29
May

Small Scale Aquaponics – Growing Greens With a Fish Tank

by Tiffany in Gardening

Small Scale Aquaponics Growing Greens With a Fish Tank

One of the biggest hopes you can have as a mom and an environmentalist is that your kids will want to take up your causes as they grow and mature. I could not be prouder of my oldest child (nearly 14) as he grows into a stellar young man. He is kind, empathetic, smart, a great cook and fisherman, and very much interested in sustainability and homesteading practices. He helps me in the garden and listens relentlessly to my babbling about political issues, food integrity, and saving the planet.

In an attempt to be more sustainable himself and grow greens for his three reptiles he decided he wanted to have a small scale aquaponics system in his bedroom. Actually he said something about a 50 gallon drum but I had to nix that idea and instead talked him into using his existing fish tank. He has a lovely 30 gallon tank and quite a few fish, all of which he purchased second hand on Craigslist by himself, using money he earned helping someone with a roofing project. With a bit of guidance from his Dad (who told him what he needed) he managed to rig together this pretty awesome little system. He spent about $40 for the materials. I love how easy this system is to put together. So many people have fish tanks in their home. It would be super easy for them to start using the nutrient rich tank water to grow greens, herbs, and other food items in their home. Plus when you clean the tank you can use that water in your outdoor garden. We do! Here is the fish tank:

fish tank

You can see the aquaponics grow bed in the upper right hand corner of the photo. He took a small plastic storage container (which we already had) and he cut holes in the lid so that he could fit it with eight small baskets or hydrofarm net cups commonly used for hydroponics. In the baskets you find hydroton expanded clay pellets… no dirt or soil in sight. The baskets hang down inside the storage tub and the bottoms dip into the water which is continuously filled using a small aquaponics circulation pump inside the fish tank. The water is pumped up into the aquaponics grow bed, it is filtered for debris, and then once is reaches a certain height it overflows back into the fish tank via a plastic tube (got it from Menards).

aquaponics system 003

And of course he added a grow light over the top of the grow bed to help the seedlings grow. And boy do they grow! A seed wrapped in a tiny bit of cotton ball will sprout and shoot up in a day or two, much faster than the those same seeds grown in soil outside. It is amazing. I can’t wait to post pictures of his mature greens and lettuce.

Small Scale Aquaponics fish tank

28
May

My Week With the Kia Forte

by Tiffany in Green Cars

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Another week, another Kia. This time I got to test drive the Kia Forte. I must say up front that I fell in love with the fully loaded Kia Soul and any other car will suffer in comparison but this was a solid little car. I love the color and the body style. It also had some of the familiar perks that I love…hello rear view camera and satellite radio.

The gas mileage was about 22-24 mpg. Nothing to write home about there so I wouldn’t call it green, even though it has the “Eco” drive feature. But the budget still makes this a good car for those who don’t want $600 a month car payments. The price tag is only about $16K. Most of the green cars I drove in 2013/2014 were well over the 30K mark. You have to pay for green and some people just don’t have that kid of spending money. Kia makes very good cars though, for lower price points.

Other features:

Fog Lights
Auto Light Control
Navigation System
Bluetooth Wireless Capability
USB/Auxillary Input Jack

I continue to be impressed with the quality and price points for Kia vehicles. Even if they aren’t as green as I would like, that seems to be a rare find these days…for any car manufacturing company.

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