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Aquaponics World Keeps Changing Everything


January 2015 Newsletter
Aquaponics USA/World             
Lucky Number 13
Table of Contents

 

Our 60º Vertical Duffy Duct System for Greenhouses

 

A 60º Vertical Wall growing Red Oak Leaf Lettuce

 

We did it again. Tore everything (except the Deep Media Beds) out of the Greenhouse

 

Back to the drawing board to build 7 ft. 80º Vertical Ducts

 

It’s a Trough alright; but not for a Raft System

 

The Drawing of the new 80º Vertical System

 

The Drawing Program that made it all possible–Artboard

 

The finished 80º Vertical Duffy Duct System

 

Moving Lettuce from Stage one Grow Out to Stage Two Grow Out

 

The 80º Vertical Duffy Duct System planted

 

A Word from our Editor, Grace Sylke
We’ve delayed Part 2 of our new Series on“Obesity in America” to bring you this informative Newsletter about what’s been happening in our Greenhouse. Actually, it’s a brief history of that ever changing Greenhouse.

Don’t miss our Aquaponics World
Pinterest is growing in leaps and bounds. It’s a fun way to share your favorite images on the web. We’ve got some great ones to share.

It has Links to all of our 2014 Newsletters. We don’t only talk about Aquaponics. We talk about important issues relating to our Food System like the “Food Revolution, Parts 1-4”, “The Organic Industry in the U.S, Parts 1-3” and other important Food System topics.

Go To Our
We have some really popular and informative YouTube Videos up on our TV Channel; and we’ll be doing a new one on our 80º Vertical System real soon.
     Aquaponics World, LLC
    Just Keeps Changing Everything

Dear Subscriber:
If you’ve been following our progress over the years since we first came onto the Aquaponics scene in early 2009, you already know we’re innovators. Our retired aerospace engineer turned Aquaponics Systems Designer, Oliver Duffy, just keeps improving his designs never being satisfied to settle for almost great and certainly never following the pack.
We started our Aquaponics journey as backyard Deep Media system designers, which we are still doing through our Aquaponics USA company that sells Deep Media Home and School Systems. In those days our Greenhouse looked like this with five Deep Media Beds.
Then we started exploring commercial aquaponics and talking about the possibility of designing Vertical Aquaponics systems on a large scale to sell vegetables for profit. Quite frankly, we were laughed at by some pretty heavy hitters in the field in those early years of commercial aquaponics.
Suddenly, everything changed and anyone who was a real contender in the field started designing commercial systems that no longer grew leafy greens in Deep Media Systems. It was the time of the emergence of Deep Water Culture Beds often referred to as Raft Systems. Raft Systems have become the standard for commercial aquaponics; and it seems the pack has simply settled on them as the answer.
Raft systems were not new technology as they came onto the scene in the 70’s with the now famous Dr. James Rakocy over at UVI (University of the Virgin Islands); but until around 2011, for the aquaponics companies that formed in the field outside of University settings, Deep Media was all the rage.
Now, it’s the ubiquitous Horizontal Raft System that is showing up everywhere in commercial systems that are growing leafy greens. Below, this Raft System, showing only the troughs, was built for the 2013 Greenhouse Expo in Bahrain. The plants will be held in polystyrene rafts floating over the troughs. The polystyrene has holes drilled in it to hold the plants. There’s nothing wrong with these Horizontal Raft Systems as they’re made out of wood and pond liner; and are, therefore, relatively inexpensive to build; and they grow beautiful leafy greens. But their downside is they are all “Horizontal” and take up a massive amount of Greenhouse or Warehouse space to put out their crops.
  
In the aquaponics field, space is precious so designing systems with the ability to put out more plants in less space is highly desirable.

So Oliver designed Vertical NFT Ducts to grow Leafy Greens. We call them Duffy Ducts™ in honor of his last name. 

