The worst part of this aquaponics project is that I really only have weekends and holidays to devote serious time to it. And sometimes I have to devote time to something else.
One of the problems that my raised garden beds have is that my dogs love them. They love to dig in them, sleep in them and run through them. The smell of compost and fertalizer just makes them that much more attractive!
I’ve been talking about building a dog run for these dogs since I moved in. There is plenty of space for them on the grassy driveway in front of the garage. All that was needed is a fence. I looked at putting in a chain link fence, but really, I wanted something that would dramatically improve the look of the yard.
So last weekend I slaved away dug the fence post holes, set the posts, and started putting up the rails. This weekend I finished putting up the rails and added the pickets, and built the gate. The fence isn’t completely finished. I still need to add the pergola on the gate uprights. But it is almost secure enough to keep the dogs in. (I need to install the anti-digging wire on the other side, but I can do that in the evenings after work.) Later I will pretty this up by adding a paver walkway through the gate.
You can see all the fence images here.
Next up on my list:
- Order seeds for my raised bed garden
- Complete my mini-greenhouse / sprouting trays
- Finish digging the stump out
- Put in the paver floor for the fishery
- Start building the grow beds
I’ve found a source for cheap 55-gallon blue plastic drums. They were used to ship corn or corn syrup, and the seller is letting them go for $11 each. Next weekend I plan to purchase 10 of these for use for my grow beds. I will also try to buy two 330 gallon IBCs to complete the fishery. $230 total for all the containers. My source says he always gets in these blue drums, so over the next few months I may add another 20 of them. I’ll continue adding them as I need them.
I don’t plan to cut the drums exactly in half. A standard blue 55 gallon drum is 23 inches in diameter and 35 inches high. Cutting a drum in half gives you a radius of 11.5 inches, which would become the maximum depth of my grow bed. Most aquaponics books and websites recommend a depth of 12 inches. And I want a lip of two to three inches from the top of the substrate media.
So measuring from the center of the circle, I’ll move 3.5 inches away from the center, and cut it there. The walls will bend in a little, but I can live with that I think.
Now I have to figure out how to attach the drain. My system is going to be a flood and fill, and there are several ways to do this. Time to do some thinking and planning!