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PostPosted: Feb 9th, '19, 21:56 
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We have not had a ton of snow this year, I would guess 12-18 inches of snow total. And never more than 4-5 inches on the ground at once. We have had brutal cold winds though. We've had three storms that took us down to -10 to -21F, not including the wind chill which felt more like -45F when it was -21F.

We have had our kitchen sink plumbing freeze two or three times now. Luckily no broken pipes though. We have been running a space heater in the laundry room to let heat into the floor joices near the kitchen sink... It helps but when it was -21 there was nothing we could do to thaw them out. I had the space heater on 90F, I have an electric heat tape on the lines, I added more insulation, I bought an electric heat pad that I put in the floor joices, and I bought another small heater that we ran under the kitchen sink...didn't matter we went 3 days with no water at the kitchen sink then last weekend it warmed up to almost 50F so everything thawed out... All of the snow melted except the pile where I plowed snow to...it went from 4ft tall to about a foot tall. Then this past week we hovered right near freezing and had freezing rain for three days. The too couple inches of ground thawed out so when I drove my truck and trailer across it yesterday I left a good three inch rut all across the yard. Snowed a little last night.

But I managed to get my 14 IBC tanks home. This brings me up to 18 tanks total, so hoping to raise enough fish this year to start selling to friends and family and maybe eventually get to selling at the farmers market. It will be a summer only setup for a year or two before I can hopefully expand the greenhouse to keep them going year round. Most of these tanks say they contained honey or molasses.

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PostPosted: Mar 21st, '19, 21:39 
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Still not a lot going on here AP related... I did release a bunch of ladybugs and put a bunch of green lacewings eggs in the greenhouse because I noticed we have an aphid infestation. So hoping they get that under control.

I've started some garden plants but the AP is going to be shutdown and moved to an outdoor system this summer while I remodel in the greenhouse a bit.

We have brought home three little piggies for a few months of fattening. Have had them for a couple weeks now. Sam is getting big enough to play with them while they are small.
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PostPosted: Apr 23rd, '19, 21:57 
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Spring is finally becoming a little more consistent, but we still have not outran the threat of frost at night... a few more weeks for that. The hoop house is in full production however... we have so many greens available that we can't keep up with them. Several different lettuce types, swiss chard, kale, spinach all going wild. Onions and garlic taking off, beets and radishes filling in. Carrots not going terribly fast yet but at least getting some greens above ground so they will hopefully take off soon. Also have dill that came up from last year seeds that must have fallen, a potato plant that I apparently missed the tater last year plus some others that I planted this year... and broccoli / cabbage / cauliflower all seem to be growing well.

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I was working in the hoop house over the weekend and saw my first visitor. I don't mind having garter snakes around... they help keep little critters under control without harming our food... my wife is not so fond of any type of snake though.

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Some lettuce that I harvested over the weekend...
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I caught this guy in the hoop house too... from my digging it sounds like it is a black swallowtail. I had noticed a bunch of their caterpillars in the hoop house last year... they demolished our carrot tops... so I hope I caught this guy and got it out of the hoop house before it laid more eggs...sure is pretty though!

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PostPosted: Apr 23rd, '19, 23:37 
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I started working on plumbing in some 55 gallon drums to hold water so it will be a little easier to water next winter hopefully. I have three 55 gallon drums in the hoop house right now, I figure I can fill them up and slowly gravity drain to water beds (hopefully). It won't be a ton of help in the summer because you have to water a lot more... but hopefully winter having minimal watering needs it will help. I also figured this way I can toss some tilapia in the tanks for the summer as well. It won't be recirculating, at least not yet... but hopefully they will be OK. Eventually if I get electric ran to the hoop house I will run pumps to at least circulate the water in there...maybe eventually add some aquaponic beds in there.

I have used a lot of shutoff valves to try and give myself ultimate zone control for where I'm watering, and the ability to drain lines for the winter so they don't freeze.

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The big bed will have 6 drip lines running the full length. I have water supply plumbed to both sides of the bed to hopefully help make sure everything gets watered somewhat consistently.

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Tank at the far end... two drip lines for the two foot wide beds
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supply to the far end of the big bed and feeding the far end of the 2ft wide bed that stretches the entire length of the hoop house.
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feeding the other end of the same bed but from the entrance side.
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Once I finish gluing the plumbing I'll start hauling in wood chips for the walkways to cover the plumbing and get rid of the muddy mess.

