Saturday, March 30, 2013

Potential Realities

This are my friends the Atlantis King


Infinite Waters

Hope you like them

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spring for it

Greenhouses are getting cleaned up for summer and seeds are being planted for spring. 
Its going to be a fun one.

Organization and patience are going to be important this year.

Aquaponic greenhouse

Worm Bin

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Water Filters

Swirl Filter
A Swirl Filter removes solid material from water by using centripital force to pull debris to the outer edge of the bucket where they settle to the bottom.   Clean water is then drained from the center of the bucket.  Solids need to be removed from the bucket every week or so, this is done usually with a simple drain valve.

Foam Fractionator
A Foam Fractionator or Protein Skimmer removes material from your water by floating them to the surface using bubbles or foam.

A Fractionatior works by runner water through a device with a large air to water interface. The goal is to create foam which removes organic and inorganic compounds and all sorts of proteins, amino acids, fats, oils, metals and dissolved solids.  

The foam entraps pollutants in the water as they stick to surface of the bubbles.  Bubbles are ejected from the system before the water returns to the tank.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Aquaponics and Urban Farming

An old NPR radio broadcast I found about modern agriculture and aquaponics titled:
"Facing Planetary Enemy No. 1: Agriculture"

" First, the environmental problems with current agricultural practices were outlined as follows.
  1. “Farm and ranch lands cover nearly 40 percent of Earth’s land area – While aquaponic techniques can’t address this shocking statistic per se, they can certainly mitigate the impact.  Because aquaponics is a soil-less growing technique, plants and fish can be grown anywhere, including on land that is considered unfertile (too sandy, too rocky, too toxic) and even in old warehouse buildings and unused parking lots.
  2. “Agriculture consumes nearly three quarters of the earth’s available water” – Because aquaponics is a recirculating system, the only water “lost” is either held in the plants, transpires through their leaves, or evaporates from the top of the fish tank.  Aquaponics is generally thought to use less than a tenth of the water of traditional agriculture for the same crop output.
  3. “Agricultural activities such as clearing land, growing rice, raising cattle and overusing fertilizers make up 35 percent of the single largest contributor of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere” – None of these practices have any place in aquqponic growing.
  4. “About 40% of all crops the planet produces are used to feed animals.” – Fish are the single most efficient converter of feed to flesh of any edible animal.  One and a half pounds of feed will bring to harvest, one pound of edible, omnivorous fish fillets.  It takes eight pounds of feed to produce the same single pound of beef fillets.
  5. While not mentioned in the article, I would add “consuming petroleum” to this list.  Between oil-based fertilizers, oil-fueled farming machinery, and long distances between farm and table, modern food is “dripping” with oil.  Aquaponic systems on the other hand, have no oil-based inputs and are run entirely on a small amount of electricity.  This electricity can be created through currently available renewable energy methods.
The researchers then recommended five changes to current practices that they believe will not only help to solve the issues stated above, but will also extend our ability to feed the burgeoning world’s population.  All but one can be implemented through aquaponic growing techniques.
  1. Halt farmland expansion.” – As explained above, because aquaponics is a soil-less growing system that can be set up anywhere, it is perfectly suited to address this goal.
  2. “Close yield gaps. Many parts of Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe have substantial “yield gaps where farmland is not living up to its potential for producing crops. Closing these gaps through improved use of existing crop varieties, better management and improved genetics could increase current food production nearly 60 percent.” Because of the consistent and ideal mix of water, oxygen and fertilizer that an aquaponics system provides, plants grow significantly faster in an aquaponics system than they do in soil.   In addition, plants can be placed closer together in aquaponics systems because they are not competing for those resources in their root zone.  I believe this is an answer to the search for “better management” techniques that the researchers are seeking.
  3. Use inputs more strategically. Current use of water, nutrients and agriculture chemicals suffer from what the research team calls “Goldilocks Problem”: too much in some places, too little in others, rarely just right. Strategic reallocation could substantially boost the benefit we get from precious inputs.” Since aquaponic systems use comparatively so little water, inherently produce their own nutrients, and use no agricultural chemicals, the problem of redistribution becomes a non-issue.
  4. Shift diets. Growing animal feed or biofuels on top croplands, no matter how efficiently, is a drain on human food supply. Dedicating croplands to direct human food production could boost calories produced per person by nearly 50 percent.” Fish protein is not only heart-healthy but, as mentioned above; it is the most efficient converter of plant protein to animal protein known to man.
  5. Reduce waste. One-third of the food farms produce ends up discarded, spoiled or eaten by pests. Eliminating waste in the path from farm to mouth could boost food available for consumption another 50 percent.” Because aquaponics systems are raised off the ground they tend to have fewer pest issues than traditional agriculture.  And because aquaponic farms can be set up anywhere, producing food directly within densely populated communities can be implemented right now, with no new technologies needed.  The path from farm to table can be made as short as down the block or even from back yard to table. Thus, it is attractive ways to localize food production and to cut out the waste inherent in the long paths we now have from farm to market to home – paths that could be reduced to near zero with widespread aquaponics. "

