Monday, July 25, 2011

System Update

Everything is coming along, of course there are always ups and downs but for the most part everything is doing okay. Last week we had our first harvest of lettuce, and it was quite yummy. We harvested all of the big leaves but a lot of it has already grown back within the past week!

This is the middle growbed in the bottom row. We just started to train the cucumbers to climb the twine.

We are having some issues with the cucumber plants. I think they are getting attacked by some sort of pest, although it only looks like this on one or two of the plants and only on the bottom leaves. When I examined the leaves I didn't see any pests though so they aren't sticking around. Or I guess it could be some sort of nutrient deficiency but I am not sure. I must ask an expert.

Another issue we are having is a couple of the cucumber plants have leaves that are infected with powdery mildew. I just discovered what it was today and I plan on trying a couple of remedies tomorrow. The ones that are too far gone I am going to cilp, and I will spray a solution of water and baking soda. Powdery mildew is a fungal infection that arises from humid, poorly ventilated conditions. Because the cucumber vines were resting on top of the growbed (instead of climbing up a trellis or string) I think the walls of the growbed restricted some of the air flow. That combined with the humidity resulting from evaporation is probably the reason a couple of my plants are infected. From looking at pictures online, I think it is at an early enough stage where we can treat it effectiely (crosses fingers)

We are also having issues with the bottom right growbed. We think the plants are struggling because the water level does not come high enough before the bed starts draining. The Anaheim Chili plants were the most shocked to begin with, so that is probably compounding the problem.

Here are some close-ups of two of the chili plants. As you can see the leaves are curled and droopy indicating they are stressed. The tips are also drying up on the bottom leaves and that worries me. It's been almost a week since they were transplanted so I don't think that transplant shock is the only cause, although it certainly would contribute to the problem.

And now for some good news! This is the top right growbed and things are coming along great. The zucchini is growing like crazy! There were several small basil plants that were basically getting smothered by the large zucchini leaves so we transplanted those to other growbeds with more space. However, I did have to pull out the two kale plants that were in this growbed. I noticed today for the 2nd or 3rd time there were these little green bugs that were munching away on the kale. I knew I was taking a shot in the dark when I planted the kale because they are a winter crop, but I did not want to continue that experiment any further because I did not want to risk attracting more pests. I will try the kale again when winter comes around.

The first zucchini fruits are starting to take form!

This is the middle bed of the top row and everything here is doing great as well. I will need to make or buy some tomato cages soon though as those Roma Tomato plants are starting to get big.

This is the left growbed in the top row and it is also doing quite well. I caught a caterpillar munching on the onion and basil plants last week and it did some damage but not enough to kill the plants. I wish I took a picture of the lettuce after it was harvested because it grew a great deal since then and not even a week has passed since that time.

The cherry tomatoes are starting to ripen!


  1. Hello from Malaysia!

    Looking at your chilies, are they cuttings or seedlings? No doubt it is transplant shock because your system has been running for a while, malnutrition is probably out of the question.

  2. I am fascinated by the aquaponics stuff. I found your link on the BYAP forum. I'm looking forward to setting up a small system next year.

  3. Hi manfudz, sorry for the late reply but I just noticed I had a comment. Yes they were transplanted and yes they are most definitely shocked. I have given up on these chillies and I should pull them out actually. Next time I plan on sticking them in dirt and all and they should be fine that way. Thanks for your input though it is much appreciated.

  4. Hello Stef! I love the BYAP forum, if it wasn't for them I would have been hopelessly lost. I'm happy to hear you plan on setting up a system and I wish you the best of luck! But be warned, they call it an addiction for a reason ;)

    If you ever run in to any trouble the folks at BYAP are extremely knowledgeable and friendly. Or if you would like to ask me anything directly I would also be happy to answer any questions. Once again I wish you luck and hope to see your system some time in the future.