Alberta Aquaponics

We Will Grow On You!

Alberta Aquaponics - We Will Grow On You!

So That Year Was A Wasn’t That Was In A Big Way!

Alright, I admit it, this year has been a crap load of work and it took all year to get to where we are..

But where are we?

Well, lets go over some stuff.

The front yard has been completely redone. Grass out, Trees out, Rock in, Fruit Trees in and a new growbed ready for next years creation. Add to that the solar powered water capture aeration and watering system to round things off.

Yes, that took some time, effort and money. It also stalled us out on the back yard a little bit.

But now the back yard.

We have the new greenhouse up and wrapped.

img_2439

For this year we are going to stick with the plastic wrap and look at the insulated panels and 3 ply poly-carbonate for the walls and roof for next year.

img_2442
The new build, although only 30 inches larger on two sides offers up an incredible 4 times the growing space over the last greenhouse.

It did not take long to start putting in grow beds and start sorting out where everything is going to go for the next grow season.

img_2443
We still need to do some rebuilding on the fish tank covers and redo a bunch of plumbing as well as create a couple of swirl filters, but everything is starting to come together in a big way.

For the immediate projects, I still have the door to complete (I ran out of material to complete the build) but I have hopes that will be done by tomorrow afternoon. At that point I will call the greenhouse build completed until spring when it will be the green house implementation that will take over!

Be prepared that will be a show and a half if I have anything to say about it!

So on to other new stuff.

Not aquaponics, but again lifestyle related, we have gotten ourselves a new vehicle. This is not just any vehicle however, we purchased an Electric Vehicle in the form of a 2016 Nissan Leaf SL.

2016 Nissan Leaf
The 170 KM range per charge means that Donna can go back and forth to work all week on a single charge and 100% emission free.

This car combined with the solar we have on the garage means we can run the vehicle for virtually nothing but even if we had no solar on the roof of the garage, the vehicle would cost us around $1.34 per 100 KM including tire wear.

We have said goodbye to gas stations, green house gas pollution, noise pollution (the thing is honestly silent), expensive gas, oil changes, tune ups and expensive mechanics all in one shot.

We were a little worried about the transition at first but are now 100% sold on the fact that electric vehicles are the wave of the future and work for 87% of all vehicle owners.

So, where are we?

The front yard is lower maintenance and more environmentally friendly and offering up more spaces for growing food.
The Greenhouse is very close to being completed and ready for implementation for next year with a lot more room for growing and teaching.
The new electric vehicle has us on a road of even greener futures and ties into our closed loop lifestyle.

Overall, I would say we are in a great place!

News and event updates!!
news flash

For those interested in electric vehicles, this week is National Drive Electric week. There are events being put on in both Calgary and Edmonton where you can check out electric vehicles, go for a ride and meet some very cool people.

Calgary’s is being held on Saturday September 17, 21016 at 10:00 am – 4:00 pm at the Ikea Parking lot in Deerfoot Meadows.

Facebook event link: https://www.facebook.com/events/201601196920833/

Edmonton has their event on Sunday September 18, 2016 at 12:00pm  – 4:00pm at the Rock-N-Wash 4803 55 Ave NW.

Facebook event link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1197962170255953/

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!

For those wanting to talk Aquaponics, we have our Face to Face Meetup taking place this Sunday September 18, 2016 from 2:30 – 4:30 at the Clarion Hotel (2120 16 Ave NE, Calgary, AB)

Hope to see you folks at the events!

 

Face to Face Meet Up

A new version of WordPress came out and it killed the events calendar. (Yay). So, as a heads up and notice, there is a Face to Face Meet Up at the Clarion Hotel (2120 16 Ave NE, Calgary, AB T2E 1L4) in the Fontanella restaurant from 2:30 – 4:30 Sunday August 21, 2016.

news flash

Come meet up and chat about Aquaponics and pretty much everything else under the sun.

Hope to see you there!

Face to Face Meetup This Sunday!

Just a reminder of the Alberta Aquaponics Face to Face Meetup this Sunday!

Meeting Alert!

Meeting Alert!

Come meet up with folks doing aquaponics to talk shop, ask questions and give information! A great time to be had by all!

