We were thinking a lot about the next half century, that’s what we were thinking!
One of the biggest influences when you hit a half century is knowing that you are on the downhill slide of your best health. When you have spent half your life being the strongest you can be, you realize that strength is the one thing you will miss the most. So you start to plan for making things work with the least amount of effort. Knowing that your youth is behind you, thinking about how you can continue on your path without having to ask for help becomes the first thought in how to approach a long term goal.
With that in mind, we decided conventional gardening was going to be more effort than we would want to spend our last 50 years caring for (we are always optimistic).
First we built the raised beds, and even in our young 50’s, they are fantastic, infinitely easier to maintain than a conventional plot. They cut maintenance by well over half, probably closer to 80%.
(The Blackberry bed) a bit late with the trellis system, but we should get a an easy upkeep, easy care system. and check out all that fertilizer in the background!
The Raised Beds
But so far, our favorite has to be the aquaponic’s greenhouse. While the fish are still tiny, and we are having to supplement the plants, this is by far our favorite design to date. And while we could have gone with the always easy Tilapia, we chose the harder but oh so delicious “fish candy” Crappie, because we did not want to have to heat the water during the winter. Oh, and while we got a couple of grass carp to grace the tank as well, one jumped out the first night, and we now only have one. (such is life on this crazy adventure) We will keep you up to date with how it goes.
The aquaponics system
We also chose the time and electric saving bell siphon design, and we could not be happier.
We actually built the tank first, a mini pond really. An underground 1800 gallon tank that feeds 3 large beds totaling 1200 gallons. We will add more beds as we find out how well the crappie do. Until then we still have the capability of growing more than the two of us can eat.
We decided right off the bat to get our citrus trees started, but as happens when time is precious, we did not get the greenhouse completely closed in before we had an early hard freeze,( -1), which does not usually happen here until January. While the citrus trees are ok, they did lose all their leaves, so we are having to nurture them back. Likewise the tomatoes transplanted from the garden did not make it through the freeze, and so we had to start from seed there. Other than that, the plants are loving the new system. I have more oregano than I could possibly use, and it is multiplying faster than the lettuce is growing! Oh,and did I mention that strawberries LOVE an aquaponics system? (The old mason has been harvesting strawberries for the last month,in January no less!)
So when you start thinking about decades instead of years, be warned! Great things can happen!
Are you interested in Aquaponics, and how it can simplify your gardening experience? Did you know you can start much simpler and have a compact back porch system that supplies all your summer needs, while giving you a taste of how fun and easy it can be to grow your own food? Simply drop me a line and we can get you directed to the right size DIY project for you.