanted to see what the statistics are. Average recommendation: 100 s.f./person. Then, I found this neat little planning calculator: How many s.f.?
 

flowerbug

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HT: High tunnel: Similar to a greenhouse, big enough to walk into and work in. The difference between HT and greenhouse: Former is not heated, at most taking advantage of passive solar gain, while latter is climate controlled.

HK: HugelKulture German origin. Typical construction: wood is piled in a trench, with largest pieces on the bottom, and increasingly smaller pieces as you get to the top. Many HK mounds are at least 4' tall. The entire mound of wood is topped off with soil. HK is often used to dispose of junk wood while creating a super fertile bed which wicks and holds moisture, and is super loaded with bacteria and fungi due to the decaying wood. HK shines in management of areas that are either prone to drought or standing water, directing water flow to improve the land. I can attest that HK works very well, even in my mickey mouse mound which did not get trenched, nor did I have enough top soil to effectively cap it off.

DWC: a method of aquaponics or hydroponics in which the plant roots are left submerged (instead of a constant flood/drain system). The plant roots are kept oxygenated by air stones which keep a high level of O2 in the water.
ah, thanks! i'm familiar with HK, i just wasn't familiar with that abbreviation. :)
 
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