A critical part of the whole growing process is the germination and initial growing cycle of the plants. The quicker, more consistent growth of our herbs and greens from seed means we first of all convert more seed to plants, and also try to shorten the period of time from seeding to actual planting into the towers.
So, previously we had a misting system watering the seedlings. A few issues associated with this technique.
Due to the nature of the misting system, it was impossible to ensure that each of the 288 pods in a seeding tray was evenly and consistently watered. This is a major issue, as certain pods would dry out and we would therefore loose that seed.
Second, misting goes everywhere and therefore a percentage of the water is wasted. All the ground around the seeding area becomes wet, and all this water goes to wastage.
Lastly, as the misting system is from the top down, the leaves are wet. This introduces issues with the plants such as rotting etc.
The flood and drain technique is a far better process for watering our seedlings. Initially we will have 32 seeding trays being watered (that is 9,200 individual pods). The flood and drain system will consistently water every one of these pods identically, thus eliminating the dried pods and loss of seeds.
Secondly, as the water is pumped into a tray, and then drained back into the sump tank, no water escapes from the system, and therefore eliminating the water waste.
Thirdly, no wetting of the leaves occurs, as the wetting process is from the flooding water, and therefore only the pod is exposed to the water.
The design of the system is a 5 shelf wire mesh shelving system, with 4 flood trays, 3 LED strip lights per tray, a sump tank and a pump on a timer.
Each flood tray can accommodate 4 seeding trays. Therefore each shelf is accommodating 1152 seeds.
The sump tank is a basic plastic tub, with a capacity of 120 litres. In this tub is a submersible pump (with a 2m head capacity).
The water is then pumped to the top tray, on one side, and slowly fills.
On the other side of the tray, there are two drains, with elbows. They have been positioned so that as the water reaches the outlet, the trays are sitting in water.
The water then flows out through the drains to the next tray below. The drains have an elbow connection which positions a small tube to the bottom of the flood tray. Eventually as the top tray fills, a siphoning action starts, and the water drains out of the top tray to the next tray. This repeats down the shelves to each flood tray. The bottom flood tray then empties into the sump tank.
So, all that needs to happen is to fill one and a half trays with water, then let the siphoning action move the water from the top tray down and back into the sump tank.
We plan to run the pump 2 or 3 times a day, to ensure that seeding trays receive sufficient watering throughout the day.
Just a standard 120 liter tub from bunnings, will be the sump tank
One of the flood and drain racks is now complete. I have placed a number of seeding trays in the flood and drain trays and have run the pump.
All working well, except for a slight oversight. The tray have a slight angle to them so when you insert a tube it increases the water level height (ie the drainage height). I have over come this by lifting the seeding trays a little.
So I fill the top tray, and it starts overflowing into the second tray, let this fill about half way. Then stop the pump. All the rest is gravity and siphon!
On October 10th and 11th Bare Greens attended and sponsored the Bowral Home and Garden Show at the Bong Bong Race Course.
An estimated 5,000 people attended the two days.
We had a great response at our stall, showing off our system and our herbs and greens.
Sylvie gave two presentations at the Garden Pavilion and Frank gave one presentation at the Indoor Pavilion.
All in all, we feel the event was a great success, and was our first real attempt to expose our business to the market.
We are officially up and running, with silver perch tank water feeding about 140 zipgrow towers in the greenhouse. Over the next month or so, we will gradually increase fish numbers, and increase tower numbers.
Place burghul, tomato and lemon juice in a bowl. Stand, covered, for 30 minutes or until burghul has softened.
Add parsley, mint, onion and oil to burghul mixture. Stir to combine. Serve.
Place the torn lettuce into a large bowl bowl.
Peel 4 mandarins and separate the segments. It's really not necessary to try to remove the membranes as the segments are quite small and it would probably be a pain to do so.
Add the mandarin segments, red onion and pecans to the salad bowl.
Juice the remaining two mandarins and combine the juice with the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey and mustard powder in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Scoop each half out of the peel and dice. Drop the avocado pieces into the dressing. The juice and vinegar will prevent the avocado from discolouring.
When you are ready to serve the salad, empty the avocado pieces and dressing over the salad mixture in the large bowl and toss until everything is evenly combined.
Mojito is a traditional Cuban highball. Traditionally, a mojito is a cocktail that consists of five ingredients: white rum, sugar, lime juice, sparkling water, and mint
Main alcohol: Rum
Ingredients: 1 1/2 oz White rum, 6 leaves of Mint, Soda Water, 1 oz Fresh lime juice, 2 teaspoons Sugar
Preparation: Mint sprigs muddled with sugar and lime juice. Rum added and topped with soda water. Garnished with sprig of mint leaves. Served with a straw.
Served: On the rocks; poured over ice
Standard garnish: Sprig of mint, Yerba buena
Drinkware: Collins glass
This aromatic Asian salad combines lemony-flavoured coriander leaves with cool cucumber, refreshing mint and rare beef.
Basil pesto is simple to master at home. There are generally only five ingredients - basil, of course, pine nuts and garlic, plus olive oil and parmesan. This recipe uses the traditional method of pounding using a mortar and pestle, but some pesto recipes suggest using a food processor to speed up the preparation time.
Slowly toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan, then take out and leave to cool.
Wash the basil, shake dry and pick the leaves from the stalks.
Peel, then crush the garlic, a little salt and the pine nuts in a mortar.
Add the basil and grind to a paste, then work in the grated parmesan.
Continue grinding, gradually adding the oil in a thin stream, to produce a creamy pesto. Season to taste with salt.