Okay gang, Another newbie question.  How do you plant seeds in a gravel growing bed.  Of course I'm used to pplanting my seeds and then covering them to varying depts ,depending on the type of seeds, with my growing medium.  How do you do this in AP?  In some of the pictures I noticed a grid with squares, which I assume was where each seedling was started.  Also how far apart do you plant individual plants?  I'm sure it is much different then in traditional planting.  Also plants that grow so fast would require support, How is that issue addressed?

 

In my method of gardening (weed free, raised bed) I had 20 ft tall tomatoes last year with almost 200 lbs of tomatoes per plant, that takes a very stron support.  How do you handle plant supports in AP?

 

Dale

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Hi Dale,

Many aquaponists start seed in peat pellets. 

You may opt to plant a little closer together.  Since there is unlimited water and nutrient the next limitation is available light. 

I burried a tomatoe vine at water level and allowed it to put up vertical risers, together reaching 18' but none more than 4' away from water.  I tied the risers by string to the greenhouse frame.

Whoever said that a first year aquaponics bed cannot bear heavy fruiting plants was not using worms and urine.  I'm getting abundant tomatoes, clusters of peppers, eggplant, zuccini and cukes.

 

Congrats on the 200 lb. yeild.  Did you use grafted plants with a wilt resistant root?

 

Homefire

I have been driect seeding either by springling over, or cutting out a little grove in the media, the covering.  Then I alter my flood and drain cycle a little more often until I see nice seedlings.  In some systems alter means raise the water level, while in other systems it means I cycle more often.  Both ways seems to work fine., as long as the seeds don't dry out once they start the germination process.

In our floating raft using vermiculite as the media, I just get the stuff wet at first and never look back.

No just the method and the Essential Elements and the system i use.  They were just normal seeds (better boy), this year is a different story, oh what a difference the weather makes!

Homefire said:

Hi Dale,

Many aquaponists start seed in peat pellets. 

You may opt to plant a little closer together.  Since there is unlimited water and nutrient the next limitation is available light. 

I burried a tomatoe vine at water level and allowed it to put up vertical risers, together reaching 18' but none more than 4' away from water.  I tied the risers by string to the greenhouse frame.

Whoever said that a first year aquaponics bed cannot bear heavy fruiting plants was not using worms and urine.  I'm getting abundant tomatoes, clusters of peppers, eggplant, zuccini and cukes.

 

Congrats on the 200 lb. yeild.  Did you use grafted plants with a wilt resistant root?

 

Homefire

I really ought to proof read.  And should probably be doing more at work.  Most likely neither will happen today.  Tomorrow not looking good for reaching those goals either.  What I meant to say was: 

 

I have been direct seeding either by sprinkling seeds over the media, or cutting out a little grove in the media(less than 1/2 inch), then covering the row.  Then I alter my flood and drain cycle a little more often until I see nice seedlings.  In some systems alter means raise the water level, while in other systems it means I cycle more often.  Both ways seems to work fine, as long as the seeds don't dry out once they start the germination process.

In our floating raft using vermiculite as the media, I just get the stuff wet at first and never look back.

matthew ferrell said:

I have been driect seeding either by springling over, or cutting out a little grove in the media, the covering.  Then I alter my flood and drain cycle a little more often until I see nice seedlings.  In some systems alter means raise the water level, while in other systems it means I cycle more often.  Both ways seems to work fine., as long as the seeds don't dry out once they start the germination process.

In our floating raft using vermiculite as the media, I just get the stuff wet at first and never look back.

For the media beds, I've tried many methods.  Often I just sprinkle seeds around and that seems to work for some types of seeds.  Carrot, lettuce, broccoli, turnip etc.  Bigger seeds like beans or squash you might need to set down into the gravel at the high water level and cover with a small amount of gravel.

 

I have also in the past made a small trench in the gravel like down to the high water mark and then planted a line of seeds and covered with a thin layer of worm castings and that worked well for somethings.

 

I use peat pellets regularly to start seeds for the towers and my NFT pipes and extras of those plants often wind up in my gravel beds too.

 

Try a few different things and see what works well for you.

