Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Green Neighbors and Boston Architectural College have organized a 2-day Productive Collective workshop in Dorchester to construct PV panels for our Off-Grid Greenhouse! Full series of photos from Day-1.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Codman System Update!

The tilapia seem quite happy - the largest is now over 4" and they have started taking our largest feed.

Lisa harvested much of the lettuce for students' salads and plans to use this basil for a pesto tomorrow!

Do you see the two cucumbers forming at the base of the flowers?!

Todays test shows that pH, Ammonia, and Nitrite are all in the right place. The Nitrate is low because the fish weren't fed over the weekend.

Things are looking very productive and harvest is already upon us 1.5 months in!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

GYOStuff Garden Learning Center

Our friends at GYO have created a number of resources for those of us growing plants from seed, using hydroponics, or other means. Check out their resources and classes here: http://www.gyostuff.com/Learning_Center.html

Particularly useful to us has been the visual inspection nutrient deficiency chart, included in this post or via this link: http://www.gyostuff.com/Nutrient_Deficiencies.html#How_to_treat_nutrient_deficiencies

Monday, April 29, 2013

Codman Academy, Month 1

Here's a look at month one of our operational 120 gallon system indoor aquaponics system - a joint collaboration between the Boston Architectural College, The Productive Collective, and Codman Academy.

We are currently growing lettuce, basil, squash, cucumber, peas, peppers, and mint - all with eighteen blue nile tilapia and four goldfish! Very quickly, the Codman system has shown that it will yield the best results of any PC WApU yet - a true testament to the research we've all contributed the past year of work.

One thing we're noticing is that the bigger the system, the more stable it is and the more productive. Having over 20 fish in the tank really increases the nutrients and this thing is flying. Another aspect is access to natural light - something that we really don't have on other sites.

In particular, Codman has proved to be an excellent site - We have made a great connection with biology instructor Ed Yoo and librarian Lisa Graustein - who are equally invested in the project.

Productive Collective is just beginning to grow.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

WApU Willow up and running again

After a fish catastrophe [my fish died two weeks ago], I'm now finally up and running again in my kitchen aquaponics system, WApU Willow. Trouble first started brewing about three weeks ago, when my two goldfish developed white fungus on their heads. We've had success in the past by adding some salt into the water, so I did that - and the fish seemed to get better for a few days. But then, I came home from work one day and found them both belly up in the tank. I was pretty sad, as the fish had been doing so well, and because I felt like we had been partners in getting this wacky project off the ground...After giving them the proper fish burial, I tested my water. Holy ammonia!! Thus began my two-week project to get the chemical levels right without losing my thriving basil and parsley in the process. I did a half-tank water change, and gradually, the ammonia level came down, the nitrites began climbing, the nitrates didn't drop too much [thankfully], and I began to think about being ready [emotionally and system-wise] for some new fish. And my plants were starting to show signs of nitrogen deficiency, so the time was nigh.

So, when PC friend Gus Lynch was in town from Seattle, he was kind enough to buy me 4 new goldfish at our local pet store and deliver them to this beautiful bowl at Kyle and Lauren's house [see above], where I picked them up and moved them to their new home in my kitchen. They seem to be doing fine - eating, swimming, and hopefully, pooping - I've got a whole new bed, too, filled with watercress clippings from our new friends in Holyoke [more on this in another post, coming soon], so I need some nitrates! In any case, it's great to be up and running again!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Planting Day at Codman

The big day finally arrived - we planted our system at Codman! With leadership from some BAC students and Codman students, the planting of the seedlings was completed in about 1.5 hours. We planted 58 seedlings - a mix of basil, lettuce, hot peppers, chives, squash, and cucumber - all of it destined for Codman's cafeteria! We then tweaked the plumbing a bit, and fired up the system. We're looking forward to watching these plants grow and soak up all those good nitrates....

Monday, March 25, 2013

Seedling Prep

Kyle and Lauren picked up the seedlings yesterday, and planted them in rock wool plugs. We'll be planting these into the Codman System in due time! The light looks purple because we're using special LED grow light specifically tailored to growing plants - chlorophyll is most receptive to light energy in the blue and red wavelengths.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Follow us on Facebook this Spring!

We just added a bunch of photos to the Facebook page - 'like us' to stay ontop of the good progress as we thaw out and enter spring.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Seedlings ready!

Took trip to GYO Stuff in Cambridge today to check in on the WApU_Codman's seedlings - Here's a shot of the basil and lettuce - ready to be transplanted into the system. The seedlings are growing in a rock wool plug that we will place into the larger 3" 'gro-blocks' and burry those into hydroton pots! There are a few steps to cure the blocks - so I've attached a diagram found on the products website.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Tilapia Arrive at Codman Academy!

18 of these little fellas arrived at Codman Academy this past Thursday - all are healthy and feasting on high protein organic fry pellets. If we play are cards right, we might be lucky to be feasting on THEM in 9 months!

The PC Builds a WApU at Codman Academy!

On February 18, 2013, a group of Boston Architectural College Students joined a group of students at Codman academy to build an aquaponics unit in the school's library, facilitated by The Productive Collective. The video was created by PC member, Dan Weissman. Be sure to turn up the speakers!

WApU_Davis - 3 Bed Update

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Codman Delivery!

Alex and I braved the beginning of Winter Storm Nemo to deliver the 90 gallon fish tank and all of our locally sourced items to Codman Academy on Friday. While we were there, Lisa showed us the announcement and student interest board - looks like we have a lot of folks ready to learn about aquaponics!

The PC design's the Codman System

Here's a diagram of the system we're building with the Codman Academy next weekend!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Out with a bang!

So the pepper that we rescued from the first fall frost has been on life support in our window aquaponics unit for several months - typically fruiting plants are the hardest to grow in 'young' aqua ponics systems. This morning I found our pepper exhausted and dried out in the grow bed - apparently it expended all of its energy delivering a single green pepper!