On November 20th, we created a post with pictures of me (Grace) planting seedlings into our aquaponics growroom grow beds. These are pictures of those grow beds 23 days later. The above picture is Grow Bed #3 with two kinds of Humble Seed Lettuce planted in it. The front row is called Red Oak and the back rows are the popular Black Seeded Simpson lettuce by Humble Seed. These two varieties are really doing well in our aquaponics grow beds.
However, had we given them the proper amount of light and put lots of moving air on them from the beginning, they would be doing even better.
About a week ago, we had an esteemed guest whose name is Zotero Citlalcoatl. Zotero coordinates a gardening cooperative for schools & community organizations for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. He is purchasing three systems just like the one in our growroom, which will be placed in three elementary schools in Tucson; and, “Yes”, we’re really thrilled that is happening. Zotero is a walking, talking encyclopedia of plant knowledge; and we learned a lot from his visit as we taught him how to set up and maintain an aquaponics system. I’ll be doing another post soon showing you our new LED lights and our three newly installed fans that keep the air circulating nicely in the growroom.
So besides not having circulating air in our new growroom, we also didn’t have enough lighting to allow our first grow out of lettuce to become thick and bushy. Right around December 1st, we added two more fluorescent lights to the lighting array; and started running the lights 24 hrs. a day instead of 16 hrs. a day. That means we need to do another test with the same Humble Seed Lettuce starting from seedlings again after this batch grows out. I’m thinking that in 23 days, we’ll have lettuce ready to eat.
So that’s the good news about our Humble Seed Lettuce. Unfortunately, there’s also some bad news that has to do with lighting. In that earlier post, Nov. 20th, we showed pictures of Humble Seed Romaine Seedlings in the rock wool cubes that were about to be planted into Grow Bed #4. They were planted under one fluorescent light for the first couple of weeks and were doing well. However, we realized the single light really wasn’t covering the entire bed. We let things stand as we had ordered some LED lights that we were planning to put over that grow bed, which was full of Romaine lettuce from a variety of vendors including Humble Seed.
We got the LED lights, took down the fluorescent light and hung the new LED lights around Dec. 2nd. To our disappointment, none of the Romaine lettuce is growing properly; and today we just found another source for purchasing LED’s. We’re not ready to give up on using LED’s because the savings in utility costs are so great; and we’re feeling confident that this time we’ve found the right company. This was an expensive mistake. Once we get the new LED’s up and plant new seedlings, we’ll be sharing our LED results and the name of the company whose lights actually work. So stay tuned.
And remember, you can watch all this happening on a live webcam on the “Greenhouse” page of our site. Just scroll down to the bottom of the page where you’ll see our tilapia laying on top of their condos and our grow beds growing lettuce. The red hew over the last grow bed, Grow Bed #4, is coming from the LED’s that aren’t giving the Romaine lettuce in that bed what it needs. You can see there is no lettuce visible in the webcam. Although there are whisps of lettuce in the bed–scrawny, leggy, pitiful Romaine lettuce.
Here’s another photo of some Baker Creek Lettuce in Grow Bed #1. The front row is called Big Boston and the back row is Gentilina. They are doing well also; and were growing without enough light during their first two weeks as well.
Like we said in an earlier post, our growroom is our laboratory; and we’re learning as we grow and growing as we learn and sharing it all with you. In terms of the fluorescents, we now have the right amount of light and are getting nice, full, heads of lettuce. And we’re really thrilled with how well our Humble Seed Lettuce is doing.
You can purchase Humble Seed Kits right on our website at: http://www.aquaponicsusa.com/Aquaponics_USA_Seeds
Seeds make a wonderful Christmas gift for all of those gardening enthusiasts on your list.
Thanks for visiting our Blog. Have a joyful Holiday Season and check back for more great articles about Aquaponics in 2012.