 

As for training heavy plants that need support, well how best to do that depends on what sort of structure you have handy to use for support.  On one side of the beds in my big system I have a trellis mounted on posts up high so I can tie strings down to the tomatoes or other plants until they reach the cattle panel fencing trellis at which point I can tie them directly to the fencing or just train them back and forth through the wire.  Of course they are so high up now I need to bring the ladder out.  One might also build a light wood frame up over a grow bed and use it to support lines to the heavy plants.

For my Lufa vines, they clime just about anything they please and have gone from the trellis beside the 300 gallon system and continued on up to the top of the oak tree over the duck tank.  Next season I may be starting my seeds in bits of lufa sponge.

 

 

thanks TC can you send pictures of the support structures?

 

Thanks

 

Dale

 

TCLynx said:

For the media beds, I've tried many methods.  Often I just sprinkle seeds around and that seems to work for some types of seeds.  Carrot, lettuce, broccoli, turnip etc.  Bigger seeds like beans or squash you might need to set down into the gravel at the high water level and cover with a small amount of gravel.

 

I have also in the past made a small trench in the gravel like down to the high water mark and then planted a line of seeds and covered with a thin layer of worm castings and that worked well for somethings.

 

I use peat pellets regularly to start seeds for the towers and my NFT pipes and extras of those plants often wind up in my gravel beds too.

 

Try a few different things and see what works well for you.

 

As for training heavy plants that need support, well how best to do that depends on what sort of structure you have handy to use for support.  On one side of the beds in my big system I have a trellis mounted on posts up high so I can tie strings down to the tomatoes or other plants until they reach the cattle panel fencing trellis at which point I can tie them directly to the fencing or just train them back and forth through the wire.  Of course they are so high up now I need to bring the ladder out.  One might also build a light wood frame up over a grow bed and use it to support lines to the heavy plants.

For my Lufa vines, they clime just about anything they please and have gone from the trellis beside the 300 gallon system and continued on up to the top of the oak tree over the duck tank.  Next season I may be starting my seeds in bits of lufa sponge.

unfortunately the pictures really don't show the support structure all that well It's just posts and cattle panel fencing attached to them. In winter it is just lines and posts in the photo that you tend not to really focus on and in summer when the plants are all over it you can't see it for the plants.

 

Hi Homefire, I was looking through some pics of last years garden, here is a pic of two of those tomato plants

Homefire said:

Hi Dale,

Many aquaponists start seed in peat pellets. 

You may opt to plant a little closer together.  Since there is unlimited water and nutrient the next limitation is available light. 

I burried a tomatoe vine at water level and allowed it to put up vertical risers, together reaching 18' but none more than 4' away from water.  I tied the risers by string to the greenhouse frame.

Whoever said that a first year aquaponics bed cannot bear heavy fruiting plants was not using worms and urine.  I'm getting abundant tomatoes, clusters of peppers, eggplant, zuccini and cukes.

 

Congrats on the 200 lb. yeild.  Did you use grafted plants with a wilt resistant root?

 

Homefire

I just started a small system last week. I used pea gravel as the grow medium, with goldfish in the tank. On Sunday, I planted "salad" - that is a sweet salad mix, spinach and some broccoli. I woke up this morning and I have little bitty green sprouts all over the planting bed. All I did was sprinkle the seeds directly on top of the gravel. The water line is about 1/2' or so below the top of the gravel.

I don't know how successful this will be in a couple of weeks, but at least for now it seems to be working.

Here are a couple of pictures of my setup.

99% of the time I sprinkle the seeds and try for a little tighter spacing than those recommended for Square Foot Gardening. I sprinkle, then run my hands gently over the media to work the seeds down a little so they get to the moisture line. With larger seeds (squash, etc.) I work the seeds into the media individually. 

Very creative setup, Rick!

The Aussie DVD show 3/4" gravel ( gray shale rock I think). I am wondering how worms do in a large gravel like that. I can understand that large plants like Papaya would grow well in a large gravel.

I am thinking of using a smaller gravel like the picture above.

Worms should be fine in larger gravel. I can't think of any reason there would be a problem with it.

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