Grow Media Update
Singing and Rest
Warmer weather, sunshine, birds chirping and singing like they’ve missed the sun just as much as I have…it's such a lovely time of year!
Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing doves is heart in our land (Song of Songs 2:12).
It also makes going out to the "whitehouse" much more enjoyable! We are excited for the opportunities that the sunshine and longer days allow...and a little overwhelmed as well. So much to do! Speaking of...we have got to get this grow media situation figured out. Mr.Martian and I have been racking our brains on how to grow thriving microgreens efficiently with aquaponics. So many ideas have crossed our minds and our paths...grow mats, hydroclay, lava rock, fodder and our first experiment of just tossing the seeds right in the grow beds without media (wouldn't recommend). With all of these ideas we have simply come to one conclusion...the flood and drain method of our aquaponics system is not the best method to grow microgreens (that we have found). We decided to go back to the drawing board and have come up with a way to incorporate what has been shown to work with microgreen production and also ties into our aquaponics system.
With so many projects on the forefront Mr. Martian (our resident engineer:)) has very little extra time. Right now he is working on getting phase 2 of our project complete (the automation) with plans in phase 3 to build the new and improved microgreen grow lane (I'm exctied!). In the mean time the hydroclay in the grow trays is what has worked best with the flood and drain system. We have purchased 8 bags of hydroclay ($30.00 a bag) and we have one more succession planting worth's left of it for next week before we run out. So until we get the new system in we have to figure out how to wash these rocks...or purchase more which will really take away from us making money on the microgreens. Insert... cement mixer! Mr. Martian had an idea to use a cement mixer like the Trommel you see in the show Gold Rush to separate the hydroclay from the seeds. Our neighbor was nice enough to let us borrow her cement mixer and away Mr. Martian went throwing hydroclay mixed with seeds into the mixer. And what-do-ya know...it worked! Well, for the most part. It separated the left-over roots and small seeds; however, the larger pea shoot seed stays right with the rock. He did say the the fresh pea shoot seeds were able to separate, just not the older ones that had been sitting out for a while. So as long as we do this right away, it may work. Now, this definitely is not a long-term solution as it will be a lot more time and work but it may just work as a temporary solution. Mr. Martian's other idea was to separate the pea shoots from the hydroclay is to get chickens and have them peck out the seeds. I'm still not so sure about this idea. Doesn't seem very clean to me...which brings me to my concern about all this...do we need to sterilize the rock before putting it back into the system?
Make sure you're sanitizing all of your equipment well, especially the trays. Must wash with soap and a brush or rub with cloth to remove biofilm. Clean inside and out. Rinse. Sanitize. (http://sprouting.com/growing_a_microgreen_business.html).
If we need to sterilize our trays, shouldn't we be sterilizing our grow media as well? If we are sterilizing with bleach or hydrogen peroxide this means that we will also need to give the rock a thorough rinsing as to not kill the good bacteria in our system.
Removing the fallen leaves immediately eliminates a breeding ground for pests and diseases. After harvesting crops, make sure to always dispose of old soil or root matter a good distance from your indoor garden. Dead plant matter is extremely attractive to a variety of pests, but it is especially appealing to molds and fungi. Many gardeners with ongoing root rot never associate the problem with an unkempt growroom. It is always best to remove any dead plant matter or old soil completely from the indoor garden. This eliminates an array of potentially devastating problems. https://www.maximumyield.com/two-methods-to-a-great-clean-sanitization-and-sterilization/2/1109
All the more reason to want that new micrgreen grow system asap! Mr. Martian's grand design includes using our current lane 2 and building another lane (lane 1) for microgreen production. The plan is to do an overhead spray method rather than the flood and drain. The flood and drain will still be there for the aquaponics (lane 3 and 4). Essentially we will be growing microgreens hydroponically with the added benefit of the fish water for fertilizer, along with the red wigglers (Worms reduce the volume of solid material by 60% to 80% all the while, by their activity, releasing minerals and nutrients into the system (Murray Hallam http://aquaponics.net.au/forum/threads/worms-for-aquaponics-system-grow-beds.3346/). With this method we will be able to use grow mats which will make life a whole lot easier...easier to clean trays, no rock to clean, and no dispersed seeds due to the flooding and draining. With careful research, design and prayer this should work great! I'm so thankful for my husband's ingenuity and strong arms;).
Needless to say we have a lot of projects on the forefront! With all of this comes a lot of work and not a lot of rest. My husband will tell you that he is the kind of guy who is "all go and no quit". We call him the energizer bunny. Me, on the other hand, I like my rest and quiet time so finding balance can be a little challenging. We both can be heavily weighted on one side of the spectrum and it takes God to meet us in the middle. God is also showing that my rest comes from Him and not always in a good book or a cooking show with a cup of tea. He refreshes us!
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes my lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul (Psalm23:2).
I believe He is showing me that I need to push forward and persevere to do His work and not always be concerned about when I am going to get my rest.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving (Colossians 3: 23-24).
I need to trust that He will give me the rest that I need even if it's not in the form I would have picked. Lord, I really do like those quiet tea times...:).
Scripture for thought: Acts 4:19-20