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Growers Blog - Items filtered by date: April 2016
Monday, 11 April 2016 09:56

2016 Update

Last time I wrote in this blog, I had an allotment in Ipswich. The allotment took lots of time, lots of hard work digging and weeding and ultimately, didn't return much food to our ttable. It did, however return some good food to someone elsees table when the best of the crops were stolen.

Well this spurred me on to make something that I thought would help lazy gardeners everywhere, I made a vertical allotment system of tubes that mounted on my fence at home so that I could keep an eye on it and it took up a bare minimum of space in my small garden. I knew that if I took the water from my pond I could utilize the fish waste as the water went through so I made sure that the vertical tubes had some filter medium in them to act as a biological digester and turn the ammonia to nitrate and constantly pumped the water through the tubes and returned the water to the pond. It turns out that this method of creating nutrient in the vertical tubes and recycling it is called aquaponics and also saves 90% of the water usually used in growing food

The method I used also left the roots of the plant in the air inside the tubes and they were sprayed with the pond water as it circulated but also got lots of oxygen to the root which produces faster growth, bigger yeilds and real flavour as getting the roots to breathe and giving the plant all of the water and nutrient that it needs allows the plants to fully produce their oils and sugars. The water is sprayed for ten seconds every 20 minutes so the 12v pump can easily keep up with this energy drain just using a solar panel to top up the batteries.

This is now a patented product and we are exporting to Kenya, South Africa, France, Holland and Australia with other countries now catching on. We can create urban farms and industrial growing right in the heart of towns to grow low carbon, almost zero food miles, predictable, secure food that has never been sprayed with a herbicide.

The product is called the Aponic Vertcal Aeroponic Growing System and is catching on fast with flower growers, food producers and gardeners because of its low labour requirement, low water usage and bery low energy footprint.

This is it at my house, I can't tell you what we call this particular system but it rhymes with bucket and it is where we will give anything a go so you will see some beans, crocuses, tea, Lettuces, onions, garlic and potatoes growing in there and a few other trials. This one I started on the 5th of March 2016 and this is how it looked then.

2016-03-05 14.13.32

I have just taken some pictures for a client and this is what it looks like today the 11th of April 2016:

2016-04-11 10.25.23

The beans flowered yesterday with more flowers and buds than I have ever had and the potatoes have gone beserk! The wood in the foreground is for an elaborate outside system I have planned but we are still getting very cold nights and I forget the rigors of growing outside after growing indoors for the last three years.

We won some awards too, the Creating the Greenest County awards for greenest product and the best adaption to climate change award and we also won the greenest product award at the Greenest Essex Awards last christmas.

2016-03-31 19.13.59

We have installed the systems all over the place now and they are being used in universities as the perfect test bed because the nutrient solution can be adjusted so that a constant feed rate can be lept to estimate exactly how much experimentation in other areas has had an effect.

I have added a couple more images of a commercial wall at a chilli farm in Newark and a nice 1m tube unit at Mudchute Farm on the Isle of Dogs which is the only operational farm in London and sits just below Canary Wharf.

2016-03-10 15.18.36

2016-03-24 11.42.02

2016-03-24 13.32.56

Anyway, that is what I have been up to in case you wondered. I hope you enjoyed the read.

Published in Allotment Blog