When we find caterpillar's on our milk weed, we bring bring them into the house to protect them. Here we are releasing numbers 2, 3 and 4.
Friday, October 27, 2017
After our turtle escaped, I have been turning her former tank into an aquaponics set up. Here is a picture of what it looks like so far, minus the trays for growing veggies (since I've been busy finishing up my PhD). Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture (growing fish) and hydroponics (the growth of plants with only water and nutrients). Basically the fish poop feeds the plants. The systems are supposed to be very efficient and have fewer problems with weeds.
I'll probably be working on this over the winter so that we can try growing leafy greens come spring. At the moment I only use the set up to grow duckweed, which is a small aquatic plant that grows rapidly under the correct conditions. We had originally grown it as food for our turtle, but now I am playing with it for carbon capture experiments. I remember reading an article about these high tech ways of capturing carbon dioxide and thought it could be cheaper to do with just simple plants, algae, and water. No data yet but now that I have time on my hands I'll take a second look.
Thursday, October 19, 2017
The bioreactor experiment worked well. I managed to grow algae (not that hard, I know), but not nearly as much mass as I would have liked. Usually the first bottle had the most green and vibrant algae, which decreased as you went further down the chain. I take this as proof that the C02 is getting absorbed, since it must be limited the growth in the bottles.
I found that the amount of fertilizer you use is a very steep learning curve, meaning that if you put too much you kill the algae, but I am sure that I didn't experiment enough to find out the perfect amount. As well, as you can tell by the bright blue color, I used dreaded chemical fertilizers (miracle grow), which I have since stopped using, and replaced with compost tea (basically the liquid that comes off of my worm composter).
I stopped experimenting with this type of set up. Mostly because it was hard to get the algae out of the bottles. I have since started experimenting with growing duckweed (and unfortunately algae if I dont pay attention). I'll post more about this in the future, as well as approximating how much carbon I can get out.
Here is an older (but big) project that we finished six months ago. A little library! For those of you that don't know what they are, here is a link to the organization. They are small community gardens, operated by home owners,take a book, leave a book style. We liked the ideas behind the project and it seemed like a good way to build community, meet neighbors, and share some good books!
We used left over plywood from another project, cutting four of them:
To each end, at the back end, I attached a 2 x 2. In the front I used two by fours, which needed to be able to hold the weight of the heavy recycled window door.