At some point I’ll manage to document the roller-coaster ride that was our first go at Aquaponics. Suffice to say it was a mixed success – we got to eat lots of delicious trout, but lost quite a few on the way too.

After a major redesign to get the fish out
of the polytunnel we are finally ready to go again – the system has been split to allow for different sizes, and different species, so we’re now eagerly awaiting our first Carp delivery ….

Rainbow trout to be exact! We should be getting tiny (10g) Rainbow trout for our system tomorrow, so I thought it was time for a quick celebratory update:

Almond - Robijn - Blossom

Almond - Robijn - Blossom

Just time for another quick update before I zoom off to Green Drinks tonight to present on the topic of Manchester’s Food Security and Aquaponics. I had a good half-hour of planting this morning so, I had a chance to run around with the camera capturing all the growth:

I’m so flat out planting and working that it’s hard to get to the blog, but I’m taking plenty of pics along the way, so here’s a quick photo update for you:

I know that is an optimistic title for a post, but it feels like we are getting there. Hopefully the leaking sump joints are sealed, and we can get on with it!  Here are the latest pics:

You can see my beautiful brick path – good thermal mass to help with moderating the polytunnel temperatures, and much nicer to walk on than the mud! The large buried sump at the back has a timber deck covering it that the kids can stand on to reach the back beds – so I think those will now be their spot for planting.

And here’s the right hand side:

The timber “paving” is over the new link between the two shallow sumps – designed so that I can lift it up to check for leaks.

Now it’s all “cycling” again – building up the bacteria that’ll clean the water. Soon I’ll start planting – but in the meantime we have our first Aquaponics workshop on next week, so time to tidy up!

Sorry I haven’t been posting much recently – been too busy with aquaponics / filling gaps in house walls & other draftproofing / aquaponics / Transition Town Altrincham, Hale & Bowdon / being on BBC Radio Manchester / changing lightbulbs / saving 1.5 kWh per day by buying a new freezer / aquaponics / and some Christmas and New Year stuff too!

Anyway, let’s resume normal service with a pic from the polytunnel – looks like we might need some heating in there next year:

This is the ice on the top of the fishtank. To give you an idea of scale, the thickest bits are 2-3 inches thick. The water temp is down to 2-3°c and the polytunnel itself got down to -4.5°c at its coldest.

No problem with mud in the garden this morning, it went down to -1.7°C last night in the garden, and even the inside of the polytunnel was down to -1°C.

The ground in the garden is pretty solid now, but has remained a little soft in the polytunnel. The cold snap has seen the water temperature drop from 9°C down to 7°C.

Here’s how the ‘allotment’ is going:

The onions, garlic and purple-sprouting  broccoli should be all frost hardy, so let’s see how they go!

The frost patterns on the inside of the polytunnel are pretty amazing, not sure I’ve ever seen anything like this:


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