Saturday, April 16, 2011

Winter is coming!

Sorry for the long silence!  And thank you to all my new followers! - it is awesome to blog if you know some people are actually reading the crap you are writing.

The tomatoes are doing very well, I am harvesting maybe 1kg of ripe tomatoes per day, plus a few handfuls of chili and paprika.  Way too much for normal day-day use.  I pick them when they start to go pink, and have them turn red in the kitchen.  If I don't use it right away, it goes to the freezer, where they are collected for ketchup day.  Paprika tastes great.  Sort of sweet like a green pepper..

Made my own ketchup the other day!  It was great fun and it tastes AWESOME.   Used my own tomatoes, paprika, herbs and an onion. Tastes somewhere between regular ketchup, tomato-and-onion mix and salsa...  Will do it slightly different next time, but I am very very happy with the results.

The raft system is taking off.  This is an old pic taken the day I planted the seedlings.  I have cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and some basil going there.  great fun!  Will do another post to show the roots coming out the bottom of the netpots.  very cool.

Also, I have not mentioned my worm farm before.  Today I peeked inside and was particularly impressed by the sheer number of worms that are packing in there.  They just LOVE rotten bananas!.  Every now and then I chuck a bunch of them into the smallfry/fingerling tank, and then I sit and watch amused as they tear the worms apart.  The chickens also love a few worms, and I normally chuck another 2 or 3 onto the growbed and watch how quickly they graft down in-between the gravel.  Of course the worms are very good to have in the growbed.  They help to process any solids that arrive there from the incoming water, and of course they also help to get rid of any dead roots (especially when your plant has reached the end of the line)

Winter is coming..   Tilapia depressed
Weather is turning cold.  Water is cooling down quickly, and the tilapia are not too impressed.  They sit in a huddle and complain to each other, reminiscing about the good old days when you could go and swim around without getting your fins frozen stiff..  They have now all gone on a hunger strike to get the politicians to turn the heating back on..  I feed them less than 50% of what I used to, and then I still from time to time notice them not eating the food.  I normally try to remove uneaten food because when it starts to rot it gets all mucky and gross.  It is good practice to check the tank 5-10 minutes after feeding to make sure they are eating.  If I catch them not bothering with the food, I stop feeding for 2-3 days, and thereafter they are more likely to come and catch a sniff at the food.  Maybe I should feed them some happy pills.  Prozak?

I am considering getting some trout for the winter.  Will have to eat them all before summer is back.  No idea how well the trout and tilapia will like sharing a tank.  I could move the tilapia all into the small tank, since they are just sitting around being depressed anyway, but I think it would be interesting to see a bunch of depressed tilapia together with some really excited pink trout..  Maybe the trout will cheer them up?

Mozzie fish and sick dear Geoffrey.
Brian gave me some mozzie fish to help fend off the mosquito invasion.  I have them in a heated aquarium tank trying to get them to breed.  I want a whole gazillion of them.  No success yet.  The sick make tilapia is in another tank, getting back to normal.  He had a case of white spot, which I cured with some medicine, and thereafter his fins started rotting away.  Gave him antibiotics and whatnot.  He seems happy now.  Not depressed like the others because his tank is sitting at 33deg C..   My wife decided he is to be called Geoffrey.  Now we will never eat the sucker...  He actually has some personality.  He was watching me cook the ketchup in the kitchen with a "are you sure you don't know what you are doing?" look on his face.

Water heating..
The cold water is a bitch.  I have been considering different options of trying to get the water temp up.  One would be a solar water heater system.  This would help to get temperatures up in daytime, but at night it would plummet again.  Was thinking I could preserve a lot of the thermal energy if I insulated the main fishtank, maybe add some styrofoam rafts on top plus some foam around the sides, then switch off the pump during nighttime.  Not too sure of my story, but I heard somewhere the plants don't need the water so bad during the night, so I could halt the pump after sundown, which should help to keep the water from losing all of its temperature.  Thoughts anyone?
If I had the space and a steady supply of organic material, a compost heap would have been an excellent water heater option...


  1. I'd really love to grow some worms as well, I have a few styrofoam boxes lying around and they should be perfect. Worms would come handy when I go fishing...I'm eager to see how your raft setup will perform because it's very similar to my setup. Love your sense of humor, keep posting!

  2. Will post some pics of the raft. growing worms is a blast! - they are good food for the fish and chickens. And they are sort cute too.. When keeping worms, follow these rules:

    * Keep the top surface covered by a wet
    newspaper - helps to preserve moisture
    * keep in a cool shady spot (away from dogs!!)
    * Feed them only vegetable scraps
    * No meat, onions or citrus.
    * KEEP ANTS AWAY - I spray the outside of the
    box with ant poison and they leave it alone.
    * You can dump as much vegetable scraps as you
    want. I have not been able to overfeed them
    yet. They eat like crazy..

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