We Will Grow On You!

Alberta Aquaponics - We Will Grow On You!

Website Updated

As some of you will already know, I have changed up a bunch of things on the website in hopes of resolving out the issues of it not displaying properly.

brochure imageI have made a few gains in the new layout and change up, but I am still having a few issues with things that I hope to have fixed here shortly.

Known Issues include:

  1.  it will not display properly on a iPhone device. (although it seems to work on the iPad and Kindle) (attempted to add in a theme switcher to see if that would help and neither worked for changing anything.)
  2. Unable to set up the donations button (Donate Extra) on the theme. I can apply it and it seems to show up for the first page refresh, then fails out and I get nothing displayed but a side bar header.
  3. Tiny Form will not run on the theme. The call in the about page is showing but the form does not come up. (it seems that the Tiny Form is no longer supported and I have to find a new form system. I will attempt to have this solved shortly.
  4. It seems that the store is causing the issue, as such I am now talking to another developer to attempt to get it resolved.

The store is not working at the moment but I have hopes that it will be up again shortly.

If you come across any other issues with the site, please let me know and I will add them to the list and attempt to get them sorted out.

Also, let me know what you think of the new look and layout and what you are using to view it on.

  

Happy Belated Easter! (behind on everything!)

OK, so Easter blew by us and so much has been going on over the past while it is hard to know where to start.

Lets go over the course and go from there.

We had our Aquaponics course at SAIT and it turned out pretty well. We learned a lot from the experience and hope to implement some changes to make it even better for the next go round. From the people who attended, we had some fantastic feedback and suggestions. Overall the reviews of the course have been very good with a LOT of positive things to said.

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We are very happy to have been able to put the course on and to have so many awesome people involved in taking it!

We of course are not done yet. We still have our bus trip to Lethbridge on May 3, and we will be covering more of the course in the bus as we are on our way to see the Lethbridge College Aquaculture Centre Of Excellence and getting a tour and lecture from Charlie Shultz.

We are looking to do a full IBC tote build course later this year where it will be a full hands on build for those attending. We will build an IBC tote system with a media filter, Deep water Culture bed (floating raft), a standard Ebb Flow bed, a duckweed bed and an NFT system attached. and we will attempt to have more info on that coming up shortly.

We have had a couple of conversations with Jon Rotter From Solar Wholesaler in putting on a solar course. Over the last few months we have had several people inquire about setting up solar for aquaponics as well as for greenhouses and for taking their homes off grid. As a result of the questions, I have asked both Franco Mosca and Jon Rotter about putting on a basic course for solar and how it applies. We are looking at getting something set up for June for those interested.

We have also been asked by Rob Avis from Verge Permaculture to put on a course for his Permaculture Design Certificate for aquaponics and aquaculture. This is an amazing course and we are honored that he would invite us to be a part of it as instructors!

I strongly recommend this course to anyone who is interested in taking on a bigger picture of permaculture. It is well worth your time, money and efforts!

Since the course I have been busy putting together aquaponic gardens with several people in different levels of involvement. I think I am now at a new record of building 12 in a week and it looks like it is not about to slow down any time soon! I am very happy to see it!

I have hopes that we will get some pictures and a couple of write ups for the website here soon and maybe even a couple of videos from those brave enough to take on some camera work and explain what they are putting together.

On the home front here, we managed to get one day of the long weekend in on getting the greenhouse somewhat set up. I didn’t think it was going to happen at all with the weather we had but we took advantage of the break in the snow and got down to a fast build for one of the greenhouse systems. From there we moved out some bunnies to make room in the greenhouse from the spring plant and setup.

We have a lot of big dreams for this spring. I don’t know how much we will get accomplished, but we are going to attempt some new things installed and running.

On the plan is:
An upgrade of the Solar on the garage
Installation of the Solar Concentrators for hot water heating for winter
Addition of summer grow beds for the fishery
Building a Rocket Mass Heater
Raised Grow beds for the front yard and start of the edible yard (permaculture build)
Addition of two more rain water capture systems
Improved worm farm and black soldier fly compost systems
improved hot compost system
Wicking buckets
Wicking bed
Duckweed beds
Branding and selling of fish water (Fish-It), bunny droppings (Bunny-It ) and worm/BSF castings (Verm-It)
The list goes on…

Needless to say, there are lots of updates coming and lots of things to keep us amused.

On the subject of keeping us amused, I have started up making mead again. and have a batch currently under way.

For this batch I have gone with an Orange Blossom honey and am just running it as a standard mead with no additions. I am using 8 pounds of honey for a 5 gallon batch. Sadly I am stuck with some basic EC 1118 yeast for this batch as I was unable to find anything better in Calgary (I don’t know what happened to the wide range of yeast that used to be available).

