Aquaponics - Raising seeds

My experimental seed raising system started nearly two months ago, and consisted of a small seed raising mini-growhouse with an inch of fish tank water in the bottom.

The little growhouse was filled with plastic cups with holes drilled in the bottom. These were filled with scoria as my grow medium.

For the first two months or so everything semed to grow well. I would just drop the seeds on the top of the media, (except for beans, where I added a layer of scoria over the top) and was seeing around 50% success in germination.

The condensation forming inside the mini-growhouse would rain down on the seeds and keep them moist.

Most of what I was growing was basil, and coz lettuce. As the plants got big enough that I thought their tap root reached the bottom of the cup, I'd move them into my NFT tubes.

The interesting thing was that the water stayed fresh.

Very fresh. No smell and it looked clear enough to drink.

Normally water left sitting for months would sour, but even though the water had fish nutrient  (the water was from the fish tank) it stayed sweet.

Pictured here is what it looks like after three months.

Its still surprisingly clear and still has no smell.

I plant coz lettuce every few days to keep a constant supply, but the last few batches haven't done so well, so I thought I'd inspect the growhouse a bit more closely.

It still looks pretty good, but there are some signs of the water going a little slimy. Keep in mind this is the original water.

It's possible that the slime is rotting the seeds before they can germinate, or perhaps it's just that the nutrient is depleted, but I thought I should was it down and start again.

From now on I think I'll clean it every month or so.

It's no great task to was it, but I wanted to see how long it would last. It seems that the cycle of evaporation, condensation, and dripping rain from the ceiling all within the little growhouse has in some way kept everything fresh.

The brown you can see is dirt on the bottom rather than slime growing or fish solids. Some of the original pots for the basil were not cleaned as well as they could have been.

All in all, it's been an interesting experiment, and I can see no reason why it shouldn't continue to be my way of growing lettuce seedlings on an ongoing fashion.

[Not all seeds took well to it. The baby spinach tended to rot before germination, as did larger seeds like rock melon, although both those seed types came from old packets, so it's possible the method had nothing to do with it]

120 Things in 20 years - where shortcuts and time saving, lazy methods of aquaponics, and raising seeds is a way of life.

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