Follow this link for the location, map and other info:
http://www.albertaaquaponics.ca/events/alberta-aquaponics-face-to-face-meetup-13/

Where The Heck Are The Updates?

Things have been crazy busy here for the last while and as a result, updates and the web have kind of taken a back seat.

Its not that we don’t care or we don’t want to keep everyone informed, there simply are not enough hours in a day.

With that said, here are some updates:

Lets start with catching up!

There is a Face to Face Meet up This Sunday (yes, on Fathers Day). Come on out and join up with the other die hard Aquaponists and get some geek time in! Come on out in person and lets catch up on everything!

The greenhouse is growing like mad with us harvesting long english cucumbers, lettuce, and kale like mad. The peppers, squash and tomatoes are coming on fast with flowers everywhere and pollinators working hard to help us on our way!

The greenhouse this year is a little scaled back from what we usually have because of the construction and changes we are making (see the prior post for details).

Some pictures of the garden:

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”4″ gal_title=”Update 061915″]

We have been working very hard on some of the other projects including the Solar installation.

We have taken down the array that we had on the garage and have just received the solar equipment to put into play. In total we will have a 5 KW system installed using micro inverters feeding to grid as out starting point. We have plans of adding in a Tesla Power Wall battery when they are available (we are on the waiting list).

The hoops have been piling up and what we expected to be in play a while ago is still a work in progress. With that said, we are making progress and weather permitting, we should have the hardware mounted by early next week.

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”5″ gal_title=”Starting Solar”]

I can honestly say that there is a LOT more than meets the eye when it comes to putting in Solar. The high side is we are going to be doing up a bit of a course on it as we do the build to help people who are looking into it in avoiding the pitfalls.

I still have a bunch to do, so I am going to cut this short and with luck I will see you at the face to face and catch up more in person.

Spring Catch Up And Future Plans

To say that this has been a busy spring at Alberta Aquaponics would be an understatement.

In fact, I am not sure we are even at spring yet after looking outside this morning and seeing the snow covered everything that made me want to crawl back into bed.

Maybe there is our problem.

We have been sucked in by weather that has been highly unusual for Calgary that has egged us on to attempting to get everything going early and doubling our usual work load.

We have been doing a boat load of courses this year, both taking them and teaching them, which has been fantastic.

So far have already completed the Verge Permaculture course and the Permaculture tour that Ted Bahr from Prairie Sage Permaculture puts on for this spring as well as put on two of our own courses for the ABC’s of Aquaponics.

We also just completed the Alberta Government beekeeping course this weekend with our field day where we got some class time and had a chance to play with the bees.

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”2″ gal_title=”Beekeeping 2015″]

Over that, we have tilled and planted the grow beds in the front yard for our community gardens and have them in for an early start.

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”3″ gal_title=”Community Grow Beds 2015″]

We did add in some 1/2″ PVC and poly to act as a hoop house on all of the grow beds to ensure that we do not have any losses to things like the snow and frost we had last night and this morning.

We have been told by virtually everyone, that in the event it snows, it is all our fault for planting so early, so guess the white stuff out there this morning is all my fault for being sucked in by the weather.

For future things, I have started working on the change ups for Alberta Aquaponics for this spring.

We have a couple of ambitious projects and a bunch of smaller ones on the board for this summer and spring which include the upgraded installation of solar and the greenhouse rebuild.

We are going to upgrade our solar installation on our garage from 1 Kw to a 5Kw solar installation with a grid tie in using Microinverters.

We will be offering up a course on basic solar installation as we do the install. On the other side, everyone should have a basic understanding of the technology available, how to evaluate need, how to install the gear, how to maintain the gear and the permit process for making it all happen.

Stay tuned for dates within the next couple of weeks.

For the rebuild of the greenhouse, we are changing out our single car garage frame to a more efficient build based off of industrial pallet racking. The new build will be using S.I.P. technology for a better insulation factor, have the solar concentrator attached for water battery heating and include vermicomposting as a heating system.

As part of the new build and design we are planning to add in more grow bed space, a small seasonal N.F.T. system, a D.W.C. bed and a wicking grow bed.
This will be part of our Advanced Aquaponic Build Course for those interested.

