Monday, November 23, 2015

Hoop House Considerations - Muddy Fingers Farm

 This handy dandy video caught my attention this morning, and I was quite impressed with the detailed info! Definitely had some "ah ha!" moments throughout it. The Man and I will be putting up a large hoop house on the farm when spring rolls around (for our aquaponics enterprise), and I do believe this video has answered the last couple of questions we had...

P.S. To those of you who have subscribed to the weekly newsletters... You may have noticed that you didn't get one yesterday! Bad, bad Caity... Shame on me. Actually, the reason behind that is that I've been visiting a friend at the hospital, and thus didn't have time this weekend to write up the newsletter. This is also why there was no Saturday "Pinterest Link Up". My apologies to you all! Things should go back to normal now.


Anonymous said...

It is good to see you back on the blog Caity! I have enjoyed hearing about what has been going on in your neck of the woods. I especially enjoyed the walk around your property. In case you are interested, I recently started a blog with stories about people's experiences with angels which can be visited at this link:
Cory M.

gz said...

Have you found Susan Waughtal's blog, SquashBlossomFarm, on blogspot? Good for ideas, help and good pictures! They are in Rochester, which I think is a fair way from you, unfortunately.

Prairie Kari said...

I really look forward to hearing more about your aquaponics venture! We used to grow arctic char for the restaurant market and rainbow and brook trout for people stocking their farm ponds. The engineer who designed the water recycling biofiltration system we used there was involved with aquaponics so I was always interested to hear a little bit about it from him. I later worked for a Tilapia farm and was so excited as they had an aquaponics greenhouse too but… it was not running the year I was there starting their breeding program :( Being Canada and cold winters they were working on adding geothermal heat to the bldg so they could run more efficiently yr round. I did buy their old greenhouse frame and had intended to set up for aquaponics but never did – the water quality on my farm is not all that good so would be a bit of a struggle I have never wanted to battle. That wiggle wire looks genius for controlling some of the wild winds we get here! What type of fish is there a market for in your area? What do you get down there for snow and wind? Do you have fairly good well water?

Goat Song said...

Cory! Good to hear from you! Gosh I miss seeing your smiling face... Thou needs to come visit the wonderful land of Missouri sometime soon. ;) Nice blog! You have a real talent for words, and I think you could definitely go far in life with that gift. Keep writing!

Goat Song said...

GZ, thanks for the suggestion! I hadn't heard of that blog, but I Googled it and found it. They've got a NICE aquaponics setup! Interesting that they're using an in-ground pool/tank for the fish. My husband and I wanted to do too, but it turns out that we're in the wrong part of the hemisphere... :-/ In our area, an in-ground tank would only cool the water down, when what we need is heating it up! So now we're back to planning on above-ground tanks, and an efficient pellet stove to heat the greenhouse during winter.

Goat Song said...

Kari, I didn't realize that Arctic Char could be raised aquaponically!!! Ooooh this is exciting! I don't know if it would work, raising them in my climate but I'm definitely going to look into it!

As for your questions... We're not planning on marketing the fish from our aquaponics setup; it'll all be for family (we have a LOT of family living around here... LOL.), as will most of the vegetables grown. The surplus veggies will be sold in the CSA that's run by family next door (same family I was interning with), but the main reason for aquaponics is just self sufficiency. We'll raise mostly tilapia though, and I'd love to add Arctic Char to that if possible. Oh yeah, and I get a separate tank for my koi. Because I'm strange that way, and want some permanent resident koi. ;)

Snow/wind wise, it's pretty mild. Two years ago was a "very severe" winter and we got a little over a foot of snow for a couple of weeks. And the usual "bad" winds hit around 45mph; we had I think two days of high winds this year? So yeah, it's a good place for greenhouses + aquaponics. There are four or five other folks in my area who are already doing aquaponics and they've had great success with year around production.

We'll be doing a mix of rain water and well water for the fish tanks. Our well water is pretty good, but a little high in calcium; so we'll be adjusting that accordingly for the fish. Most folks around here say a 50/50 mix of rain and well water does the trick for the fish.

Prairie Kari said...

Just to clarify – we did not use Arctic Char in Aquaponics – they are a cold water fish our water out of the well was about 42F which was too cold for ideal growth and spawning so water recirculation temp was about 46- 54F – fish grow faster in warmer temps but also need more oxygen in their water as the temp rises. It would be too warm in a greenhouse for them unless you cooled your water.

The place I worked that did use aquaponics (not while I was there though) only used Tilapia fish for that, a warm water fish better suited to aquaponics. They were located outside a city with a large Asian market that once a wk they delivered live fish to the Chinese markets and some larger restaurants. Customers buy them live right out of the tank just like you would with a live lobster- both in the stores and restaurants. The live market brought top dollar so keep it in mind if you ever decide to sell a few. They had some eel for the Asian market too - I never warmed up to those at all! Tilapia with sharp fins that can cut you no prob, eels no thanks!

I totally get keeping some Koi as pets – we had Sturgeon pets –not ours (you cannot farm Sturgeon by law) they were owned by the University for research but talk about cool prehistoric looking fish – they would swim over to you at feeding time and you could really lightly stroke them – I don’t think they got anything out of it but we did! We bred some Rainbow trout for pond stock sales that were “blue” and they got top dollar for the novelty. I am sure you know that certain colors of Koi bring top dollar so you could think about that pet market too. You could grow pond plants too-so many urban people have a little backyard pond and all want plants for them. We had bulrushes/cattails not sure what you call them down there but we had a lot of them growing in our outdoor ponds as filtration and we had some people wanting seed from those - there are so many possibilities you are going to have a lot of fun with it - I can't wait till you get started!

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