At the moment (and after a 2 month brew) the mead is sitting at about 10% and is still mega sweet. I have offed a gallon from the primary and have it sitting to mature on its own. The other 4 gallons in the primary I have running with another batch of yeast for a second ferment to bring down the sweetness and take it up for about 14%.

I will attempt to do some videos on this as we go and post them up.

Donna and I have also been making up yogurt for the past while.

I think this is something that everyone should give a try at. It is amazing how much yogurt you get out of a jug of milk and how awesome it all is when it is done! I can tell you I am junking and love making and eating it!

The process is pretty simple and easy to do.

We even went a little on the nuts side and attempted doing it with chocolate milk. It actually worked and when you add honey to it, you get all of the chocolate flavour back to make one of the coolest yogurts you will ever eat!

 

  

Face to Face Meet Up change and Last Call for Course!

This is the final countdown for the Aquaponics and Build course for April 12.

If you are planning on being a part of it, you need to sign up fast because time is running out.

I had a couple of people request for tickets for just the course without the road trip, so I have created a course only ticket for those interested.

And for those that cant take the course but want to go on a very cool road trip to Lethbridge College and the Aquaculture Centre of Excellence, we have a ticket for you too!
You will also note that we have moved the Alberta Aquaponics Face to Face Meet Up from the Sunday of the Long Weekend to the day after the course on Sunday April 13.

SignTinFoilHatArea

Another meeting of the crazy people doing crazy stuff in the back yard! Hope to see you at the face to face meet up!

The new location is turning out to be a fantastic meeting place which includes a full menu and Starbucks coffee. Its not loud or hard to find a seat and we get waited on like royalty.

Come on out and meet up with everyone in the aquaponic community.  Come be a part of the conversations and help welcome in some new people from the course into the local aquaponic world.

As always we will have a door prize (again, a huge thank you to KiltedCelt for the donation) to give away, and we will be doing a fast presentation on our greenhouse modifications that we have put into play for this spring with some why’s and how’s.

I would also like to put out there that if you have a build that you would like to show off or a presentation of your own that you would like to put on, feel free to let me know and we will set you up for a face to face meeting to do just that.

Many of you have some very interesting builds (aquaponics and otherwise) that I am sure people would love to see and hear about! Don’t be shy about showing off your hard work!

  

Spring Cleaning

I have had a few problems with the website not working with a couple of the plug ins that we have paid for and just can’t seem to get them sorted out. As a last ditch effort before I take down the website and revert back to just putting up posters on the lamp post in front of my house, I am going to be trying out a few different layouts to see if it resolves the problems.

So, if you hit the site and it looks all messed up and strange, hang in there with me because it is most likely just me trying things out. (This is why I hate open source technology.)

We are officially getting prepped for spring!

Donna and I moved around a bunch of stuff in the greenhouse and sorted out some of the grow beds in preparation for this year’s growing.

Now if the weather will just cooperate, we can move the bunnies out of the greenhouse and start getting everything plumbed in for the bucket systems we want to get running. We are thinking that this year we will attempt to have the bigger vine and tomato plants in bucket systems that are tied into the aquaponic gardens. This is something new we have not attempted in the past, but I am feeling the need to try out.

So far we have collected up 20 buckets for the project. Now we just need the space and the plumbing parts to get it all in motion.

We started up some more of the tomato plants for this year in one of the aerogardens and have opted for just doing Romas this year rather than doing a bunch of stuffers. I may still go with a couple of cherry or grape tomatoes if I can sneak them in without Donna noticing.

I am not sure what else we are going to push on for this year, but I have hopes that this weekend will be our chance to figure it out and get stuff planted.

For now, here is the update video:

Update on the Aquaponics and Build Course.

I have been contacted by a few people saying that they want to take the course but were unable to make the bus trip to Lethbridge on May 3. As a result I have set up a ticket for just the course that does not include the trip. For those interested, here is the new ticket for the course without the bus trip:

  

Course and Road Trip!

Get a jump on spring by taking the Aquaponics and Build Course!Aquaponics in teh classroom
This course is an all inclusive course and road trip where you will spend April 12, at SAIT learning about aquaponics and how to build and maintain an aquaponic garden. This is then followed up with a Road Trip to Lethbridge College and the Aquaculture Centre of Excellence where we will meet up with Charlie Shultz for a lecture and a tour of the facility.
For more information on the course, click here!
road_tripFor those of you unable to take the course but wanting to go to Lethbridge College we have a Road Trip just for you! Join us for a buss trip on May 3 to visit Lethbridge Colleges Aquaculture Centre of Excellence where we will meet up with Charlie Shultz for a tour of the facility and a lecture!

  

Alberta Aquaponics On The Radio!

MicAlberta Aquaponics will be doing a radio interview tomorrow at 9:00 am with Meryl Coombs ‘Let’s Talk Gardening’ program on News Talk 770 am, which runs every Sunday from 9:00 -11:00am.