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PostPosted: Apr 24th, '19, 01:27 
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Other updates, the piggies are growing. The little ones haven't caught up yet, but I have been adding food grade diatomaceous earth to their feed, had read it is supposed to act as a wormer... I think after I started doing that the little ones started putting on weight a little better, so hopefully they catch up before the big ones get too big.

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Easter Sunday we spent the afternoon outside after we got home from the family get together... we were weeding flower beds and working on planting bulbs and found a bunny nest in one of the flower beds. Then a couple of hours later I was in the garden and kicked a momma bunny out of the garden only to realize she was in one of the beds I built last year that I hadn't added dirt to yet and has a nest of baby bunnies in there too. I saw at least 3 bunnies in that nest, only got a picture of one though. They can live for a couple more weeks but I'll be filling those beds with dirt soon so hope they grow fast and move out soon.

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Final update for today... I got confirmation that my bees will be delivered on Thursday. So my adventure into beekeeping begins this week. I'm not sure that I'm prepared...but I don't have much time... so I did get my initial hive moved out into the field on Sunday. I need to build a second deep but have a couple more weeks at least before they'll need that I guess.

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PostPosted: Apr 26th, '19, 05:46 
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Bees are here! Moved them in this afternoon.

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PostPosted: May 1st, '19, 01:33 
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Wow Rob very impressive! Bee keeping is one of my goals in the future. I am a little jealous haha


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PostPosted: May 1st, '19, 09:29 
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Have to agree. Very impressive.

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PostPosted: May 25th, '19, 01:30 
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I've added the second deep hive box to my beehive a week or so ago... they had filled 2/3 of the frames in the bottom box so I added the second box to give them more room. Now I ordered my first honey super that should get delivered tomorrow, and already received a queen excluder... I need to do some more reading but I am thinking I will probably add the honey super as soon as they get most of the second hive box comb drawn out so they can start working on drawing comb in the honey super... I know you don't get honey from them the first year, but I thought if I add the honey super it would give them the extra space to start working on the comb and if they do start putting honey in it then I can leave it for them over winter this first year... it would at least give them a head start next year I would think.

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PostPosted: Jun 4th, '19, 22:16 
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I had a big oops this week that is rather disappointing... I had a couple dozen channel catfish in a 75 gallon tank inside the house which I've been neglecting and been needing to get tanks set up outside to move them into... well sometime this past week the filter pump died and I didn't notice which resulted in all of the fish in the tank dying and taking on a lovely smell before I noticed it (I've been neglecting them in the sense that I only go down to feed them every few days... everything is kind of slipping right now I've been so busy with other things).

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PostPosted: Jun 5th, '19, 18:28 
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Two weekends ago I installed screen over the roll up sides of the hoop house, rolled up the sides, and added 40% shade cloth. It seems like with the shade cloth my max temps are in the 80s-90s vs. the 120-130+ that I had before, so that is really nice for all of the plants, my lettuce was all starting to bolt so it slowed it down a bit and I think I might be able to replant and grow more through summer hopefully.

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I also installed a magnetic screen door and removed the other door for the summer. My hope is all the screen will cut down on pests and the items we plant don't really need pollinators.
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PostPosted: Jun 9th, '19, 22:45 
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I'm working on plans to redo my greenhouse AP system. I want to add more fish tanks into the greenhouse because right now I only have the two and they are not enough for what I want to do... I've found that with my catfish in there I can't keep very many catfish in an IBC or they kill each other, and I have bluegills in one tank which seem to be OK but I want more fish space... I don't plan to max out each fish tank because I won't have a lot of bed space to filter but I do plan to have a little more bed space than I have today.

Current layout (sorry for the really old pics, its what I could find without going out in the rain to take a new one):

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The current layout I have two fish tanks, one is a 330 gal IBC, the other is about 200 gallons IBC (top cut off), with a 40 gallon sump tank... so not including the water in the constant flood beds I'm running about 570 gallons of water in the system.

