Heeeha, it’s here at last. SPRING. Well for us in the Southern Hemisphere anyway. Winter was short and sharp with no real surprises. The Tilapia hatchery held up well, without a single mortality amongst my brood fish, despite a low of 16 deg C at some times. The heat pump worked well and now the morning and day-end temparatures are at a level that I can re-introduce the males and females.
Let me explain. This winter I seperated my male and female brood fish and set myself a temperature target of 20 deg C in the morning to re-introduce them to each other. Spot on the nose, 1 September, the first day of spring, my 8 AM temperature was a toasty 21 Deg. I waited until yesterday because I had two learners from the local Oakhill School “job-shadowing” me and it’s always easier having some help.
We moved 15 lucky boys to the female tank of 53 Tilapia females. I now have 21 “reserve” males left in the male tank that I may use if I have any casualties in the ensuing chaos. This is after selling a few extra brood males to local farms. Whilst catching males, the net was suddenly covered in eggs !!! Could it be? Yep, one little female spent the entire winter with 40 plus males. Lucky girl. And she had a mouthful of eggs. On the 2nd of September !! Wow, I think this is going to be a good season if it is starting this early.
I have set myself a target of 5000 Tilapia fingerlings per week from 1 October and this is going to take some work and some additional investment in another tank. The Child Bride is NOT going to be happy.
On the plant side, I am going to be doing things slightly differently this summer. My Aquaponic system is going to be planted out mostly with moisture loving watercress, mint and then some spinach and lettuce. Everything else, including my beloved tomatoes will all be planted in the ground in soil well composted from our own compost heap. When the temperatures started inceasing in mid-August I took a chance and started planting my spring crops. I have loads in the ground now including peas, beans, lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, water melon, squash. pumpkin, corn, butternut, tomatoes, peppers, chillis and a load of other seed that I have lost track of.
The monster koi pond that I built has come in very handy as a water reservoir and I now have over 20 000L of reserve water to water my rapidly expanding veg patch. The beauty of this water is that although it is rain water off of my roof, it has flowed through my Aquaponic system and then overflowed and is rich in Nitrates. The plants seem to be thriving on it.
Another project that I have started, is to build a clay oven similar to this one.
My oven is going to be slightly different to this one, in that it won’t have a chimney. Another interesting tweak is that I’ll be building it on a brick base as usual, but on top of a timber frame on a section of my deck, with some fancy heat insulating ideas. I’ll also be making it out of clay from my own garden. I want to be able to make pizzas, bake bread, roast meat as well as smoke fish, chicken etc. All in the same oven. But first I have to build it. Watch this space. They say that every journey begins with the first step. Well here is the first step.
The commercial farms are all looking very good and the temperatures have not been as much of a factor as last winter. They all had heat pumps in and working early. They are producing a steady stream of produce as can be seen from this image from mid-winter.
Enough for now.
P.S. What do you think of this Synaptoman T-Shirt?