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In this post I will try to answer questions if I can? Help with the best of my knowledge if possible. Firstly I am not a full time 'Farmer'. In the 60s and 70s I worked as a kid on local farms to earn a little money. I came from a poor background. I have always worked hard and craved knowledge and learning.
Like Kenny in the late 70s I was interested, and studied Hydroponics. But in later (self taught years). I saw the advantages, and challenging disadvantages of Aquaponics.
Firstly. We must understand the basic needs of what a plant needs to live and grow. Water, Nutrients, Air, light, Temperature, space, and time.
Water - To feed (just the same way, we need to drink) and used to carry the nutrients. Too little or too much water or nutrients can also be harmful.
Nutrients - The most important nutrients for plants growing needs are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Nitrogen is necessary for making green leaves, phosphorus is needed for making big flowers and strong roots, and potassium helps the plants fight off disease.
Temperature - Most plants prefer cooler nighttime temps and warmer daytime temperatures.
Air and Light - Fresh, clean air and light are essential for healthy growth. Plants are the greatest consumer of solar energy, using power from the sun to mix up an energy rich meal. The process where plants make their own food is known as photosynthesis.
Space and Time - Plants need room to grow. Without enough room, plants can become stunted or too small. Overcrowded plants are also more likely to suffer from diseases since airflow may be limited. Finally, plants require time and care.
To go back and answer a question? Most seeds will be required to germinate in darkness.
Paul mentioned lighting? Back in the early days, and still mostly now! The lights used for hydroponic growing would be very expensive 600w.
With the new technology of LCD lights on the market, and now very good growing media available via the internet. I had returned some years ago to experiment with Hydroponic indoor growing again. The following photo's are of working prototypes. Drip feed and Flood and drain systems.
This is a drip feed system to accommodate four young plants. When the plants grow too large they are moved into their own single unit.
The pipes can be placed freely and water flow can be regulated via the taps. The pump works with a timer. The built in temperature gauge is nice useful feature.
This is a Flood and drain system (without a Bell Syphon). Again the pump is on the timer! When the pump stops, the water flows back via the pump.
Same concept, just slower return flow (use for large plant).
Just some of the components needed to build. I use the air-stone in the grow bed to give more oxygen to the plants roots. This all works on the watering cycles, when the timer ends the pump and air stop too.
Flower used to illustrate.
LCD Light can be adjusted accordingly.
All the parts I used to make the above prototypes are storage components, from a well known European furniture outlet! Now very well established in Thailand.
While rice is really the last thing I ever wish to plant, Chan and I talked about it early this year. So, after buying seed, putting it in the ground, fertilizing it when necessary, and praying enough rain would come to feed the rice, harvest finally arrived.
The harvester arrived last evening. A few friends of her nephew showed up as well, to help bag the harvest.
Not a very good one this year, due to late rains, though. Twenty-seven bags of rice were harvested from two hectares of land.
Will see how much (weight) we yielded soon, when it is sold. I hope we at least have a bit of spending money left over, afterward.
So, January of last year (2016), we dug a new pond, filled in an old pond, and added a bit more fill dirt about to expand the higher land at the farm.
Running a bit behind, mostly due to rainy season lasting into January of this year, and delays in getting funds transferred. But, we are here now. Chan rang the farm today, learning the dirt guys were across the road working. Talk about timing. She got off the phone and let me know what was happening. So, for tomorrow (Monday the 13th), we agreed to pay $8.00 per load of dirt, delivered and filled in to continue expanding the higher property so we will be able to expand the farm with livestock. We will build a larger barn for the cows, to allow for those to have needed room, and for future cows, as well.
A bit later, someone rang us from the farm. It was a neighbor who lives very close by, letting us know she would like a pond dug. So, it looks like this could be a win-win situation for us, and the neighbor. Due to them being so close to the property, we will get the loads of dirt needed, at $7.00 each. Possibly even cheaper. (Negotiating tomorrow, at the farm.) We will start with another, oh, 50 to 60 loads or so, then see where that puts us. So, it looks like there is no need for us to dig another pond, or expand our current pond at the farm, at this time.