Hello BYAPers (or is it 'pons?)
I have been sutdying, lurking, watching videos and the like about AP for about a month now. It's amazing, it's become an obsession basically and will not leave me alone.
Anyway, yesterday I registered after having what I would call an epiphany while thinking about cost-effective AP and recycling. That's why i'm posting this here in the Sustainable section.
I'm all for making someone else's waste as your own treasure and after seeing the various pros and cons of the 'classic' media for the GB's I came up with two ideas.
I would've loved to be able to keep my mou shut until I had my system up and running and could thoroughly test them in person and have some pics ready, but I'm still in design stage and am going to buy my IBC's next week (will make my own sustem thread but that's another point). Anyway, I'm posting this more as a 'food for thought' kind of topic and would love to see some debate over the hypothetical possibility of this.
It is my understanding that the main things you are looking for are:
1. Hydroton sized media
2. Non floating media (I read a topic about using pop bottle taps but they float so no-no)
3. Reasonably light-weight media
(not in an order of importance).
These are my two sustainable, nature-provided, low cost growing media I came up with. Here goes nothing.1. Quercus ilex or Holly Oak acornshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quercus_ilex
I was crossing my yard where I have a HUGE holly oak two days ago and was musing on how to get rid of all the acorns it dropped this year. I literally have thousands andthey are a nuisance because they cover the grass and slowly kill itnover some time, and they're basically undestructable.
I pinched a handful and brought them inside. I wish I had time to take pictures and resize, upload, ecc and I promise I will eventually.
I threw them inside a jar with water and watched gleefully as they slowly tumbled down to the bottom of the jar and rested over there.
Can be found in nature abundantly
Is very strong and chances are it will not 'bloom' or sprout if used as a growing media. Why? Well most people think that if they lose their small 'cap' (which would be taken off in a GB as it wants to float) they will not be able to bloom and are hence reduced to a small pebble/nuisance.
I've also had a few in my compost for over four months and they haven't budged one bit (they got there by mistake, wasn't hooked on AP yet).
They will however be subject to rotting, and would have to be "changed" somewhere down the line.
There are many more things about this possible growing medium but this is just to kick-start the conversation. Will post pictures soon, but you can see one on the branch in the wikipedia page.2. Olive seed/Pit
I think everyone knows the look of this one.
I was eating an olive out of my fridge and while spitting the pit I thought it reminded me of hydroton.
That sent my brain reeling and backflipping.
I had to sit down to evaluate the idea.
As you can see, I come from Italy, we have a long tradition of olive oils and my particular town is one of the best in the world for production (2009 best olive oil in the world prize) so olive trees are pretty common here, I happen to have one in my backyard and my grand has about four (the neighbors also have a few).
Making oolive oil is basically impossible for a backyard olive tree owner (you could probably make a 1.2 L bottle of oilive oil /extra virgin/ with my whole 17y.o. Tree, so we usually salt them and can them as an appetizer or for pizzas or salads, as do most people) and you lose the pit in the making.
My idea here would be to use olive pits as growing media. They do not float (actually, they do for the first 24 to 48 hours or so as an olive after picking but then they sink to the bottom) but most importantly people see them as an annoyance
in their perfect olive.
Also, commercial re-sellers of canned olives rarely take the pit out because it makes for a heavier olive, thus inducing consumers to think they are buying half a kg of olives while a good chunk of this is the pit.
Now for the fun part. It being a seed, how can I be sure it will not give birth to a baby olive tree while acting as a media? Well that's easy to answer with some small countryside wisdom.
People generally don't know this but here it's an accepted truth: for a seed to sprout successfully, it has to be eaten (as an olive) by a bird and then 'pooped' by the bird, hence being fertilised.
Non-pooped pit: 1% possibility of growth, very very slow
Pooped-pit: 99% probability of growth
Plus, most commercial olives have already been sitting in water for some time and have a 0% growth probability.
There's a whole army of restaurants that chuck hundreds of these out every month. By running a small ad on the internet or asking some local restaurants one wcould easily have enough in a month maybe.
This is it for now, as I said previously just some food for thought.
Any spelling mistakes due to overwhelmingness of the ideas!