Well, this is an exciting day! After a few days more than 8 weeks of growth, we have what I will consider our first “Real” harvest from the Crossover System that is operating as a demo in front of our shop in Mansfield, TX. We planted three demonstration systems back in May to show visitors what they could reasonably expect to get out of a home or “Backyard-scale” system. We have to say, the response to these “integrated gardening systems” has been very positive. In the weeks since we planted these systems out, we have had the same hiccups that you would likely have – pH issues, feeder malfunction, and many more (we will be starting a post series about these next week, stay tuned.). But, the results are very easy to see — as they say, “The proof is in the pudding,” or in this case – the plant growth. Most of the growth to date has been vegetative, as the plants have been developing and reaching ages where they are ready to produce fruit.
In the past two weeks, we have harvested a few things (about 3 pounds of cucumbers, half a pound of basil, 1.3 pounds of eggplant, and half (0.5) pound of Cherry Tomatoes). But, nothing really of note. Certainly nothing more than one or two fruits in a week… Not really even enough for a salad, though the tomatoes were like candy as we worked in the garden! Today is really what I would consider to be the first significant harvest. Keep in mind that this is a small system – only six (6) pounds of goldfish are swimming in the 250 gallon fish tank and that tank flows into a 4′ x 6′ Media Bed (flood-and-drain), and from there into a 4′ x 8′ Raft (DWC) Trough. We have such heavy feeders growing in the beds that we are having trouble keeping nitrates at levels that can even be registered on our test kit. We really probably should add more fish, but we are running out of town so often on other jobs, that we want to be safe. Speaking of safe – we actually had a power outage at our shop last week that was at least three days!!!! That means that our systems were all sitting there with ZERO water circulation, aeration or feeding for at least 72 hours…… Due to our designs and our low fish densities, we did not lose a single fish!!!!!! Want to know more about how we were able to do this? Please feel free to come to one of our FREE AQUAPONIC INTRODUCTIONS and TOUR — Click HERE for more information.
OK, so back to the harvest report — this picture is what we harvested this afternoon…. In case you can’t really see detail in the picture I will list out the specifics for you starting at the top left. We took two (2.0) ounces each of three types of Basil (Cinnamon, Thai Purple and Sweet Genovese). The Clemson Spineless Okra plants yielded 14 pods from a total of nine plants with a combined weight of twelve (12) ounces. Our Cayenne Pepper plant had four peppers ripe this week with a total weight of one (1) ounce. The Cherry Tomatoes are coming on, and we got ten with a combined weight of two (2) ounces. (But, really have probably yielded twice this amount — loss is due to grazing as we walk in and out of the office…) The Daichi Ichiban Eggplant gave us three fruits this week with a combine weight of eleven (11) ounces. Our Bell Peppers are not really enjoying the heat, but we were able to get three peppers with a combined weight of nearly ten (10) ounces. The Cucumbers were the big producer, as expected in a Texas summer, and the two plants gave ten fruits with an average weight of nearly one (1) POUND each! (Three cukes were eaten last night with dinner, and didn’t make the picture.)
So to summarize, in one week of growth on this system, we were able to harvest a total of 47 items with a combined weight of 11.7 pounds (11 pounds and 12.2 ounces). Please stay in touch with us as we see what these systems can do over the rest of the summer and through the remainder of the year!