In February of 2014, we tore the five Deep Media Beds, pictured above, out of our Greenhouse and installed this space saving 60º Vertical Duffy Duct™ System. We made our ducts out of vinyl fence posts; but soon discovered these slick, thick fence posts were way too expensive to enable us to build Food Forever™ Farms, which would require thousands of them. This isn’t news as we’veBloggedYouTubed and Newslettered about our first Vertical duct system on a few occasions. For the purposes of this Newsletter, we wanted to recap the history that’s been going on in our Greenhouse since 2009.
The above system isn’t only saving precious space. It’s saving one of the most important natural resources on our planet today–WATER! The little bit of water that’s trickling down these ducts is way less than what you see filling the troughs in the Raft System above.
The only way to accomplish this feat in an aquaponics system is to have ultra clean, clear water in the system; and that is no easy task. Actually, that’s where the rubber hits the road in aquaponics system design. And that leads right to our proprietary technology that is in a Patent Pending process called our Solids Separation BioConversion System (SSBS). Our SSBS is a state of the art water conversion invention that makes Vertical Aquaponics NFT Growing Systems possible.
For those of you who don’t know, NFT stands for Nutrient Film Technique; and these systems have been around for a long time as they’ve been borrowed (pretty much like everything else) from Hydroponics technology. But rarely, if ever, do you see NFT systems placed in a Vertical configuration unless Horizontal NFT’s are stacked. The system below is a Horizontal NFT system; but you can see how the troughs could be staked one above the other on railings to turn them into a layered vertical system.

That’s not what we’re doing. We’re actually turning our Duffy Duct™ System Vertically at a 60º angle to full Vertical and growing what looks like walls of leafy greens.

Here’s a Wall of Red Oak Leaf Lettuce that was growing in our Greenhouse last year.

But by this time, we had already discovered our big price problem and had torn out all of the vinyl fence posts that had grown 3 crops of perfectly beautiful lettuce for us. We replaced the vinyl fence posts with vinyl downspouts, which you can barely see in this picture. We left the support structure in place only replacing the ducts.
Here’s a picture of our vinyl fence posts in the Bone Yard along with some of the Deep Media Beds we tore out of the Greenhouse in February of 2014.
If you’re thinking this can get to be an expensive proposition, you’re right; but we’re doing R&D on the perfect Food Forever™ Farm system and that means these Farms not only have to grow leafy greens using less space and water, they also have to be affordable for our clients so the vinyl fence posts had to go. This first adjustment to the design happened around July of 2014.
The new downspouts grew beautiful crops of lettuce right into December. In fact, we had so much lettuce we had to sell it so we contacted a couple of free lance chefs in Palm Springs, Chef Giovanni of Freelance Gourmet and Scott of New Leaf Cateringand took a car load to their facilities so they could use it to make Holiday Party Salads. Below is a picture of Oliver helping to package and box lettuce in our kitchen.

But we weren’t done yet. We had one more almost complete tear out to do this month.

And this time we once again tore out everything in the Greenhouse except our two Deep Media Beds in the back that are putting out the biggest and most delicious tomatoes we have ever grown. Below is a photo of Grace trimming those tomato plants.
We finally figured out how to properly trim these tomato plants so they continually produce massive amounts of indeterminate tomatoes right through winter.
Another reason our tomatoes are doing so well this winter is we also insulated the North side of our East/West facing Greenhouse. This side does not get sun; and it was allowing a lot of heat that we were generating with a Blue Flame heater to escape the Greenhouse.
Last February, when we tore everything out of our Greenhouse for the first time (this is getting to be a habit), we covered the Greenhouse with a light diffusing Greenhouse plastic so now the sunlight coming in is diffused and goes everywhere. This silver insulation actually bounces light back into the Greenhouse and increases the overall light.
The fish tank you see in the background is temporarily being used as a sump for the flooding and draining that’s happening in the two Deep Media Beds. It does not have fish in it and it will be removed once our new duct system is complete.

So now what are we doing in that ever evolving Greenhouse?

Here’s a big hint. We’re building more Vertical Duffy Ducts™ using downspouts; but this time, they’re going to be 80º to full Vertical and taller; and they’re going to be in one straight line all facing the South side of our Greenhouse where they will get the best light. With this new design, we’ll be able to grow 240 heads of luscious lettuce; and we’ll be demonstrating to our indoor clients the new 80º to full Vertical capabilities of this system.
It just so happens that because our Greenhouse faces East/West we
can use this new 80º configuration of our Duffy Duct™ System in a single wall.
Right now as I write this Newsletter, Oliver and our System Technician, Keil Plotczyk, are completing the hooking up of the hoses onto the top of this new 80º Vertical Duffy Duct™ System and we’ll be planting into it soon. We’ll also be able to show you a picture of the new system before this Newsletter goes out.
Of course that means we just added to our Bone Yard; and below, you see the shorter downspouts that grew several crops of beautiful luscious lettuce from August through December of 2014.
These downspouts are actually white; but look blue as they are sitting inside a green screen room that attaches to the North side of our Greenhouse.
If anyone is interested in purchasing our used vinyl fence posts or downspouts, please give us a call at 760-671-3053 because our Bone Yard is filling up.