Friday, March 1, 2013

Containing Waste Properly

The majority of bear problems in the Durango area are trash related. 

Many fine studies have shown three simple steps that can eliminate approximately 90% of all bear conflict.

Put your trash out the morning of pick-up only, not the night before. 
This is by far, the single most important factor in reducing human and bear conflict. 
Arizona residents who left their garbage out overnight had a 70% chance of a bear visit and residents who stored their trash securely until the morning of pick-up reduced their chances of a bear visit down to 2%. Never leave trash out overnight unsecured. Place your trash container out as close to curbside pick-up as possible.

Store your trash during the week in a safe and secure location or in a bear-proof container. 
Store trash in a shed, garage, secured building, structure or in your home where bears cannot access it during the week.  Freeze particularly smelly items, meat, fish, bones and fruit until trash pick-up or wrap tightly in plastic trash bags to reduce odors.

Occasionally clean your trash container. 

Clean your trash container periodically with a solution of bleach and hot water to reduce odors that attract bears. A spray bottle works well. 

Waste and Recyling

In 2010 our friends at the EPA estimated that Americans generated about 250 million tons of trash that year.

Paper and paperboard 29 %
Yard trimmings 13%
Food scraps 13 %
Plastics 12 %
Metals 9 %
Rubber, leather, and textiles 8 %
Wood 6 %
Glass 5 %
Other miscellaneous waste approximately 3 %


Of this 250 million tons of trash,
85 million tons were recycled or composted.
That's 34% of trash recycled or composted.

The composition of that 85 million tons of recycled material was;

Paper and paperboard 53%
Yard trimmings 22% 
Food scraps 1%
Plastics 3%
Metals 9%
Rubber, leather, and textiles 3%
Wood 3%
Glass 4%
Other miscellaneous waste approximately 2% 


But what does it mean???

We are wasteful, very wasteful.


By composting all
Paper and paperboard
Yard trimmings 
Food scraps
55% or 137 million tons of trash is diverted from landfills and put in the hands of local communities.

Composting all paper and paperboard, yard trimmings and food scraps would bring the national amount of waste recycled to 157 million tons or 63%


Other benefits of composting

-Reduce or eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers

-Promote higher yields of agricultural crops

-Cost-effectively remediate soils contaminated by hazardous waste

-Remove solids, oil, grease, and heavy metals from stormwater runoff

-Avoids Methane and leachate formulation in landfills

-Capture and destroy 99.6 percent of industrial volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) in contaminated air

-Provide cost savings of at least 50 percent over conventional soil, water, and air pollution remediation technologies, where applicable

-Reduces the need for water, fertilizers, and pesticides

-Extends municipal landfill life by diverting organic materials from landfills