Sowing Seeds of Lettuce (and Hope)
Last week we had our first round of planting for our aquaponic system at the Hannah and Friends greenhouse. Thanks to Katie Teitgen, H&F's Director of Operations, for serving as photographer for our very first planting session! Everyone rolled up their sleeves and got to work. We planted three crops - basil, red butterleaf lettuce, and green romaine - dividing our Hannah and Friends crew into three stations, each planting a different crop. Each of these veggies will be transplanted into their own grow bed in a few days once they're big enough - so all in all, we'll have 6 different crops going when the system's up and running.
We've been checking and rechecking our system at Hannah and Friends every day. You'll find us there with test tubes in hand, test strips at the ready, to see what the latest readings are for pH, ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. Our system is progressing along, and the changes we see are not in big spikes but a quarter part per million change here and there. This is to be expected, and we're holding steady. What we are waiting for is the appearance of nitrates in our system, which means that helpful bacteria are at work and changing nitrogen into a form that is great for our plants. We know why patience is a virtue - because it helps with launching an aquaponic system, as in everything else!
We've built our greenhouse and put in the plumbing, grow beds and fish tanks for our aquaponic system - now, what's next?
"FISH" and "PLANTS" you might say!! And of course you'd be right! But first, we at Green Bridge Growers are working through a process called "Fishless Cycling." What on earth is that?
Chris gives a quick explanation on the video clip here - the first on our new Green Bridge Growers YouTube channel! Give it a look!
Green Bridge Growers is a social enterprise created to put to work the many gifts and skills of young adults with autism. Our founders, Chris and Jan, are building an exciting venture that grows fresh local food and grows great jobs for autistic adults. We invite you to learn about us and follow our work!