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....