This weekend  we are going to be hosting one of our yard tours. Saturday, May 16 from 1:00 – 4:00 we will be hosting a yard tour showing aquaponics, cunniculture (rabbit raising), vermicomposting, wicking grow beds, closed loop urban farming and much much more.

This is a free event for those who have taken our courses in 2015.

We will be following this up with our Face to Face meetup on Sunday, May 17, where we will get together for our monthly aquaponic meetup.

Come be a part of the community, bounce ideas, get information and have a few laughs with the aquaponic folks in the area! Always a great time and a lot of fun!

This is all just the start of what we have planned for 2015, so lets get busy, stay tuned and be involved!

The Spring Bug Is Back And Eradicated From Our Server!

Donna and I spent the weekend getting a bunch of spring stuff sorted out.

First off, we spent a bunch of time cleaning up the server and getting it back up and running (not a lot of fun on that project). After the melt down and issues we are taking a bit of a loss for the year that has just started and as a result may have to cut out some of the projects we wanted to make happen this year.

Our plans were lengthy for this year. We wanted to rebuild the greenhouse and make it more efficient, knock down the two pine trees in the front yard, replace them with another 6 wicking grow beds for our community garden, add in another 5KW of solar to the mix to take everything off grid and rebuild the flow through vermacomposter and bunny hutches all over and above everything else we normally do.

At this point I am not sure how much we are going to be able to make happen, but I am still hopeful and time will tell.

aeroponic sytarters

One of the starter Aeroponic systems for the seedlings.

We now have just over 600 plants started for the greenhouse and community garden wicking beds, and I can honestly tell you that I am hyped to get growing!

I keep going into the greenhouse and looking at the plants in there with the intent of mass harvesting and replanting with the starters. I know it is still a little early for it and that our starters are still a bit young and unhardened for the move, but the urge is strong and the want is almost overpowering.

I can wait until we have a full lush greenhouse again filled with amazing plants and activity. The hardest part of winter is the wait for the big growing season again. The winter growing is ok, but it is just not the same as the lush look and feel of the summer. (Granted it may have a lot more to do with the light and the temperatures, but the feelings between the two seasons are immense).

For now, all I can do is sit and plan.

Its a good thing we have the face to face meet ups to at least help deal with the additions of  aquaponics and the long, hard seasons while we wait! Of which, our next Face to Face meeting is on April 19.

As for the short term action, we are getting ready for spring with another ABC’s of Aquaponics Course for May 2.

I am again hyped for meeting new eager people looking to get into aquaponics and help in getting them started!

We got to get to know a lot of very cool people from the last course, with many of them actively planning and creating aquaponics systems now.

A couple of them have already put in orders for fish and have received their licenses.

Sean Morish has created up a Turnkey Aquaponic system that we had the chance to debut at Seedy Saturday.

turnkey demo
Although the one we showed was a cut down version for a road show, making it easier to carry and set up, he is working hard on a full sized system that we should have up in the store soon.

The new Turnkey Aquaponic system is going to be based off of a 70 gallon aquarium with a 4′ x 2′ x 1′ grow bed. The unit is a three piece system with the grow bed being removable, the stand to support the grow bed and protect the fish tank and the tank stand which is a roll out tray allowing you access to the fish and pumps.

The high side of the unit is that it is large enough scale for success, home decor friendly and a turnkey system that you can just put together and start cycling.

In that this system is not the industrial look of most of the DIY aquaponics systems, we expect that this will be a lot more accepted as a piece of furniture in a living room or family room setting, making it a true showcase for aquaponics and what it has to offer.

Sean is working hard on putting together a few options for the unit including addons like a hanging light mounts and customization.

I can report that the demo turnkey system is now running in my living room as a replacement to the barrelponic system that was there. The unit has been running trouble free with both the fish and the plants very happy and healthy within it. I suggest that you have a good look at it when you are by next and evaluate it for yourself.

Stay tuned for more information and updates in the near future.

We are working on getting a bunch of new products for people shortly. We have been working with some new suppliers and sorting out some of the logistic issues at the moment, but many new and awesome products should be available shortly.

We have started adding in a few of the products in the shop and have hopes that we will have product in stock within the month.

Barring any more bugs and issues we should be back on track with lots of updates and information coming to you soon!