So what happened next? No, we didn’t join the pack and build a Trough for a Raft System! 

We did build a trough alright; and we used pond liner for the first time. This is the trough for catching the water that’s going to be passing through our 80º Vertical NFT Duffy Duct™ System; and I just went out to the Greenhouse to see it all complete. WOW! It’s breath taking.
It’s too late to take pictures today so this Newsletter is being delayed a day so you can see it all planted and growing lettuce.

Here is our 80º Vertical Duffy Duct™ System Design as it was meticulously measured out and tweaked by our System Designer especially for our own Greenhouse.
The brown at the bottom is the front side of the trough you saw pictured above. This system has a single Wall of 24 Ducts all facing the South Wall of our Greenhouse.
There are no fish tanks in the Greenhouse as we moved all of our fish into the Fishroom when we finished building it early last year. Our goal is to create a demonstration Micro Food Forever™ Farm with all of the bells and whistles of a full-sized Farm.
This new design demonstrates what’s possible in an enclosed warehouse as that is where we can use this 80º Duffy Duct™ System most efficiently. The only reason we’re able to put it into our Greenhouse is because our Greenhouse is long, narrow and the ducts are all facing the South Wall where the sun shines in.
When we place the 80º Vertical Duffy Duct™ System into a warehouse with Grow Lights, the system design changes dramatically and is proprietary; but the essence of the design is being shared here.

The Drawing Program Oliver used to create this design is called Artboard.

And he’s feeling it made the design of our new Greenhouse 80º Vertical configuration possible because it allowed him to easily move things around to make them fit exactly how they had to fit into the challenging space restricted requirements.

And Here It Is–Our 80 degree Vertical Duffy Duct™ System!

This system had to be precisely calculated to fit in our Greenhouse, be easily planted and harvested (that’s a proprietary feature we’re not showing) and allow enough space for plant grow out and Tours in our narrow 8 ft. wide Greenhouse. This is what Oliver, our System Designer, came up with.

The Next Step? Transferring the Lettuce into the new Stage Two Full Grow Out Vertical Duffy Duct™ System.

Here’s Grace moving a tray of Butter Lettuce that has been growing in the Growroom under LED’s. The seeds were planted into Seedling Trays on Nov. 21st. Then the Seedlings were moved into the Growroom’s First Stage of Grow Out on Dec. 23rd. On the 25th of Jan., this photo was taken as this Butter Lettuce went into the Greenhouse.

We left these plants in Stage One Grow Out longer than we normally would have because we were building the new Stage Two Grow Out Duct System in the Greenhouse.

The New 80º Vertical Duffy Duct™ Stage Two Full Grow Out System Planted!

This Lettuce Wall contains three different kinds of lettuce including Butter, Red Oak Leaf and Romaine. In about two weeks, it will be ready to harvest. As for the tomato plants, they just won’t quit putting out tomatoes.
We’ve come a long way since we built this Greenhouse in late 2008; and we’ve learned a lot. As we said earlier, we’re innovators and this is truly a state of the art innovation in Aquaponic Vertical Growing.
Thanks for reading our first Newsletter for 2015. If you’re a Pinterest Fan, you can find several of these photos on ourAquaponics World Pinterest Wall. So have fun sharing them. And if you’re just discovering our Newsletters, you can get Links to all of our 2014 Newsletters by clicking over to our December 2014 Newsletter.
And don’t forget to Forward this Newsletter to your colleagues, friends and family who care about our Food System and how we’re growing our food.
We trust your New Year is getting off to a great start!

 

Sustainably,
Aquaponics USA/World
Get your 10% Discount on any of our Food Forever™
Growing Systems from Aquaponics USA!
This Offer is good until March 1st, 2015
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