Jul 02

What’s powering the system?

Well in this system the workhorses are the fish!

The system is home to 33 koi, 16 shubumkins, 2 large goldfish and two very large Plecos rescued from fish tanks they had out grown.
They have all grown so much since they arrived!
Currently they are eating aquatic plants, plants cast offs from the raft tank, scuds and commercial food.


Jun 20

THE best strawberry….

This is seriously the best strawberry I have eaten all season. Which is really saying something since we harvested gallons from our home garden this year.

It was huge, juicy super sweet. This berry came from the wicking pots and were still in a small amount of earth. This might be the best way for strawberries, at least in this system. The ones in the raft tank didn't do very well and the ones in the grow tower only produced a few berries.


May 15

Little helpers

Released about a hundred lady bugs into the greenhouse about a month ago, to help control the aphids.

I was hoping some would stay in the greenhouse, mate and lay eggs.

Look! These are lady bug larvae! They kinda look like tiny alligators!


Feb 17

Turn Key Aquaponics LLC


This was an interesting small setup built as a demo piece for high altitude cold climate aquaponics projects.

This system from Turn Key Aquaponics was on the Aquaponics Association tour in Denver Colorado.

This is a picture of their greenhouse from the outside, didn’t look like much at first…


Looks a lot more spacious from the inside!

This project utilized gutters for vertical grow tubes,

and raft systems as well as media systems.

It was neat to be able to see them all together in one system.

This whole setup was powered by only a few tilapia.


The blue barrel here was used for off gassing water from the tap before topping off the system water.

Tomatoes towering over our heads!
In the media bed there were numerous herbs but they were also growing a lot of non-edibles such as these succulents which were doing really well.
Nov 07

On our way to fish!

Finally heater is installed and I have approval from the lab committee for fish, one more hurdle and we will be all set to put fish in.  Heater is turned on, im curious what the temp will be in the morning.  System cycling will start tomorrow.  I will start by adjusting ph and adding ammonia.  It will be interesting to see how fast the ammonia is converted.  I have system inoculant But I will wait to add until next week.  I don’t think it is necessary to inoculant but I am looking to see how much difference it makes before and after.  I’ll keep you posted!

Sep 19

Water’s moving



Thank you to everyone that came out and helped during the past few months and at last weeks work party.  Couldn’t have done it without you!

Finally water is in, pumps and aerators are on.  Everything is working great!


These rafts are made out of open celled foam, I will be replacing these with Blue Dow foam board.  It will hold up better and not fall apart.


It was so exciting to finally see the water in the system, water flowing, the system was functioning the way I planned!
Jul 24


You guys were amazing!We finished attaching the greenhouse plastic!  It is trimmed up and looking sharp.

I started installing the siphon piping connecting the two aquaculture tanks.

We had an amazing workparty at the Aquaponics Greenhouse today!  A big thank you to everyone that came out a pitched in.  We got so much done today!  I couldn’t have done it with out you; big thanks to Evan, Heather, Mitch and Scott

Scott helped move a bunch of blocks to the end of the green house to make a stand for the Solids Separator.

Mitch and Evan set up the blocks and got them level.  Awesome job!

Evan helped getting the pump mounted at the end of the raft tank.


Jul 11

Raising Aquaculture Tanks


The concrete blocks were delivered last Thursday and were installed on Monday.  Johnny and Greg did a great job and they look fantastic!

By lifting up the tanks I aim to prevent overflow and to take advantage of gravity rather than just relying  on siphon feeds for connecting all of the tanks.  By designing properly water will flow from the top of the system to the bottom with only one pump.

  Although this is not my favorite solution, while working within the boundaries the college,(which means creating structures that can be removed)  as well as staying within budget this solution is the best for this project.  It would be possible in another situation to dig aquaculture tanks into the ground and having them as the lowest point in the system pumping up to the plants.

Jul 08

Greenhouse Plastic Take 2!



Pulling the greenhouse plastic tight over the frame. On this greenhouse we were attaching the plastic with lathing, another option is channel lock using wiggle wire.

It is best to pull the plastic as tight as possible when installing.  The warmer the day the better, the plastic will expand and be the most flexible.



Finally the greenhouse plastic is up and installed!  We had a great group of volunteers show up and help out!  I wouldn’t have been able to get the plastic up without them.   Thanks to Heather, Jesse, Claire, John, and Nick!
Most importantly is to not try to do this on a windy day!  It seems every time we even talked about skinning the greenhouse the gods would laugh and kick up a little windstorm to make this task a little more fun…ha!




Apr 02


Installing the liner for the aquaponics raft tank! The pond liner is super heavy and not easy to work with, learning to fold the corners was pretty difficult.  When installing your liner be patient and take your time! 

The liner should be pulled tight over the frame, but loose enough to account for future weight of the water.   

I used a food safe pond liner, but next time I will use a white vinyl liner, it is quickly becoming the industry standard.  Lighter weight and food safe the liner is the better choice, although more expensive.

Wrapping the liner around the frame I attached it with roofing nails with the plastic ring to help disperse the tension on the nails, this will help keep the liner from ripping.

“Must make it SssmoOOOoooth”


Feb 22


Plastic is up on 3/4 of the greenhouse,  it is really starting to come together!


Thanks to the help new DEAP interns we got the plastic on the side walls.



Installing welded wire to strengthen the frame,  there is going to be a lot of water in this tank!


This will be the floating raft tank where the plants are grown.  Next step foam lining all of the sides and then the bottom.   After that the install of the pond liner.

Feb 06

Dirt and Plastic

Thursdays work party was really productive.  Finished the trench and Brandon came down to lend a hand and graded the bed area so tank construction can be completed.

I finished digging the trench and put the sidewall plastic on one side!

Thanks to Brandon and Nick for you help!


Jan 30


The snow started out beautiful dust of fluffy snow, I had just got the first part of the plastic on before the storm.  Shown in the post below I was super excited to get things rolling….Unfortunately the snow didn’t stop.  We received 20″ of snow in Olympia, thanks to the farm caretaker the frame didn’t collapse under the weight of the snow.  I thought we were out of the woods when the snow stopped.

(This is me pre-tree branch falling on my greenhouse.  I wasn’t smiling after…)

Following the snow we had a little rain which the snow in the trees just soaked up, then huge gusts of wind blew for two days. A few branches came down and caused damage to the plastic.  We are lucky the huge one missed the greenhouse by a few feet.

Over all less damage than it could have been.  The greenhouse will need re-skinned but at least the structure survived!

Jan 16

Greenhouse Plastic

Working hard in the new year! We worked this Thursday at getting the plastic re-installed over the greenhouse frame. Although winter is not the best time to install plastic it can be re-tightened in the spring. I am really excited about getting the rest of this install done over the next quarter.

Nov 03

Hydroponic Raft Framing Complete!

All of the wood framing for the raft tank has been completed.  Materials are ready for the next step once we get the plastic on the greenhouse.  The electrician is ready to wire the greenhouse.

Thanks to Everyone who has helped so far… Cy, Nick, Erick, and Shay!  Thank you so much!


Oct 22

Breaking Ground!!!