Current bed space is:
GB1: 3ft x 2ft (6 sq ft)

GB2: 12ft x 2ft (24 sq ft)

GB3: 8ft x 2ft (16 sq ft) - Dirt NOT AP

GB4: 6ft 6" x 2ft (13 sq ft)

GB5: 2ft x 2ft (4 sq ft)

So I have a total of about 63 sq ft of beds (47 sq ft of AP beds)

The new plan in process will take me to:

FT1: 275 gal IBC
FT2: 275 gal IBC
FT3: 330 gal IBC
FT4: 330 gal IBC
FT5: 330 gal IBC
Sump: 275 gal IBC

So I'll have 1815 gallons of water not including bed space in the new system if it all works out as I'm planning right now. So I'll be a little more than 3X more space.

Then the bed space right now is looking like this:

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The beds will be:
existing GB2: 12ft x 2ft (24 sq ft) - same position as currently on the far left
existing GB3: 8ft x 2ft (16 sq ft) - changed over to AP instead of dirt (already have liner and drain installed) - same position as current (bottom in the picture)
existing GB4: 6ft 6" x 2ft (13 sq ft) - moved to the top bed position

New GB: 4ft x 6ft (24 sq ft)
New GB: 10ft x 2ft (20 sq ft) - dirt
New GB: 10ft x 2ft (20 sq ft) - dirt

So new bed space will be about 117 sq ft (1.86x more bed space), 77 sq ft AP beds (1.63x AP bed space)

Also with this I will plumb in three filtration barrels that I am currently lacking. The current system only uses the GB's as filtration. I'll add three 55 gallon drums for filters, so thats another 165 gallons of water space that goes into the system too.

On top of the added space I am also planning to add in a wood stove to be able to heat the greenhouse better in the winter time.

I am still thinking through the plumbing. Today it runs from the fish tanks to the beds to the sump then is pumped back to the fish tanks. I think the new system will probably run from the beds to the fish tanks to the filters then to the sump before being pumped back into the beds.

My first step is shutting down the existing system. I have been working on removing all of the 55 gallon water barrels because I felt like they took up too much space and didn't really help much with the heat (I hope I'm not wrong this winter!)

I've been working on pulling all of the plants out of the existing system to shut the beds down, but I need to get my outdoor system back up and running to be able to relocate the two tanks of fish that are in the greenhouse to allow me to work on redoing the greenhouse.

I am also still thinking through what to do with my south glass wall. The windows have never sealed so the south wall is soaking wet / rotting wood is the main reason for tackling the project of redoing the greenhouse... so I need to come up with a better solution that isn't going to leak.

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PostPosted: Jun 14th, '19, 22:54 
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rininger85 wrote:
Two weekends ago I installed screen over the roll up sides of the hoop house, rolled up the sides, and added 40% shade cloth. It seems like with the shade cloth my max temps are in the 80s-90s vs. the 120-130+ that I had before, so that is really nice for all of the plants, my lettuce was all starting to bolt so it slowed it down a bit and I think I might be able to replant and grow more through summer hopefully.

Attachment:
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I also installed a magnetic screen door and removed the other door for the summer. My hope is all the screen will cut down on pests and the items we plant don't really need pollinators.
Attachment:
IMG_20190527_145235440-600x800.jpg


Looks great you have really expanded.
Your boy is getting big.

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PostPosted: Jun 18th, '19, 19:18 
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Thanks Mark, I'm still not where I want to be though. I am toying with the idea of adding a second hoop house. I haven't mentioned that to my wife yet though because I don't want to start a fight before I'm ready to build it and right now I need to get the greenhouse redone and I'm not really getting much time to work on it with everything else I have going on.

My boy will be 3 the beginning of August, so he is part of why I'm so busy, but I wouldn't change anything, he is a lot of fun to watch grow up and at the age where his imagination is really starting to run wild, so we get some pretty crazy stories. We have #2 on the way at the end of August, so then my time will be even more constrained... so hopefully I'll finish redoing the greenhouse before then (kind of fitting that I'm remodeling the greenhouse just as the second kid is born since I started building the greenhouse just before the first kid was born).

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PostPosted: Jun 18th, '19, 20:11 
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My little guy is growing up. This was a couple weeks ago he thought his pool was warm enough he got in, it was 72 degrees yikes.
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We have had a lot of rain, so driving the truck and trailer through the backyard left trenches so the boy was out splashing in the puddles.
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This was Sunday, at my in-laws standing under grandpa's dump truck because we noted the tires were bigger than him.
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I built a raised bed for my in-laws over the weekend because they have a lot of rabbits that had been eating their garden. So I built this for them.
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