Growth and development in our agriculture projects at the Chrysalis School

20140723-152750-55670048.jpgThere is always more activity than we can report, but we like to write about major events in flowering or other surprises.  The picture above shows the third flower we have seen on the hibiscus that was gifted to us by a community member.  We probably should be harvesting the flowers to make tea, but I think there will be more and I appreciate allowing this plant to just do what she does for awhile.  My understanding is that she has never flowered so we are giving her a chance to settle in.20140723-152750-55670806.jpgThis baby pomegranate has looked skinny and flimsy since we planted her but now there are about three flowers emerging and I noticed a new stem.  So this plant also seems to be adjusting to the environment and showing some growth.

20140723-152750-55670378.jpgThe picture above shows a wild sunflower (anilles) that came up in one of our four raised beds for flowers.  You can see the raised bed in the background has some baby plants such as agrostemma, daisies, a rock rose, and others.  This is the second year for some of our flowers (we saved seeds from last year) and our first year for others.

20140723-152751-55671156.jpgAnd to update on the aquaponics situation, we have the system running smoothly and consistently.  Our system is working well but we do have to go every other day and clean the pre-filter to the system.  We have to clean the main biological filter system every 10 days to 2 weeks as well.

Now we have to fine tune the understanding of nutrient levels in the water tank and the nutrient requirements in our plants.  Our squash (above) is showing growth, but is clearly lacking some nutrient that is causing it to have yellow leaves.  I remember learning somewhere that in hydroponic (and thus aquaponic) systems, plants will grow if they lack nutrients but will not set flowers or fruit.  Other crops like greens can better be grown in a hydroponic/aquaponic context because they do not need to flower or set fruit in their lifetime to be useful for human consumption. In about one month we should have our fish population increased at least 5-10 fold and that should help with our nutrient levels and plant growth but I am sure we will still have to fine tune our methods and understanding…

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About Miguel

Miguel Santistevan is a researcher, educator, and advocate for traditional agriculture crops and systems.
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