Godney Aquaponics

Godney Aquaponics
In the village of Godney, with the beautiful back drop of the Glastonbury Tor, Melv and Sal are embarking on a new venture. Fed up with the poor quality of veg in the shops, they have the ambition to set up an aquaponics system to provide fresh vegetables and salad crops for the village, and with a little help from their hens a supply of fresh free range eggs too.

What is Aquaponics??

What is Aquaponics??
Aquaponics is a sustainable method of producing quality food with minimal external inputs. It is a system that combines conventional aquaculture (e.g. fish in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. Water from the aquaculture system is fed to the hydroponic system where the by-products are broken down and are utilised by the plants as nutrients, and the water is then re-circulated back to the aquaculture system.

Sunday 16 February 2020

A popular addition

During the winter growing watercress as a garnish can be a challenge, still not too sure why, even the magic lights don't prevent trays from going mouldy due to its slow growth. However recently we have found an alternative, which is proving to be a popular addition as a garnish - Pea shoots.

Very vigorous in their growth, they like the heat of the propagator and reach 6" in no time at all - they are a real pleasure to grow - I'm a big fan. Popular with the pubs and cafes they have been a real find.

They look stunning too - fresh, vigorous and vibrant, a delightful addition to any plate of food.

Saturday 8 February 2020

The learning curve has levelled a little!

Up until now the learning curve around growing salads under lights has been lets say somewhat steep! As a result the set up in the designated salad tunnel as been a little 'make do' until we have had the time needed to explore what the set up actually needed to be. This has made for a challenging growing environment, with many trip hazards and handling trays at difficult heights.

We have been trialling different growing heights, exploring the growth rates and characteristics in relation to the trays being at different distances from the lights. Those on the floor, the maximum distance at 171cm from the lights, whilst they well enough they tend to dome a little with the middle of the tray doing better than the edges. The trays 145cm to the lights again grow well, but are not that consistent through the tray, with some leaves doing better and causing an irregularity of growth, however those closest to the lights, 130cm grow very well and consistently, but not quite as a fast. As a result we have chosen to install staging at a height in between the two raised measurements - at 136cm from the lights. This falls in the region of the measurement which was specified by the simulation undertaken by the light manufacturers, GN UK and provides us with a much better working height.

Melv began the building of the staging in the barn, he had planned it to be light weight and stand alone, so that once constructed it can just be lifted in to place and levelled.

With the convenience of the facilities that working in the barn provides, Melv made good and quick progress.

Once constricted, each piece of staging was varnished to help prevent moisture intrusion, increase longevity and deter the growth of mould in the winter when moisture and humidity levels can be a challenge.

The first piece of staging is lifted in and already you can start to visualise how impressive and fit for purpose this set up is going to be.
Progress is fast and trays are quickly lifted off the floor and in to place in their new position on the staging.

 One row complete, Melv moves across to the other side.

Now on the home straight - just the middle row left to raise, timed perfectly with a large order from the Sheppey and the Bocabar, reducing the number of trays in the tunnel the middle staging was soon in place.

Next it was the installation of the fans to ensure good air circulation and movement.

With Melv's job of electrician completed and all the wires now safely off the floor and no longer a trip hazard, the fans operating, the refurbishment job is done - wow what a difference...

The big switch on with all the trays in place - stunning

As it gets darker you can really start to see the impact of the lights and how they fall on the trays.
We are currently considering whether to invest in two further lights for the end of the tunnel near the door, (in the foreground above), but currently this area houses our fully grown trays which don't require any additional light. However as demand increases this does give us the flexibility to increase our production further, especially now the lights have enabled us to take on two new business customers in Glastonbury just last month - how exciting is that.

Monday 3 February 2020

All grown up!!

Looking back

It is so hard to believe that something so small...

Which came from a tiny egg...

Is now all grown up and laying her own eggs!!

Although some of the little 'uns haven't yet got used to using nest boxes - but then looking at the photo above neither have the bigger ones either and they don't have the excuse of laying their first ever egg - very special indeed!!

Home grown

Now normally with our horticultural hats on when we talk about home grown we are refering to vegetables. But for the first time since we hav...