Monday, October 14, 2013

Fall Updates

I'll just call this post my fall update. Really though, it is a gardening update along with news of my recent operation to have some bumps removed from my eyelid that was causing some vision problems.

A lone pickling cucumber braving the last days of Summer.

New crop in: broccoli and collards.

Eggplant-the biggest producer of the Summer.

A couple of sizable eggplants in the fridge.
A forest of tomato. Fried green tomatoes anyone?

First, the aquaponics gardening update since this news is better. I just planted my fall crop of broccoli, brussels sprouts, and collards. The two eggplants that completely took over an entire growing bed are now gone, having produced their last eggplant. Also gone are the cilantro and basil. After the new plants were established, I planted some Simpson lettuce from seed. It should take a couple weeks to be ready for transplanting in the system. When the lettuce is ready, I'll start poking it into whatever empty space I can find between the other plants. I'm going to try spacing out the plantings in such a way as to allow us to harvest four heads of lettuce a week for salad.

Brussels sprouts at the far end of grow bed.

The fish are getting big enough to eat and I am planning to pick a fish out every couple of weeks starting at the end of November. I'd like to leave them in longer so I can buy more fingerlings from a local source in Spring. Of course, if our government doesn't get their act together and I have to continue working without pay, my fish may start disappearing from their comfortable home much, much sooner.
Baby collards-but growing fast!
Also, this summer I replaced my makeshift heater that did not work very well with a couple of actual heaters made for a fish tank. My only issue is that they might prove insufficient when winter finally turns cold. Of course, that won't be until January so I've got time to replace them if necessary. I've also designed a controller for heaters that monitors the temperature of the water in the tank and turns on the heaters automatically if it falls below 28 degrees Celsius.
New temperature controller.
Old (Flintstonian) heater system.

So far, I'm very impressed with aquaponics gardening. The picture above showing my heater controller and air pump is about as complicated as things get. I'm at the point now where I can simply concentrate on feeding the fish every day and plopping new plants into the growbeds. Plants grow at a phenomenal rate in this system. Also, there is no bending, weeding, or fertilizing. Another added bonus is the soothing sound of trickling water as I tend the garden or feed the fish.

A pathetic soul.
I've been somewhat out of sorts lately with vision problems, depression problems, and just plain getting old problems. On Friday, I went to an ophthalmologist and had a lump removed from my eyelid. The bandage has since been removed and I'm feeling much better. The lid is still a little swollen but is healing well.

By the way, the growth is my protest to the government shutdown and my lack of pay. I tell everyone that "due to the government shutdown, I can no longer afford razors and must use my small supply sparingly."

I should be back to writing at full-speed soon.