Wow, what a week. A lot was achieved but there just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day. The birds wake me at 4:45am and I am on the site until the sun goes down after 7PM.
We have now got the greenhouse frame nicely secured with bolts, one of the tanks filled, the gravel growbeds filled and working, some test plants in, and the system cycling merrily away on 3 hour on and 3 hour off cycles. I could go into a lot of detail (this will have to wait for my book), but I think pictures are better than a thousand words, so here goes.
The gravel had to get thoroughly washed. Even then we will still have to cycle the system for days to filter out the colour.
While Joshua was washing the gravel, I was putting together the gravel grow beds. You need to provide a space for water under the gravel, otherwise your drain hole will clog and also the auto-siphon won’t work. To achieve this we cut a core-drain pipe in half along the seam.
You then lay the half at the bottom of the barrel covering the drain hole.
I then made up 6 spray bars with 25mm PVC. As you can see, each one has it’s own valve so that I can regulate the water to the grow beds precisely.
After I had tested the autosiphons and set the valves, we started loading the gravel.
Here is my interpretation of the “siphon-loop” concept. It works like a charm !!
I then planted some test plants. They’re either gem squashes or butternuts. I found them growing from pips in my compost heap.
I needed some assistance from my son to set the stand pipe. No, he is not a Tilapia.
Right, this is where I am now. I need to fill the other pond, put fish in, build another row of gravel grow beds and cycle, cycle, cycle.
SECRET : Please don’t tell anyone. The quickest and easiest way to kick-start the biological process in the grow beds is adding a small quantity of human urine (yuk). Anyway, I am doing beds 1,3, and 5 and my son is doing beds 2.4 and 6.
Next week there will be fish in !!!