Take the good and the bad for what it is...

Well all is not well in the Northeast here.  OF course with all bad news is good news so the good news is we have started clearing out the vacant home we purchased and glad to say most of the trash is gone.  Now on to the demo once the power company drops the power lines.

 

As for the bad news, these sub zero temps have taken their toll on the outdoor system.  Water pump is frozen and beds froze over.  The kale is on the way out the door due to the lack of water flow.  Aerator is running but not enough to keep the ice from forming.

 

Inside we are doing fine except the vast amount of gnats that have appeared.  They were setting up shop in the vermicompost bin but I think we have that under control now.  Used a little rosemary/clove spray and added screening to the vents.  The spray we applied all over the burlap and laid that back over the dirt and that seemed to kill them off.  Changed out the CFL lights for a florescent 6500k bulb on the large growbed, not sure how that will work but there is only one mustard spinach growing and it is well established.  I had noticed that after 6 months the CFL's were starting to fail, not able to start or developing coating cracks.  Well below their rated hours of use.  Not comfortable with the possibility of a mercury leak in the growbeds so I am watching this closely.

 

Taking these setbacks for what they are, a friend and fellow composter, sustainability supporter introduced me to someone who is working on a methane digester for energy and we may look to see about incorporating that and testing with our aquaponics.  Although energy is not the largest problem for me heat is.  One major key to aquaponics is maintaining water temps at 70 degrees, one for the fish and two for the bacteria that create the nitrates from the waste the plants need to grow.  Solar is good but inconsistent in the NE with winter sun being a rare treat, but with a growing compost pile, you have both heat generated as well as methane that can be converted into energy to create heat.  Hopefully we will get to meet up soon and see if this is all feasible on our property, to at least test and maybe even convert to a much larger community level.

 

Here is a little article from Mother Earth News on making a home me......Remember spring is just around the corner.

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Tags: aquaponics, cfl, digester, growbeds, methane

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Comment by Carey Ma on January 12, 2014 at 3:01am

Hot composting and methane production from bio digesters are two separate processes, using different types of microorganisms.

If heating is a problem in your area, might I suggest insulating your system. if that is done, then hot composting may be a good solution (as long as you have a good supply of raw material). If you go that route, New Alchemy had an interesting system that I copied and used a few years ago. However, I now use bio matter from my garden (I let my garden go wild after crop harvest then harvest the bio matter before it turns brown), compressed into pellets and fire it in a pellet stove hooked up to a rocket stove (not sure about that term) to capture maximum heat before it exhaust out the building (great bum warmer). Piping is run through the adobe where captured heat is exchanged in the fish tanks.

Cheers

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