Meryl Coombs owns Spruce It Up Gardening Centre here in Calgary as well as hosts the “Let’s Talk Gardening”  program on News Talk 770 AM.

Gord Hayes will be taking questions and giving answers on aquaponics and  the Alberta Sustainable Agricultural Society Co-op.

News Talk 770 AM 9:00 - 11:00 Sunday for "Lets Talk Gardening"!

News Talk 770 AM 9:00 – 11:00 Sunday for “Lets Talk Gardening”!

 

  

Signings of Spring

The last few weeks have bee a whirlwind of activity. Seedy Saturday through to the SAIT Tech Faire has had us jumping and moving with setting up our display system and moving things from lace to place.

I am actually amazed at how well our plants made it through the entire batch of movements we did with them in tow. We had a couple of the events that made me have even more wonder about it.

Seedy SaturdayWhen we loaded in to Seedy Saturday, it was a little chilly outside and it had me worried about the plants getting a chill and just flopping over and dying. Then in the middle of Seedy Saturday with all of the people in the building the temperatures spiked to the point where I expected the plants would keel over from the heat.

Somehow the plants managed to make it through all of it and the move back home.

I am amazed at how many people came through at Seedy Saturday! It was a fantastic turn out and we got to meet a bunch of very cool people as a result!

Then we used those same plants for the SAIT Tech Faire.

SAIT Tech Faire 2014

The load in for the SAIT Tech Faire was even more scary for cold with temperatures that took a good drop on the morning and dumped snow all over the place.

We attempted to use a new technique for moving the plants by putting one of the bins over the top of the plants to try and clam shell them to keep the heat in but found out fast that the extra top bin only made things harder to move and we almost crushed the plants as it slid all over the place. Lesson learned for next time and the next set of events which seem to be coming fast.

I will be glad when the weather changes up and it turns into spring so we can get going again in the greenhouse and start planting.

Even if the weather is not cooperating as I want, the date says it is coming close to the end of March giving us one of the sure signs of spring with having to renew our license for our Class B Aquaculture License.

We completed up our documentation Monday and sent off everything for our aquaculture license for submission before April 1 for the upcoming year. It may not be plants goring in the sunshine, warm temperatures and an active greenhouse but it is a sure sign that spring is on the way here. If nothing else, it is the signing of our paperwork for spring.

This usually means that we are about to hit a rush for fish, so I expect it will be a busy next few weeks.

Speaking of the next few weeks, we still have a few big things coming up for people to get involved with.

We have our Aquaponic and Build Course going on April 12.
If you want to get an aquaponic system set up for spring, this is a course for you to get a step up on everything you need to know to get going and a build process to put into practice.

This course also offers up a seat on our bus trip for May 3 to go to the Lethbridge College and the Aquaculture Centre of Excellence where we will get a tour of the facility and a lecture from Charlie Shultz.

For those who dont want to take the course, but want to take the road trip we are also offering up seats to get on the road trip for May 3.

For now, we have a update video for you to check out!

  

Happy Spring Equinox!

Although it is the first day of spring today, it feels a lot more like the first day of winter here. The snow is pounding down and what was (as of yesterday) open areas of grass is now covered in a thick blanket of white.

First Day of Spring?None the less, today is the Vernal Equinox when the angle of the earth inclination toward the sun that changes throughout the year has both hemispheres of (more or less) equal length. This is where it gets its name; Vernal meaning “pertaining to spring” and Equinox meaning “Equal Night”.

The high point to the Vernal Equinox is that planting is just around the corner. The start of Calgary’s 5 month growing window of light is here. Although the general rule has always been not to plant anything outside in the ground until after the May long weekend, the greenhouse and aquaponic gardens that have been growing all winter are telling me to be brave and get the crops in early this year.

I had hopes this weekend would have me moving toward that direction in planting some more starters in the Aeroponic garden and getting the greenhouse cleaned up. That was before the snow dump now. At this point I am thinking of foregoing the greenhouse cleanup for another week which may be just as well with everything we have going on.

I am a little concerned about how the plants are going to handle this weather tomorrow as we load in for the SAIT Tech Faire. The last thing I want is a bunch of plants attempting to handle a move, light changes and the cold all at one shot and then go on display to show how well aquaponics works. It is kind of an unfair thing to ask of the plants. I hope that they are the display will work out ok for the event.

If you are looking for something cool to check out for tomorrow, I invite you to come down to the SAIT campus and check out the Tech Faire. Come by and say “hi” if you are there!

SAIT Tech Faire
For now, happy spring and lets get growing!

  

Aquaponics Course Update

A-New-PlaceI am sorry to say that we are having some issues with our new booking software on the website. As a result of the issues we have set up an Eventbrite page to handle the transactions and booking process until we can get the software sorted out.
For those looking to sign up, please follow this link: http://www.eventbrite.ca/e/aquaponics-and-build-course-tickets-10994989309?aff=efbevent

  
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